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This study of ‘independent’ animation opens up a quietly subversive and vibrant dimension of contemporary Chinese culture which, hitherto, has not received as much attention as dissident art or political activism. Scholarly interest in Chinese animation has increased over the last decade, with attention paid to the conventional media circle of production, distribution and consumption. The ‘independent’ sector has been largely ignored however, until now. By focusing on distinctive independent artists like Pisan and Lei Lei, and situating their work within the present day media ecology, the author examines the relationship between the genre and the sociocultural transformation of contemporary China. Animation, the author argues, has a special significance, as the nature of the animation text is itself multilayered and given to multiple interpretations and avenues of engagement. Through an examination of the affordances of this ‘independent’ media entity, the author explores how this multifaceted cultural form reveals ambiguities that parallel contradictions in art and society. In so doing, independent animation provides a convenient ‘mirror’ for examining how recent social upheavals have been negotiated, and how certain practitioners have found effective ways for discussing the post-Socialist reality within the current political configuration.
Table of Contents
Introduction.- ‘Postsocialism’ and ‘Independence’.