The Chinese Character as an Interface for Artistic Creation : Re-Cognition of Graphics and Phonetics

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


This article examines two modern artistic explorations of the Chinese character. It takes Xu Bing’s Square Word Calligraphy and Jonathan Stalling’s Sinophonic English Poetry as examples and investigate how contemporary art reimagines and reconstructs the “potential” of Chinese characters and what ideological and political implications these processes may have for transcultural communication in today’s world. Situating the production of both works in Xu’s and Stalling’s respective creative experiences and larger sociocultural conditions, this article shows how both works, which deploy the graphics and the phonetics of the Chinese character as interfaces, engage in the politics of transcultural art creation and communication, and achieve their generative effects. Through this investigation, it hopes to illuminate the critical power of the Chinese character used as an interface in challenging linguistic, ideological, and cultural “norms” and questioning racial, national, and political prejudice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-646
Number of pages26
JournalComparative Literature Studies
Issue number4
Early online date10 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

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  • humanist interface
  • Chinese characters
  • Xu Bing
  • Jonathan Stalling
  • graphics
  • phonetics


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