eikon

 first looks 

On December 10, 2022, award-winning Chinese science fiction writer Han Song began documenting his struggle with COVID-19 on his Weibo account. Han Song’s “Covid Diary,” which was accompanied by various pictures he took with his cellphone, went viral online.

 first looks 

A group of UCLA students undertook a performance art practice in response to and in support of the ongoing White Paper Revolution in China.

 first looks 

In late November, mass public protests erupted in numerous Chinese cities, voicing anger and frustration against the country’s zero-Covid policy and political censorship following a building fire in Urumchi. Ordinary citizens and university students created many protest slogans, poems, essays, songs, and artworks. This piece presents some of these poems.

 first looks 

Shanghai, a city of 25 million people, was under lockdown for two months in early 2022 under China’s stringent zero-Covid policy. The following poem, inspired by a widely circulated online video titled Sounds of April, was written to remember this historical event.

 first looks 

Hongwei Bao presents three poems inspired by the public protests that erupted in many Chinese cities during November 2022 in response to COVID-19 lockdown measures.

Grace En-Yi Ting weaves together Japanese literature, Hong Kong, and Asian American identity in an intellectual and personal narrative of “sideways becoming” through queer/feminist theory.

 first looks 

This First Looks entry presents a graphic collection of 100 stories from the city-wide lockdown period in Shanghai beginning in March of 2022.

In this speculative piece, bio artist Kuang-Yi Ku works with scientists to design a new series of cultivated, enhanced ginseng to be grown in the future on the moon, for the near present.

Ryan Buyco considers how his trajectories across the Pacific have been shaped by the continuties of war, settler colonialism, and US militarization.

 first looks 

Lawrence Cohen lays out the events precipitating and surrounding the epidemic proliferation of mucormycosis or “black fungus” in India, charting its pathophysiological, mediatic, and chromatic dimensions.

Chu May Paing presents an audio-visual narrative, through a series of old family photographs, and broaches the concept of “earned kinship”—that is, something that has nothing to do with blood nor with relatedness but something that has to be earned.

 first looks 

Jane Yang offers a creative re-imagination of Lu Xun’s A Madman’s Diary within/alongside/vis-à-vis the pandemic.

 first looks 

Carlos Rojas discusses first responses to COVID-19 as recorded by an archival project created by Duke Kunshan University (DKU), a partnership between Duke University and Wuhan University.

Artist Tada Hengsapkul and curator Thanavi Chotpradit explore the underwater afterlives of the Cold War.

 first looks 

Bishnupriya Ghosh examines the “frontline intelligence” of healthcare workers who recorded or reported their qualitative perceptions during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 first looks 

Michael Berry examines Fang Fang’s Wuhan Diary, a crucial text that documented the initial outbreak in Wuhan, China via an online blog, as an example of a “first look” and “future look.”

 first looks 

Our new “First Looks” forum captures this sense of the “unsettled” to ask: can the irresolution, the waiting, the vanishing certitudes of the interregnum be productive?

Michael Berry & Bishnupriya Ghosh

Emiko Stock’s contemporary “city symphony” video, “commute” superimposes footage from Bangkok and Hong Kong to foreground the materiality and affect of the city.

Explore a virtual museum detailing the development of a biofuel industry in Republican era China

Tristan E. Revells (edited by Lan Li)

Tsukasa Yajima documents four Korean “comfort women” who have yet to return home after the war.

Jennifer Dubrow investigates the role of poetry in contemporary protest in India at a turning point in the country’s political history.

Yongyu Chen provides a new lens on the well-known Thai ghost Nak in his video essay, “Mae Nak: The Close-Up and the Invisible.” Chen draws on Pimpaka Towira’s 1997 film, Mae Nak, to suggest new understandings of cinema, ontology, desire, and nation.

While episteme’s inaugural subject addresses explicit environmental crisis afflicting contemporary Asia, the eikon exhibit, “Oceans, Waters, and Acquifers,” digs into fundamental historical linkages among the natural world, bio-knowledge, and representation. “Oceans’” shifting visuality draws us into deep histories of the human body and geontological concepts into fluid relation, animating alternate epistemologies of life and world that present as many questions about the state of “the environment” as does realpolitik.