Part of the GEM Lab's 2022-203 Works-in-Progress series
//Feb. 23, 2023
//1250 Guy, FB 630.15
This talk will explore potential methodologies for examining science and educational films produced in socialist China. The focus will include: 1) a review of available and newly discovered materials, 2) an analysis of the connections between science and educational films and media infrastructure, and 3) field visits to sites associated with the nation's socialist heritage, such as hydro dams, irrigation canals, and agricultural sites. This ongoing project aims to shed light on the intersection of Marxist doctrine, specifically dialectical materialism, and applied sciences within the context of socialist China and the audiovisual realm.
As a case study, we will examine the film Leprosy (dir. Yin Peilong, 1986, 20 mins, 16mm transferred to digital, Mandarin w/ English subtitles, produced by the Shanghai Science and Educational Film Studio), which explores the history and impact of leprosy. The film provides a comprehensive overview of the symptoms, causes, and preventive measures of this global pandemic and emphasizes the importance of early drug treatment in controlling and eradicating the bacteria. Additionally, the film sheds light on the need to eliminate discrimination against those affected by leprosy. This film, shot and released after China's first International Leprosy Academic Exchange Conference in 1985, features the renowned Lebanese-American physician Dr. Ma Haide (George Hatem, 1910-1988), who made significant contributions to the control and eradication of venereal diseases and leprosy in China.
Xin Zhou is a researcher and curator specializing in film and visual arts, currently based in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal. His research focuses on critical and minor infrastructure, artists' film and video, and the cultural and scientific theory and history of proto- and pseudo-science in socialist China. Currently, Xin Zhou is a second-year PhD student in Film and Moving Image Studies at Concordia University. Prior to this, he held curatorial positions at Long March Space in Beijing and the HOW Art Museum in Shanghai.