Kimberly Schreiber

Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Fellow in the Humanities

20142015 Forum on Color

Kimberly Schreiber

Comparative Literature

College of Arts & Sciences, 2015

Kimberly Schreiber is a senior majoring in comparative literature, with a concentration in literary and cultural theory, and minoring in art history and Chinese. Her research is on representations of loss in contemporary Chinese aesthetics. She is particularly interested in the slippage between documentary and abstract practice, and how this can be a productive channel for interpreting the traumatic experience. Kimberly is a University Scholar and a member of Penn's ski and snowboard team. In her free time, she loves to travel, cook, and see live music.

Documenting Disremembrance: Histories of Loss in Contemporary Chinese Representation

In places like contemporary China, where legal adjudication for past wrongdoings is impossible, an aesthetic engagement with the experience of loss has become essential to activating these historical remains and undermining violent narratives of progress.  Tracing several generations’ aesthetic responses to the Cultural Revolution, the Tiananmen Square Massacre, and the present day influx of global capital, I advocate for a specific type of aesthetic practice that elides the distinction between the documentary method and abstract practice. By deliberately conflating these categories I argue that these works are united in their quest to dismantle dominant ideologies, and undermine authoritative narratives by making visible their flaws and contradictions with everyday reality. Moreover, my research illuminates an evolving relationship to the documentary method – one that expands and challenges existing definitions of realism. Ultimately, my research is based on an ethical framework which demands a reorientation of our historical perspective, and a new understanding of history that is not couched in teleological notions of progress.