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Cinematic Folds underneath "East Asia": Humorous Traces of History in H Story and Secret Sunshine



Especially since the 1930s, "East Asia" as a spatial imaginary has been increasingly deployed by Imperial Japan and the U.S. to institute a larval network of nation-forms that locally mediate and effectuate biopowers. For critical intellectuals today, a critical exodus out of an "East Asia" as an imperial network of nation-states is not only necessary; it has to propose an alternative process in politics and arts whereby categories of nationality, culture, and colonial difference are at once deconstructed and overcome. This essay first situates the genealogical origin of the term "East Asia" in Japanese imperialism in the 1930s and then considers two theoretical efforts to critique metaphysical assumptions about culture that legitimate such imperial ideology: Martin Heidegger's "The Age of the World Picture" and Rey Chow's The Age of the World Target. If both Heidegger and Chow underscore the importance of "theory" as a practice in which currently foreclosed modes of life can be "thought," they also shed a critical light upon a symptomatic return to a non-theoretical culturalism in East Asia today - most notably exemplified by the term "Asia as method" - whereby anticolonial political desires remain firmly tethered to the imperial scheme of culture. In light of Heidegger's exploration of "invisible shadows" and "secret emitting of light" that haunt "the world as picture," cinema emerges as a productive site in which conceptualizations of "East Asia" as a metaphysical"picture" or "target" can be undone. The essay looks at two films, Suwa Nobuhiro's H Story (2001) and Lee Changdon's Secret Sunshine (2007), in which historical secrets re-emerge as the instances of newness in the present and release their witnesses from the schema of cultural nationalisms in Japan and South Korea. The paper concludes by suggesting a potential intersection among Heidegger's reading of Kantian "schema," Naoki Sakai's critique of a "schema" of co-figurative nations, and Gilles Deleuze's notion of "humor" as a "fold" that critically traverses the schematized world.

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幽默 美學 東亞 海德格 酒井直樹 德勒茲 東亞電影


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