Stockholm Dreaming China

800px-veterinc3a4rhc3b6gskolan_2011aEarlier this month, I attended the conference Exploring the China Dream at Stockholm University – glorious good fun including more  inspiring and informative presentations than I can mention here, so just a few samples:

At the panel on film and visual culture chaired by eminent organizer Elena Pollacchi, Prof. Paola Voci introduced us to different types of virtual soft power with hilarious and scary examples of short internet films like this one (》低头人生《 about what can happen to people who live with their heads glued to small screens).

Prof. Irmy Schweiger chaired my panel on dreams in literature, in which Martin Winter (who is much quicker on the keyboard than I am and has already blogged about it here and  here) read us a poem by Xu Jiang and talked about his translations of Yi Sha’s dream inspired poetry. It reminded me of Jack Kerouac’s Book of Dreams as well as Nietzsche’s argument in The Birth of Tragedy that good art combines the Apollonian act of dreaming with Dionysian drunkenness.

jorge_luis_borgesMy own presentation was a comparison of the dreamscapes in two short stories by Jorge Luis Borges and Can Xue. I talked about writing as a kind of literary incubation, the dream as a space of transgression/multiplication/splitting of the individual, and the Zhuangzi-like uncertainty about the reversible relationship between dreamer and dreamed pervading both stories. (Read my abstract here)

126250099The conference convinced me that, even if the official China Dream campaign seeks to promote the kind of dream that pretends to look forward while really looking back (not unlike Trump’s rhetoric of “making America great again,” or the cultural conservatism of European neo-nationalisms), there exists an undercurrent of uncontrollable visual and literary dreams, which move in many direction at once, expressing anything from sharp political criticism to plain individual confusedness to aesthetic and existential curiosity.

 

 

One thought on “Stockholm Dreaming China

  1. Reblogged this on 中国大好き and commented:
    艾喜說得真好。難忘的兩三天一場夢。我講了天津詩人徐江《想象IMAGINE》一首,還有伊沙的《梦》,並且伊沙和徐江各種詩歌平台夢想。都是非常具体的、民间的、日常生活的東西。謝謝朋友們!多谢意大利汉学国际联邦!谢谢斯德哥尔摩大学漢學系以及遠遠從新西兰、澳洲等等來参加的学者!

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