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9:45-12:15, May 17 (Sunday)

Session 4. Rhythms in Passing

Christophe Thouny (New York University) “Dwelling in Passing in Tayama Katai’s Kinkô”
Mizuki Uno (The University of Tokyo) “The Binding of Historical and Cosmic Time in Eastern Han Family Tombs”
Naoki Yoneda (JSPS) “The Sources of Art Nouveau and the Perception of Order”
Lei Ping (New York University) “Distinction of Spaces—Ruins of Longtang Life in post-Haussmannized Shanghai”

Moderator: Pau Pitarch Fernández (The University of Tokyo)


“Dwelling in Passing in Tayama Katai’s Kinkô”
Christophe Thouny (East Asian Studies, New York University)

In his provocative essay, “Domus and the Megalopolis” (The Inhuman, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 190-204), Jean-François Lyotard defines the condition of urban life in the megalopolis by the haunting of the lost place of the domus. If “It is in passing that we dwell” in the megalopolis (198), how are we to make sense of the relation in urban space between dwelling and movement? What form of social space emerges from such a disjunctive relation in the urban? In order to start answering those questions, I will discuss how the Tôkyô kinkô 近郊 is described and narrated in Tayama Katai’s 1916 Tôkyô no Kinkô. In this works, the kinkô appears as a liminal space that forces a reconsideration of urban space in terms of a dialectic of centrality, and of dwelling as a process of landscaping.

“The Binding of Historical and Cosmic Time in Eastern Han Family Tombs”
Mizuki Uno (The University of Tokyo)

This presentation will discuss diverse kinds of time represented in the tomb space pictorial motifs in Eastern Han, China. To adorn the tombs of local powerful families with stone relief came into practice during that period. This phenomenon took place against a background of certain social and religious facts. The former fact being the system of xiaolian (孝廉, filial and incorrupt) wherein the central government actively recruited virtuous men from powerful local families to serve as public officials. The latter fact being that the meaning of tomb space changed from simple burial space into space dedicated to ancestor worship, namely “filial piety”. In other words, tomb space in the Eastern Han became a representation of filial piety.
This presentation will show that such stone relief represented diverse kinds of time in ancient China: namely linear time such as historical life and cyclical time, for example the rotation of the four seasons. Eastern Han thought differed totally from ours, especially regarding the latter view of time, based on yin and yang (陰陽) and wuxing (五行) thought. Of course, those concepts are closely connected with the rhythms of Han agricultural life, and tomb space was seen to function as an integral part of the conversion from death to afterlife.
It is the objective of this presentation to examine the relationship between the Han conceptions of time and the dedication of space to “filial piety” through an analysis of each of the pictorial motifs on the Eastern Han tombs.

“The Sources of Art Nouveau and the Perception of Order”
Naoki Yoneda (JSPS)

The term Art Nouveau evokes images of European-wide invasion by the dynamism of organic and curved form. However, it was not always associated with plantlike forms used in interior decoration. The Art Nouveau movement was inspired by the longing for such an escape from the stale round of historical styles. And the unity of high art and applied art was demanded so vitally. The motivations and sources of the French designers were driven from the decorative pattern books broadly diffused in Europe in the late nineteenth century. I will discuss the characteristics of these books, which helped to achieve the glory of the Paris exhibition of 1900, examining the activities of the French architect René Binet and of the German biologist Hernst Haeckel. It was evident that the study of styles was required by the quest for inner cohesion and unity especially through the German aesthetics. The aim of this presentation is to investigate the origins and development of Art Nouveau in France in light of the perception of meaning and order, rather than the kinship between rational and organic orders.

“Distinction of Spaces—Ruins of Longtang Life in post-Haussmannized Shanghai”
Lei Ping (East Asian Studies, New York University)

At the time when the phantasmagoric, surreal, postmodern Shanghai hyperspace is celebrating its new fashion in the global capitalist market, a sociopolitical remapping of spatial distinctions comes to the fore. The once well-preserved Bourgeois middle-class everyday life gradually faded away as a form of memory and nostalgia along with the Haussmannization of its dwelling space—longtang in the city of Shanghai after 1992. A radical restructuring of the urban center and periphery under the postsocialist logic of capital has buried the ruins of the former colonial, capitalist, metropolitan and socialist spatiality and materiality into the city’s recent past. Sweeping cityscape accentuated by postsocialist monuments not only engenders shocking contrast with and reminiscence of its historical past, but gives rise to the differentiations of other spaces in the city. Nevertheless, once built on a Bourgeois middle-class identity, the city of Shanghai now seems to be recreated and redefined by a re-distinguished class spectrum.
With these concerns in mind, the paper will attempt to explore the newly compartmentalized cityscape in the postsocialist Shanghai from a Benjaminian understanding of ruins and Lukacsian notions of reification and class consciousness. Before delving into the post-Haussmannization period, the paper will first intend to draw close attention to the interiority of Shanghai Bourgeois middle-class everyday life in the architecture of longtang meticulously portrayed in Wang Anyi’s The Song of Everlasting Sorrow. Then by examining the disappearance and displacement of this everyday life, the paper will look at the dynamics between ruins and dialectical images in a comparative fashion. In the world of reification, urban ruins become the landmark of the historical trajectory of modernity and postmodernity. The recurrence of ruins and dialectical images of space and commodity fetishism will be investigated as haunting specters for understanding restructured class relations in the postsocialist Shanghai. Therefore, a number of issues will emerge in this case, i.e. How were the class distinctions made for the former Shanghai Bourgeois middle-class, and how have their everyday life and dwelling space been reshaped in the post-Haussmannization years? If there is a new postsocialist everyday life in the age of global capitalism, who are rewriting its history through a restratified spectrum of class and space in the city of Shanghai? By critiquing Bourdieu’s standpoints on the relation between social practice and class distinction, the paper will finally argue class as a social, economic and cultural concept is not an end product but rather deeply associated with spatial politics in the social world of reification. Ruins of longtang life and the constant production of spatial and class distinctions will hence call for a continued discussion on postsocialist urbanism in the city of Shanghai.

© UTCP Graduate Student Conference Committee, 2009.