|Title||On the(re)emergence of cultural revolution imagery in China, Hong Kong and Singapore in the 21st century|
This thesis interrogates the (re)emergence of Cultural Revolution imagery in the
21st century as a cultural lens through which contemporary contradictory relations
between China, Hong Kong and Singapore are revealed. Between the late 1990s
and throughout the 2000s, a number of images originating from political posters
produced during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of the People's
Republic of China (PRC) were circulating in urban city cultures of Hong Kong
and Singapore, and in cyberspace in China. Removed from their original context
those images were reproduced as new cultural products and sites in new urban
The research methods are predominantly shaped by the nature of the
research which could broadly be described as ‘visual culture’ and the
transformations of a set of images across time, as an extremely recent
phenomenon. Drawing on key concepts in cultural studies, such as signifying
practices, representation, articulation and identity, I use Cultural Revolution
popular cultural products as ‘media texts’ to understand societies and
contemporary urban popular cultures in China, Hong Kong and Singapore. As my
research reveals, Cultural Revolution imagery can be flexibly transferred to
different physical and virtual forms and its meaning varies according to cultural
contexts, local practices which are shaped by historical backgrounds of respective
locations. It is the transferability of Cultural Revolution imagery which continues
to play a role in mass communication in contemporary urban popular culture.
The first chapter sets the scene for the (re)emergence of Cultural
Revolution imagery in the 21st century in China, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Chapter Two provides a detailed account of methodologies and examines
academic literature. Chapter Three discusses the commodification of Chinese
Revolutionary imagery in mobile multimedia pictures in Chinese urban culture.
Chapter Four examines the ways in which Chinese Revolutionary imagery was
borrowed by Hong Kong designers in the post-1997 Hong Kong context through
some examples of commercial commodities using Cultural Revolution imagery as
branding elements. Chapter Five discusses how Chinese Revolutionary imagery was used in commercial spaces (i.e. theme restaurant) in Singapore at the turn of
the 21st century.