Boyoung Chang, APR 9

Speaker: Boyoung Chang (Postdoctoral Fellow East Asian Art, Department of Art History

Faraway, so close: North Korea in Contemporary Visual Culture

Discussant: Saena Ryu Dozier (Recent graduate; PhD in Asian Literatures, Cultures, and Media; University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)

Friday, April 9th, 2021

4:45 – 6:45 pm CST, Zoom meeting (please find the registration link below)



What is the perception of North Korea of the rest of the world and how has it been mediated through visual arts? Are there alternative ways to represent the country without othering it? This research problematizes the stereotyped representations of North Korea and suggests alternative ways to understand North Korea through the visual arts. The national division caused two Koreas to show different paths to development, and the North has been isolated as one of the few communist countries in the world. With the demise of the international Cold War, it has been further stigmatized and ridiculed, mostly in the West. Either they satirize the dictatorial rule of North Korea or supposedly ‘look into’ the hermit kingdom, I argue, what the images of North Korea eventually reveal is the inaccessibility to the country. On the contrary to the assumption of providing a penetrating view of the country, this paper also discusses, some contemporary Korean artists bring the impossibility of fully experiencing the other Korea to the fore and visualize the mediated experience of the country. By incorporating their proxy experience of the North, their works anchor North Korea in history and in relation to South Korea, instead of accentuating its otherness and isolation from the rest of the world.

João Rocha, Kim Jong-Il Looking at Things (2010-)


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Dr. Boyoung Chang is a postdoctoral researcher in the Center of the Art of East Asia in the Department of Art History at The University of Chicago. Her research focuses on contemporary Korean photography. She is interested in how the history of Korean photography intertwines with the nation’s dynamic modern and contemporary history. Her research interests also include several topics in global photography and contemporary Asian art, such as the aftermath of World War II, the ramification of the cold war, globalization, and cultural identity.

Chang has published such articles as “Post-Trauma: How contemporary Korean photography reconstructs political history of Korea” in the Korean Bulletin of Art History and is now working on a book project that addresses the history of Korean photography from the mid-20th century to the present day, with a particular interest in the socio-political landscapes around artistic productions.


Dr. Saena Dozier received her PhD in Asian Literatures, Cultures, and Media from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 2020.  She was a Korea Foundation research fellow and a Diversity Predoctoral teaching fellow at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.  Dr. Dozier’s expertise is in Korean culture and media with an emphasis on Korean cinema.

She published “Coming Home: Finding Our Space of Innocence Through Sagŭk Films” in the International Journal of Korean History. Her upcoming article “Ever-Evolving Nostalgia: A Quest for Innocence in Sagŭk Films” will appear on Écrans de nostalgie, Special Issue of Cinémas.

Sophia Walker, FEB 24

Speaker: Sophia Walker (PhD student, Joint program: Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and Department of Cinema and Media Studies)

Hunnu Rock: Mongolian Metal and a Global Folk Metal Subculture”

Discussant: Ethan Waddell (PhD student, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations)

Wednesday, Feb 24th, 2021
4:45 – 6:45 pm CST, Zoom meeting (please find the registration link below)



“Wolf Totem,” Mongolian heavy metal band The Hu’s second single, was posted to Youtube on November 16, 2018. Despite the band’s newcomer status, the video was an immediate international hit, and by January of 2019 had already accrued an impressive 7 million views and a fervent international fan base. The Hu’s debut album, The Gereg, opened at the top of Billboard’s Top New Artist chart and second place on the UK’s Rock & Metal album chart. In this paper, I will apply Dick Hebidge’s theory of subculture and style to the English-language reception of The Hu’s viral hit. I will apply this framework against Edward Said’s theory of the “Oriental Other” to argue that The Hu’s English-language fan base offers a mode of resistance against Western narratives of East Asia.

My argument has two strands: first, I will discuss The Hu’s reception in English-language media. Second, I will compare this reception to The Hu’s popularity among heavy metal listeners, particularly fans of the folk metal genre, by examining Spotify data, Youtube comments, and Facebook fan communities. Through these endeavors, I will sketch out the English-language folk metal subcultural terrain to point toward a rejection of these hegemonic narratives about not only the west/east binary but national/cultural boundaries themselves in favor of a unified aesthetic—or “style.” This is an ongoing project, so I will be presenting my findings thus far and pointing toward avenues of future research.


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Sophia Walker is a PhD student in the joint-degree program in the departments of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and Cinema and Media studies, focusing on Japan. She is interested in the intersections between local, national, and trans-national medias and audiences; representations of the supernatural and the ghostly in cinema and new media; and, very broadly, the representation and reinterpretation of history onscreen.


Ethan Waddell is a PhD student in East Asian Languages & Civilizations. His research is in modern Korean literature. Currently, he is interested in relationships between genres and cultures of writing and music.

Alan Longino, NOV 18

Speaker: Alan Longino (PhD student, Department of Art History)

Yutaka Matsuzawa and Looking Around Quantum Art

Discussant: Orianna Cacchione (Curator of Global Contemporary Art, Smart Museum of Art)

Wednesday, November 18th 2020

4:45-6:45 pm, Zoom meeting (please find the registration link below)



Yutaka Matsuzawa (b. 1922 / d. 2006, Shimo Suwa) is considered a leading figure in postwar Japanese conceptual art. In 1988, he published his seminal Quantum Art Manifesto, considered as the most mature realization of his decades-long dedication and practice to the immaterial and invisible realm of images. In this talk, I look at both this manifesto and select works of the artist’s career that led to the culmination of the manifesto. I analyze these not only as a guide in understanding the practice of Matsuzawa but more as a primer for considering a world of images removed from the physical and temporal limitations of artistic practice. I apply this consideration to the content of our current and future world of increasingly high image and information saturation, and draw—like Matsuzawa—from sources as diverse as ethology, quantum physics and computing, and economics to highlight this relationship of Quantum Art to the experience of images today. In particular, this talk gives due credence to the legibility of memes and their data, the online communities which create them, and the complex relationships between identity, spirituality, and economics that they pursue, critique, and build anew. Towards the end, I return to Matsuzawa’s Quantum Art with the realization and hypothesis that art and the images produced today are, like the quantum state itself, thick with uncertainty in their form and that their existence is—to use a term shared by Matsuzawa and the founder of modern computer, Alan Turing—“telepathic” in nature. Finally, after considering the quantum state these telepathic images exist in, I bring up the issue that correlation may equal causation if we are to seriously consider the future of images and the manner in which their surplus information is
being conducted and manipulated.


Gradient of FFCAD4

Gradient of FFCAD4


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Alan Longino is a Ph.D. student studying postwar Japanese conceptual art and global contemporary art. His research considers a telepathic & post-verity mode of communication between information systems and image production. Previously, he co-curated the exhibition, Yutaka Matsuzawa, at Yale Union (2019, with Reiko Tomii), and re-published the artist’s 1988 manuscript, Quantum Art Manifesto, for the first time outside of Japan. He has contributed writing towards essay and exhibition texts for artists, museums, and galleries, and criticism of his has appeared in HeichiArtforum, and the Haunt Journal of Art, UC Irvine. Alongside his academic research, Alan was a founding member of Wendy’s Subway, a library, writing space, and independent publisher in Brooklyn, NY, and has worked in galleries such as Jan Kaps, Cologne, and Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York.


Orianna Cacchione is currently the Curator of Global Contemporary Art at the Smart Museum of Art. Her curatorial practice is committed to expanding the canon of contemporary art to respond to the global circulations of art and ideas. At the Smart Museum, Cacchione has curated the exhibitions, The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China (with Wu Hung), which interrogated how materiality informs contemporary Chinese art; Samson Young: Silver moon or golden star, which will you buy of me?, the first solo exhibition of the Hong Kong-based sound artist in the United States; and Tang Chang: The Painting that Is Painted with Poetry Is Profoundly Beautiful, the first solo presentation of the pioneering abstract artist’s work outside of Thailand. She is currently developing an exhibition that considers Transpacific artistic exchanges, as well as editing a new volume with Professor Wei-Cheng Lin: The Allure of Matter: Materiality across Chinese Art. Prior to joining the Smart Museum, Cacchione was Curatorial Fellow for East Asian Contemporary Art in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she was responsible for expanding the museum’s collection of contemporary art from East Asia. Her work led to transformative acquisitions of artworks from China, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand. She also curated the exhibition, Zhang Peili: Record. Repeat., the first major presentation of the Chinese video artist at an American museum.


Cacchione’s scholarly research explores the transnational, cross-geographic flows of art and art history that characterize the global art world. She holds a PhD in Art History, Theory, and Criticism from the University of California, San Diego, a MA from Goldsmiths College and a BA from the University of Michigan. Her writing has been published in The Journal of Art HistoriographyYishu, and the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art.

Nancy P. Lin, OCT 21

Speaker: Nancy P. Lin (PhD candidate, Department of Art History)

Sites at the Periphery: Performance, Photography, and the Making of Beijing’s ‘East Village’(selection from dissertation chapter)

Discussant: Madeline Eschenburg (Lecturer, College of Arts and Sciences, Washburn University)

Wednesday, October 21st 2020

4:45-6:45 pm, Zoom meeting (please find the registration link below)



The development of experimental contemporary Chinese art outside the official support of government institutions in the 1990s has often been described as “underground” (dixia) or “independent” (duli). Yet I suggest that the term “peripheral” (bianyuan) is a much more apt description as it simultaneously refers to the very spaces in which art has flourished in the physical city and the spatial dynamics of experimental art’s alternative positioning. During a period of massive urban reconstruction, artists living and working in the city’s urban fringes struggled with spatial precarity and social/economic marginality. These sites and living conditions also gave rise to new types of artistic projects, spaces, and a distinctly new artistic identity. This paper explores how collaborations between performance and photographic activities by a group of artists living in Beijing’s “East Village” drew upon the area’s spatial marginality to construct an alternative artistic identity and social network that transformed the run-down village into an art world site. These activities in the mid-1990s will be contextualized within the broader phenomenon of site-based art practices that participated in the creation of new social and institutional spaces for contemporary art in China. This period of artistic activities at the periphery serves as a case study for understanding the complex dynamic between artistic practice, social change, and urban transformation.

RongRong, East Village Beijing, 1994 No. 1, 1994, Gelatin silver print, 20 × 24 in (50.8 × 61 cm)

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Nancy P. Lin is a PhD candidate specializing in modern and contemporary Chinese art and architecture. She received her B.A. summa cum laude in History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. Her dissertation, titled “Making Spaces: Site-based Practice in Contemporary Chinese Art, 1990s-2000s,” focuses on the intersection of art and urbanism in examining locally situated, yet globally oriented spatial and site-specific artistic practices in China. As the 2019-2020 Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Curatorial Intern at the Smart Museum of Art, she worked extensively on the exhibition Allure of Matter: Material Art from China. From 2017 to 2018, she was a fellow of the Mellon Sawyer Seminar on Urban Art and Urban Form, co-organizing three interdisciplinary symposia that brought together artists, architects, and urban scholars from the sciences and the humanities. She received the 2015 Schiff Foundation Writing Fellowship and, together with fellow collaborators, was a recipient of the 2016 Graham Foundation project grant for the independent publication Building Subjects (Standpunkte, 2019), a study on collective housing in China. Her other publications include an article in the edited volume Visual Arts, Representations and Interventions in Contemporary China: Urbanized Interfaces (Amsterdam University Press, 2018) and a forthcoming article in the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art (Intellect, Winter 2020).

Her work has been generously supported by The Getty Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Schiff Foundation, Graham Foundation, as well as the Art History Department and the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago.


Madeline Eschenburg is a lecturer at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. She specializes in contemporary Chinese art with a focus on performance and Social Practice art. She has published articles and book chapters about Chinese performance art and its relationship to documentary practice in the 1990s and early 21st century. She is currently working on a book project which explores the history of contemporary Chinese artists’ inclusion of marginalized communities in performance art and Social Practice projects. She will be presenting a paper titled “Mapping Marginality: Chinese Migrant Workers at the Venice Biennial” at the 2021 College Art Association annual conference.