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On Lili: Questioning China Girls through Practice-Based Research

Output: Bijdrage voor tijdschriftA1: Web of Science-artikel

Vertaalde titel van de bijdrageOver de film 'Lili': analyse van China Girls op basis van pracice based research
In film studies, issues of power and race are generally discussed by referring to the finished products (films) and their relation to their contexts. By contrast, this article explores such issues by concentrating on the production process of the author's film Lili, which focuses on so-called China girls. These are Caucasian women whose images were traditionally used in cinematography to calibrate the colours of the camera. Through practice-based research, the author questions the construction of white-centricity of the photographic media, which, as stated by film scholar Richard Dyer (White. London: Routledge, 1997), already assume, privilege, and construct whiteness. First, the relation between skin complexion, cinematography, and gender is problematised in the tradition of China girls. Next, this tradition is presented as an example of a chromophobic tendency in Western culture, which, as described by anthropologist Michael Taussig (What Color Is the Sacred? Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009) and by artist David Batchelor (Chromophobia. London: Reaktion Books, 2001), is rooted in the West's uneasiness with colour and its connotations with the so-called primitive. The author then unravels the production process of Lili, which combines fictional and documentary codes and contains a fictional voice-over blended with archival images and re-enactment. The film thus questions the normative powers of technological development, offering a critique on chromophobia in Western culture.
Originele taalEngels
TijdschriftCritical Arts
Pagina's (van-tot)72-86
Aantal pagina's14
StatusGepubliceerd - 2017

Bibliografische nota

van Dienderen, An. On Lili: Questioning China Girls through Practice-Based Research, in: "Critical Arts, South-North Cultural and Media Studies". Volume 31, issue 2, P. 72-86.


  • H700-audiovisuele-kunst-film - China Girls, chromophobia, white-centricity, practice-based research, documentary film, visual anthropology

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