Mediations of Xinjiang: For an aesthetic politics

Cubitt, Sean. 2019. Mediations of Xinjiang: For an aesthetic politics. Journal of Asia-Pacific Pop Culture, 4(1), pp. 5-25. ISSN 2380-7679 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Zhang Qian's second century BCE reports on his travels through what is now the Northwestern Chinese province of Xinjiang begin two millennia of mediations of this large and fraught region. This consideration of mediations of landscape starts from Tsui Hark's film Seven Swords, looking back to drawing and photography, and forward to geographic information systems and financial software, each giving their own, often complex, accounts of the land. This history, and the multiplicity of contemporary practices, raises the question of subjectivity: of who or what expresses and who or what observes or understands these layers of mediation, representation and communication, in the past or today. I argue that, for ecocritique in the age of terracide, aesthetics is not merely symptomatic or ideological: it is the one sure ground for a new politics.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Xinjiang, ecocritique, mediation, Tsui Hark, mass image, data visualisation, aesthetics, aesthetic politics

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


23 February 2019Accepted

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

26 Feb 2019 16:21

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 17:07

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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