CGS Brown Bag Lecture Series
Victoria Lupascu, Penn State
Lupascu's talk with analyze the transnational imaginaries of migrant workers and students as represented in Constantin Popescu’s The Laughing Yellow Face and Li Hong’s Out of Phoenix Bridge and will position the cultural creation of such figures in the context described by postsocialism in Romania and China. Drawing on the history of cinematic aesthetics during transitional times by Jason McGrath and Andrei Gorzo, Lupascu theorizes minimalism as a genre with heuristic capacity in portraying postsocialist contexts. A reaction to the miserabilist genre, minimalism constructs these figures as points of intersection between multiple means of communication and modes of existence conditioned by flows of capital. The epistemological and ontological ruptures of transitioning from socialism to postsocialism are embedded in the visual delineation of infrastructure and communication lines that condition human connections as seen in Popescu’s and Li’s films. Identity and subjectivity formation practices are central to these films and, she argues, bear the brunt of the transitional operations. Lupascu juxtaposes Romanian and Chinese films not for common traits generated by common historical experiences, but for the contribution their analysis brings to our understanding of the figure of migrant workers and students in relation to minimalism as an aesthetic practice closely imbricated with postsocialist and global cultural experiences.