DV-Made China: Digital Subjects and Social Transformations after Independent Film

Hardback: $65.00
ISBN-13: 9780824846817
Published: May 2015
Paperback: $30.00
ISBN-13: 9780824846824
Published: April 2015

Additional Information

408 pages | 60 illustrations
  • About the Book
  • In 1990s post-Reform China, a growing number of people armed with video cameras poured out upon the Chinese landscape to both observe and contribute to the social changes then underway. Happening upon the crucial platform of an older independent film movement, this digital turn has given us a “DV China” that includes film and media communities across different social strata and disenfranchised groups, including ethnic and religious minorities and LGBTQ communities. DV-Made China takes stock of these phenomena by surveying the social and cultural landscape of grassroots and alternative cinema practices after the digital turn around the beginning of the new century.

    The volume shows how Chinese independent, amateur, and activist filmmakers energize the tension between old and new media, performance and representation, fiction and non-fiction, art and politics, China and the world. Essays by scholars in cinema and media studies, anthropology, history, Asian and Tibetan studies bring innovative interdisciplinary methodologies to critically expand upon existing scholarship on contemporary Chinese independent documentary. Their inquiries then extend to narrative feature, activist video, animation, and other digital hybrids. At every turn, the book confronts digital ironies: On the one hand, its portability facilitates forms of radically private film production and audience habits of small-screen consumption. Yet it also simultaneously links up makers and consumers, curators and censors allowing for speedier circulation, more discussion, and quicker formations of public political and aesthetic discourses.

    DV-Made China introduces new frameworks in a Chinese setting that range from aesthetics to ethical activism, from digital shooting and editing techniques to the politics of film circulation in festivals and online. Politics, the authors urge, travels along paths of aesthetic excitement, and aesthetic choices, conversely, always bear ethical consequences. The films, their makers, their audiences and their distributional pathways all harbor implications for social change that are closely intertwined with the fate of media culture in the new century of a world that both contains and is influenced by China.

  • About the Author(s)
    • Zhen Zhang, Editor

      Zhang Zhen is associate professor of cinema studies and history at New York University.
    • Angela Zito, Editor

      Angela Zito is associate professor of anthropology and religious studies at New York University where she codirects the Center for Religion and Media.
    • Sheldon H. Lu, Series Editor

  • Reviews and Endorsements
    • Independent cinema in China constitutes one of the most exciting cultural scenes in the world today; the diversity of aesthetics and critical voices has generated immense social energy and attracted increasing attention at film festivals and in film scholarship. DV-Made China provides a rigorous and up-to-date treatment of the subject, making a unique contribution by its parallel inquiry of technological change and social transformation. DV-Made China’s transnational and comparative perspective gives the book a unique edge: highly conversant with methodological innovations in film studies and new media studies. . . . Rich, sober, innovative, and provocative, DV-Made China is a highly desirable addition to the literature of contemporary Chinese society, culture, and media.
      —Weihong Bao, University of California, Berkeley, Pacific Affairs, 90:1 (March 2017)
  • Supporting Resources