Online Event

Animation as a Way of Seeing: The Afterlife of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy​

Date:  31 Mar 2022 - 31 Mar 2022

UMAG Lecture Series: Re-examining Modernity and Contemporaneity through Chinese Art​ (2022/23)

Animation as a Way of Seeing: The Afterlife of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy


Date: Thursday, 31 March 2022
Time: 2:00 pm –3:00 pm (HKT)  / 7:00 am –8:00 am (BST) / 11:00 pm on 30 March – 0:00 am on 31 March (PDT)
Mode of Delivery: Online via Zoom, registration required ​
Language: English ​


Speaker: Dr Panpan Yang | Lecturer, Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, SOAS University of London
Discussant: Prof. Mia Yinxing Liu | Associate Professor, Visual Studies Department, California College of the Arts


Please click here to register.



This lecture traces the afterlife of Chinese painting and calligraphy on the animation screen. We will bring into the critical spotlight Xu Bing’s 2012 animated video, The Character of Characters (Hanzi de xingge), which remediates Zhao Mengfu (1254–1322)’s painting and calligraphy. The new possibilities afforded by calligraphic animation are negotiated through a series of oscillations between image and text, spatiality and temporality, and diegetic and nondiegetic conventions. The dialogue that takes place between shu (books, written characters, and the act of writing) and the computer enables us to seek, pinpoint, and scrutinize a powerful intermedial creativity and its implications in an age of global media mix. We will pose a counter-historical question: has animation, as a way of seeing, always been with us, even before animation was invented? ​


Dr Panpan Yang is a lecturer (UK equivalent of assistant professor) in the Department of the History of Art and Archaeology at SOAS University of London. She received her PhD in 2020 from the University of Chicago. She is currently completing her first book on the history of Chinese animation from the 1920s to the present, with a focus on animation’s encounters with other artforms, including photography, painting, and calligraphy. Concurrently, she is working on a second book project on the calligraphic imagination in contemporary Chinese art and emergent media.​

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