Noelle Li-Zhen Tay

Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Fellow in the Humanities

20112012 Forum on Adaptations

Noelle Li-Zhen Tay


CAS, 2012

Modern Visual Culture in Shanghai – The Hybrid Gaze

Vision is not unmediated. It is bound to its context of cultural reactions and social politics, and is thus socially constructed. The Eastern concept of sunyata, meaning blankness, is counterintuitive to the self-aware, independent Cartesian gaze by relocating the gaze to a field of perspectives, allowing it to remain in a state of transformation. As a nexus of East and West, Shanghai plays out in real life the contestations between the two paradigms of seeing. Shanghai assimilates various cultural elements rapidly, disallowing any single paradigm to representing and visualizing the city. This research aims to reconstitute the hybrid gaze through exercises in visual representation. Through observing and documenting architectural spaces in Shanghai, I hope to construct my own representations in relation to the conceptual frameworks in question.