Folding Chinese Boxes: Sensing the Chinese Exotic

Olivia Khoo

in The Chinese Exotic

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9789622098794
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882207516 | DOI:
Folding Chinese Boxes: Sensing the Chinese Exotic

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This chapter examines the theoretical foundations for the concept of the fold and outlines its principles as they relate to the Chinese exotic. The fold demonstrates a movement which negotiates competing discourses and formations on images of diasporic Chinese femininity. Films such as Chinese Box, The Pillow Book, and M. Butterfly fold into the imaginary of the everyday through cinema's creation of sensory effects. By employing the concept of synesthetic non-sense in a post-colonial context, it is possible to see how the Chinese exotic unfolds: like a Chinese box of effects and affects which opens out, folds back upon itself, and is filled with consumable synesthetic delights. The chapter also shows how the cultural products of everyday life, in particular food and fashion, represent and make sense of diasporic Chinese femininity.

Keywords: fold; Chinese exotic; Chinese femininity; Chinese Box; Pillow Book; M. Butterfly; food; fashion

Chapter.  16159 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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