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ISSUE 7, JUNE 2013

Florian Schneider

The Futurities and Utopias of the Shanghai World Exposition -

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A Multimodal Discourse Analysis of the Expo 2010 Theme Pavilions1

Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. Albert Einstein Abstract The Shanghai Expo, hailed by the PRC’s official news media as “the largest ever Expo in history”, was far more than a theme park. It was a large-scale attempt at political communication. This paper examines this communication process, which the Chinese government initiated as a core part of its public relations strategy for the 21st century. The paper analyses multi-media data collected at the Expo site in July 2010 to answer the questions: what futurist and utopian visions did the five themed pavilions present to visitors of the Expo, and what relevance might these visions have to our understanding of how media events like world fairs construct political discourse? The paper engages with recent research on the Expo and reviews theoretical concerns about the general power of media events to manipulate audiences. It then provides an analysis that shows how the themed exhibits provide diverse interpretations of modernity and utopian futures. These visions at times collide with the worldview that the Chinese government is trying to foster, and which is communicated throughout much of the event. Yet this is not to say that the institutional constraints and the general set-up of the Expo collapse the entire event into a monolithic discourse that re-enforce the political ideals of the Chinese authorities, or that the participants and visitors of the event are successfully co-opted into an overarching narrative of capitalist modernity. In fact, the Expo offers opportunities of utopian thought that demonstrably escape control.

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The research for this project was made possible with the generous financial support of the Leiden University Institute of Area Studies and the NWO project Beyond Utopia, run by Chris Goto-Jones. I would like to thank the participants of the 2012 conference World Wide Asia and of the 2013 workshop (Post-)Modern Futurities in Leiden for feedback on the project. The following persons deserve special thanks for their detailed and helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper: Andrea Cerda Pereira, Chris Goto-Jones, Peter Pels, Foteini Poimenidi, Martin Roth, and the anonymous peer-reviewers. The views expressed in this paper, and all remaining omissions or errors, are of course entirely my own. 1

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Introduction Over the past decade, the leaders of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and its vanguard Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have updated their media and propaganda endeavors with the hope of creating a believable and attractive public relations strategy that would improve legitimacy at home while countering China Threat rhetoric abroad.2 Part of this strategy has revolved around mass-media events: staged events that are designed to appeal to the broadest possible audience, often relayed through mass-communication technologies like broadcasting, and set up in ways that disrupt the every-day activities of society to potentially “evoke a renewal of loyalty to the society and its legitimate authority” (Dayan & Katz 1992: 9). Recent examples from China include the Beijing Olympics, the 60th Anniversary of the PRC, and the Shanghai Expo.3 The potential prestige of hosting such international events has made them important opportunities for the leadership to showcase a modern, civilized, and successful China to audiences both at home and abroad. In many ways, the PRC’s government is following the model of its neighbour Japan, which could be said to have laid out the roadmap for developing nations in Asia trying to take the international stage: the Tokyo Olympics served Japan as a “rite of passage” in 1964 (Tagsold 2010), as did the 1970 Osaka Expo (Wilson 2012). The South Korean government has followed these examples with its own Olympic Games in 1988, and with the 2002 co-hosted FIFA World Cup (cf.Yu & Liu 2011). The PRC leadership seems to now be following suit: 40 years after the spectacles in Japan, the Chinese government is make international media events a corner-stone of its own PR strategy. The Shanghai World Exposition was a particularly ambitious PR attempt. For an estimated 400 billion RMB (Richburgh 2010), an equivalent of roughly 45 billion Euro, the authorities remodeled the city’s infrastruc-

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ture, building six new subway lines, a new airport terminal, and an exhibition area along the southern stretch of the Huangpu River that could have ten times accommodated Disneyland Paris. The event itself combined elements of theme parks with interactive multi-media experiences of the kind common at large IT conventions.4 It featured exhibits and architectural designs that had been developed and constructed by more organizations than the world has nations. The performances and exhibits were in part or as a whole recorded for consumption on DVD, relayed through websites, and broadcast locally, nationally, and internationally.5 The scale of this event prompted China’s state media to proudly call it “the biggest extravaganza the world has ever seen” (China Today 2010). This paper asks what messages a mass-media event like the Shanghai Expo imparts. Not only does the Shanghai Expo offer insights into the overall political communication strategy of the Hu Jintao administration, it also provides an opportunity to review how high-tech spectacles shape public discourse in an age of ubiquitous media exposure. In order to explore this case, I first review how recent scholarship has interpreted the Shanghai Expo, and in particular discuss the argument that the event should be seen as an example of Baudrillard’s simulacrum, i.e. a simulation of the world that is so thoroughly overwhelming that it replaces the real with a perfect facsimile of itself. Such arguments are grounded in the perception that media spectacles like the Shanghai Expo communicate a dominant discourse, which in this case is believed to collapse diverse statements into a grand narrative that promotes the Chinese authorities’ political vision. To check what kind of overarching discourse, if any, emerged from the way the event was arranged, I first take a closer look at the geographical, architectural, and organizational features of the Shanghai Expo, before then providing a detailed analysis of the official theme pavilions, i.e. the five exhibits that the authorities commis-

For an overview of China’s media reforms, see Zhao (2008). Brady (2008) has examined the PRC’s move from traditional propaganda to sophisticated public relations. 2

For analyses of the Beijing Olympics, see Barmé (2009), Brady (2009), and the various contributions in Price & Dayan (2008). My colleague Hwang Yih-Jye and I have analysed the PRC anniversary (Hwang & Schneider 2011). Callahan (2012), Nordin (2012a, 2012b), and Sun & Ye (2010) discuss the Shanghai Expo. 3

Such use of cutting-edge multi-media technology is by no means new, but has been a staple of the world-fair genre since at the very least the Montreal Expo of 1967. I would like to thank an anonymous reviewer for stressing this point. 4

While I am not aware of comprehensive data on media coverage, DVD sales, and audience ratings, the official final report of the Australian Pavilion provides some indication of the scope: the organizers documented that their pavilion attracted “an average of 65 media inquiries and 21 media visits (interviews, filming, recording etc) per week” – they estimated that media coverage in China alone had an advertising value in Australian Dollars “in excess of $10 million” (Australian Dep. of Foreign Affairs and Trade 2010). 5

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sioned to showcase various aspects of the Expo slogan “Better City, Better Life”.6 I follow up on this analysis by providing an alternative perspective on how mass-communicated media events might work. Instead of treating the Expo as a simulacrum, I suggest that we view it as an event that creates spaces for utopian imaginations. In other words, the Shanghai Expo includes what Jameson (2005: 16) has referred to as utopian enclaves, i.e. spaces “in which new wish images of the social can be elaborated and experimented on”. I conclude by making the case that a critical analysis of mass-media events would be well advised to focus on the concept of ideology rather than on Baudrillard’s simulacrum, and that scholarship on mass-mediated discourse can benefit from being grounded in a critical realist perspective that views mass-communication as cognitive processes.

Simulated reality: the Shanghai Expo as dominant discourse The Shanghai Expo, hailed by the PRC’s official news media as “the largest ever Expo in history” (Li & Chen 2010: 10-11), was far more than a theme park. It was a large-scale attempt at political communication. On the eve of the Expo opening, Teng Junjie, chief director of the gala performance, called the opening ceremony “a new vision of the world from the bottom of the Chinese people’s hearts” (ibid.: 12) – an apt description not just of the launch event, but also of the six month world fair as a whole. Recent studies of the Shanghai Expo have consequently asked what this Chinese vision of the world might be, and have explored the issue by examining the discourses that the event promoted.7 As Callahan (2012) argues, the Expo predominantly presented a capitalist vision of 21st century world order in which multinational corporations and nation-states play the main role. This logic seems apparent not only in the content of many pavilions, for instance the various commercial showcases, but also in the very structure of the event, i.e. its architecture and its staging grounds. For instance, the size and imperial red color of the PRC national pavilion prompted foreign journalists to argue that the Expo established a new world order that had China at its centre (Minter 2010). Scholars who have analyzed the Shanghai Expo in more detail have come to a similar conclusion. For Callahan the event “mapped a stable harmonious world

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in its shiny finished state” (Callahan 2012: 258). Nordin finds that the Expo promoted a grand narrative in which “China legitimately leads a new harmonious world order” (Nordin 2012a: 236). There seems to be a strong sense not only of the organizers imbuing the massive festival with their specific vision of the 21st century, but also of the power that this bedazzling spectacle had. Nordin (ibid.) concludes that the event left little room for alternative interpretations, and Callahan argues that resistance to the overarching discourse took place primarily outside of the Expo territory, in the “small-scale work” of artists and intellectuals (Callahan 2012: 263). A major driving force behind such arguments is the realization that the kinds of media technologies that are deployed at an event like the Expo, as well as the content they relay, are often highly manipulative. The degree to which corporations and nation-states tried to sell their ideologies to visitors of the Shanghai Expo, for example, shows that an event such as this offers ample opportunities for organizers to try and convince visitors of certain world views. This observation is then often combined with a general skepticism towards media representation in general, and a belief that such representation is by default able to shape human behavior along predetermined lines. Through cultural artifacts and interactive media, so the argument goes, the visitor is ensnared in a hegemonic discourse which co-opts all attempts to formulate diverging views. For instance, many of the Expo pavilions, and in particular the official Chinese exhibits, made use of a civilizational discourse in which economic and social development were depicted as a teleological process: progress became an automatic linear movement towards a better future (Nordin 2012a). An example of such a discourse is the China Pavilion, which not only includes displays of past/present/future urban practices (including showcases of Chinese living rooms becoming more luxurious over the decades), but also features films (e.g. Lu 2010, Zheng 2010) that make strong use of dates, timelines, time lapses, clocks, slow-motion editing, and so on, to symbolize China’s unstoppable movement towards a hypermodern future. The Expo included many such examples, and Nordin (2012a: 241) thus concludes that the idea of linear time is engrained “throughout the Expo itself by feature clocks, ticking pendula, and hourglasses”. She similarly comments on a theme pavilion that depicts families on different continents going about their daily routines – an exhibit that I will examine in more detail below. In this pavilion, a Dutch protagonist is shown using an electric toothbrush and living in a mod-

The analysis is based on qualitative interviews with Chinese officials and foreign pavilion organizers conducted in July 2010, and on multi-media data and official PR material collected at the Expo site. For ethical reasons, all interviewees will remain anonymous. 6

7

For introductions to discourse theory, see Dreyfus & Rabinow (1982) and Howarth (2000).

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ern apartment surrounded by high-tech gadgets, while a family from Brazil is depicted using traditional toothbrushes and living in a more run-down home. To Nordin (2012a: 241), this example demonstrates that the exhibit buys into the same linear developmental discourse that seems to be on display elsewhere at the world fair: “the sequentialization in time is obvious”, and the way the exhibit sets up “different spatial/cultural units” suggests that “we all do the same thing; it is just that some are a bit behind”. This concern that cultural artifacts promote a certain discourse, which in turn forces predetermined and inescapable spatial and temporal frameworks on the audience, is further aggravated by worries about the manipulative potential of interactive media. If the argument is that media manipulate users, and if interactive media engage users more intensely than previous media types, then the impact of interactive media on the user is readily seen as particularly thorough by virtue of the interactive element. Both Callahan and Nordin seem to imply this when they each examine how Expo pavilion organizers deployed digital, dynamic, and interactive media throughout their exhibits. An example that both authors cite is the Siemens commercial pavilion.Visitors of this pavilion automatically had their picture taken at the entrance, and this picture was then edited into a digital avatar of the visitor that sang the pavilion theme song in unity with other avatars. Such image manipulation could be found in various other locations as well. To Nordin (2012b: 114), this practice means that “moving through the world/fair our bodies are more explicitly hijacked by screening, made to do things potentially against our will (and indeed through or in advance thereof), proliferated, taken apart”. Callahan (2012: 256) similarly notes that through this trick “visitors are recruited into the cosmopolitan message of material prosperity”. What is interesting about these comments is that they voice concern about the use (and arguably abuse) of personal images, but then suggest that such use constitutes a violation of the self. As Nordin (2012b: 115) puts it: Through these technologies of the world/fair, not only our concepts of spatiality and temporality but also our notions of subject and object are displaced. (…) We are copies of copies without original, simulacral avatars in virtual hyperreality.

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Nordin (2012b) suggests that we should consequently view the Shanghai Expo as “a simulacral world/fair”, i.e. in terms of Baudrillard’s theory of simulation. Considering how the Expo resembles a miniature world, it is indeed valid to ask to what extent the event “simulated” the world for its visitors. Baudrillard’s theories touch on this particular point: according to Baudrillard (1983: 4), modern life is characterized by an endless cycle of selfreferentiality – a system “substituting signs of the real for the real itself”. In other words, the only reality that subjects have access to consists of the ubiquitous signs that circulate through the media. Baudrillard offers an example of the “perfect model of all the entangled orders of simulation” (ibid.: 23), which is relevant to the discussion at hand. For Baudrillard, the apex of simulation is Disneyland. Baudrillard writes (ibid.: 25): Disneyland is there to conceal the fact that it is the “real” country, all of “real” America, which is Disneyland. (…) Disneyland is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, when in fact all of Los Angeles and the America surrounding it are no longer real, but of the order of the hyperreal and of simulation. It is no longer a question of a false representation of reality (ideology), but of concealing the fact that the real is no longer real, and thus of saving the reality principle. For Baudrillard, this spectacular theme park is indicative of how the age of simulation works; it marks the end of all meaning, the end of “the society of the spectacle” which Debord criticized, “the end of perspective and panoptic space” that Foucault examined, and “the end of all dialectic” (ibid.: 54 & 70). In this view, places like Disneyland are so spectacular that they force visitors to abandon any critical view of the world as a whole. The simulacrum takes over and “(…) power is no longer present except to conceal that there is none” (ibid.: 46). Nordin follows this logic by arguing that the Shanghai Expo needs to be analyzed in line with Baudrillard’s interpretation of Disneyland. This then leads her to conclude that “the world fair is everywhere, that in fact the world is a fair” and that “the world fair is simultaneously nowhere and now here” (Nordin 2012b: 107 & 111).8 While I generally agree that analyzing how Expos simulate the world can offer valuable insights into how such events function, I nevertheless disagree that Baudrillard’s understanding of semiotic simulation provides a helpful framework for analysis. I will not rehearse

Timothy Mitchell (1989) has made a similar argument, using Orientalist representations at the Paris World Fair of 1889 as his example of a “labyrinth without exit” that creates perceptions of the “world-as-exhibition”. 8

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the criticism against Baudrillard in detail here.9 Suffice to say that Baudrillard’s theories are meant as political critique, not as the foundation of academic enquiry. It would be misleading to understand his views on the power of representation as accurate explanations of how communication works.Yet even without the recourse to Baudrillard, criticism of the Expo and its perceived hegemonic discourse may still be valid. It therefore seems prudent to examine the case of the Shanghai Expo in more detail to see if theories that view media events as governed by dominant discourses have traction in light of the empirical evidence.

The Shanghai Expo’s miniature world In many ways, visitors to the Expo territory indeed entered a miniature model of the world, designed by the organizers as a large public-relations showcase of nationstates, international organizations, and multinational corporations. The scale, location, and architecture of the various pavilions prompted one observer to note that the geopolitics of this event were “sometimes comically obvious” (Minter 2010). For instance, if we imagine a map of the world in which the actual territory of each nation-state directly correlated to that state’s national pavilion at the Expo, it would look roughly like the cartogram I have constructed below (Figure 1).10

Figure 1: National exhibit sizes at the Shanghai World Exposition (image: F. Schneider).

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A major feature of this warped miniature world is that states with large territories are proportionally underrepresented (e.g. the USA, Canada, or Russia), and that small but prosperous countries like the European states and countries in East Asia are highly visible. Countries with lower GDP, for instance states in South America or in Africa, are hardly visible at all. These distortions reflect the amount of funding that each participant nation was willing to invest, and which consequently defined the lot size of the respective national pavilions. Probably the most noteworthy feature of this map, however, is the dominant position that the PRC plays. While host countries are generally more conspicuous at world fairs, the pavilion organizers I interviewed felt that the host’s predominance at this particular event was unprecedented in Expo history. For the previous two World Expositions, this impression is confirmed by data from the German and Japanese exhibition spaces, respectively.11 What is more, Chinese exhibition spaces did not only constitute the largest single national presentation, they were also located center-stage at the Expo, just outside the main entrance on the Pudong side of the territory. The arrangement of buildings and lots often represented actual geographic features: looking from the east at China’s national pavilion, which is also known as the “Oriental Crown” (东方之冠 visitors found the “mainland” represented by a massive elevated plateau on their left, with the red PRC pavilion towering over the exhibition buildings of the two special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macao. To the right lay the smaller Taiwan pavilion, separated from the mainland by a broad, elevated walk-way that curved along the plateau much like the Taiwan Straits curves along the coast of China. The Chinese exhibits repeatedly linked the Expo theme “Better City, Better Life” to the current administration’s goal to create a harmonious society (和谐社会).

Norris & Papastephanou (2002: 272). For an arguably unforgiving critique of Baudrillard’s theories, see also Norris (1992). A more favourable interpretation of Baudrillard’s project is available in Best & Kellner (1997: 102-118). 9

The calculations are based on lot sizes provided in Huang & Kuang (2010), as well as on extrapolations from the official Expo map. The lot space for China reflects the official figure of 160,000 m² (cf. Xinhua 2008). This includes the actual China pavilion, the park area surrounding it, the Hong Kong and Macao pavilions, as well as the separate provincial exhibition spaces located in a large hall within the plateau’s foundation. 10

Floor plans, images, and statistics are available on the official websites: www.expo2000.de and www.expo2005.or.jp/en/. Whether the degree of China’s predominance at this event was indeed as unique as many participants argued will have to remain the subject of future historical research. Due to the scope of this paper, I will not provide historical comparisons of world fairs here; for such perspectives see Jackson (2008) and Roche (2000). 11

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This concept emphasises public order, but also sustainable development, albeit always within the framework of the sovereign nation-state. Slogans that promote harmony and a harmonious society have become central to the current administration’s propaganda strategy (cf. Barmé 2009: 78, Brady 2008: 58-60, Callahan 2008: 758). It is hardly surprising that much of the official PR material for the Shanghai Expo deployed this key concept, but what is noteworthy is that such use of “harmony” relays a view of human beings as citizens of the world rather than as citizens of nation-states. An official introduction to the Expo and its theme, for instance, states that “Better City, Better Life” stands for “harmony between man and nature, between history and future, and between people” in a “harmonious city” (Sun 2009: 12). This discourse of a shared planet and a common humanity was also reflected in the official logos, for instance the green Shanghai Expo logo that represents three people holding hands to form the Chinese character for ‘world’ (世), or the blue mascot Haibao that resembles the Chinese character for ‘person’ (人). Such interpretations of “harmony” have much in common with the discourse presented in the pavilions of international organizations like the UN: each frames individual human beings as world citizens, and one might therefore tentatively call such a discourse “cosmopolitan”, in the Greek sense of the word. However, there is much evidence that the Shanghai Expo was far less about world citizens than the public relations efforts made it out to be. Many of the cultural activities at the Expo promoted a view of the world in which the central agents were sovereign nationstates. For example, every weekday at the Expo was a national day. Each morning at 10:30, one of the participant nations, represented by a state official, would be honored with a flag raising ceremony in front of the Expo Centre, and China’s state media would carry programmes on the respective country. In addition to such rituals, the Expo organizers sold special passports for 30 RMB (equivalent to roughly 3.5 Euro; see Figure 2). Once equipped with this artificial document, guests could collect visa stamps by visiting the different country pavilions. Essentially this activity invited visitors to experience the world as a series of border-crossings into the territories of foreign nations (also cf. Nordin 2012a: 239). One could therefore argue that the Expo prompted visitors to view the event and its participants through the lens of nationality. After all, both the WWW.ASIASCAPE.ORG

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content of exhibitions and the arrangement of national participants within the Expo Park suggest that the Shanghai Expo placed a much stronger emphasis on international rather than cosmopolitan visions of 21st century world order. However, is this evidence sufficient to argue that the Expo “mapped a stable harmonious world” (Callahan 2012: 258)? I would contend that recent analyses of the Shanghai Expo overstate the seemingly hegemonic discourse in which China leads the world to a Sinocentric harmonious future. While the Expo indeed framed world order as inter-national, the idea that China might stand at the center of this world order is neither pervasive, nor does such a notion remain uncontested. In fact, many national pavilion exhibits played with this overarching theme only to reinvent it and offer alternative interpretations. Examples include the US and Japanese exhibits, which attempted to re-frame the harmony discourse by respectively infusing it with ostensibly American and Japanese values, as well as the Dutch and Spanish pavilions, which confronted visitors with radically postmodern exhibits that jarred with the official modernity discourse that the CCP promotes. I have examined such attempts to challenge the grand narrative elsewhere, along with the complex production processes that create this intricate interplay between official themes and alternative interpretations, so I will not repeat that analysis here (Schneider, forthcoming). Instead I will focus on the kinds of futures and utopias that the official theme pavilions presented. If Callahan and Nordin are correct, then these center-pieces of the Expo should portray “a stable harmonious utopia that combines global capitalism with Chinese civilization” (Callahan 2012: 257) and that “insists on the singular China’s Future as the (Harmonious) World’s Future” (Nordin 2012a: 246).

Figure 2: The Expo 2010 passport (image: F. Schneider)

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Multifarious discourse and Utopian visions of the future Five pavilions were specifically dedicated to showcasing the Expo theme “Better City, Better Life” (城市,让生 活更美好). These were the Urbanian Pavilion (城市人 馆), the Pavilion of City Being (城市生命馆), the Pavilion of Urban Planet (城市地球馆), the Pavilion of Footprints (城市足迹馆), and the Pavilion of Future (城市未来 馆).12 Three of these pavilions (Urbanian, City Being, and Urban Planet) were located in the large Theme Pavilion Building, just west of China’s national pavilion, near the main entrance on the Pudong-side of the territory. The other two exhibits were located on the Puxi side, in renovated industrial buildings: the Pavilion of Footprints in an old welding workshop, the Pavilion of Future in a former power plant. Considering that these various pavilions consisted of sophisticated multi-media installations, which combined architecture, exhibitions, written and spoken announcements, films, interactive elements, and performances, I have analyzed them by conducting what Kress & van Leeuwen (2001) have called a “multimodal” discourse analysis. This means that I have collected the raw data of images, words, and sounds at the site, and have then processed these in what I call multi-media protocols: tables that list or reproduce specific features of the media content side-by-side, and over time, to illustrate communication dynamics. These protocols allow, for instance, a room-by-room break-down of an exhibit, or a shot-by-shot break-down of a relevant film. These units of analyses (for instance rooms, exhibits, film sequences, etc.) can then be coded for specific discourse strands.13 The advantage of this approach is that it allows for a systematic analysis of media content while countering potential data selection bias on the part of the researcher. It also makes qualitatively or quantitatively significant patterns and relationships visible in the data, and these patterns can then be analysed in detail, summarized for presentation, and represented in graphic form where appropriate.14 Before turning to the results of this multimodal discourse analysis, it is important to consider the pro-

12

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duction background of the five official theme pavilions, which had each been commissioned and approved by the Chinese state, but had not been designed by propaganda officials. As several pavilion organizers I interviewed explained, intervention by propaganda officials was minimal at the Expo, and mainly consisted of final inspection and subsequent approval to assure that the exhibits conformed to Expo guidelines and did not showcase content that violated PRC propaganda regulations (e.g. by discussing Chinese minority politics or questioning the PRC’s territorial integrity). The exceptions were pavilions designed by Chinese state institutions: like all state-run cultural producers, these actors are tied into the CCP propaganda system through various mechanisms, like interlocking directorates and Party memberships (Shambaugh 2007). As I will illustrate below, such practices indeed assured that certain exhibits reproduced the official CCP Party line. Overall, creative control of the respective theme pavilions rested with a variety of Chinese and foreign organizations, which had each been selected through an official design competition (cf. Expo Liaoning 2010, Xinhua 2010, Shiboju 2010). The Pavilion of City Being was a joint-venture between the China Central Academy of Fine Arts and the London-based design consultancy Land Design Studio. The Urbanian Pavilion was created by the Dutch exhibition architects Kossmann.dejon, the Urban Planet exhibits by the German communication and design agency Triad Berlin, and the Pavilion of Future by the Spanish design agency INGENIAqed. The only Pavilion designed solely by a Chinese institution was the Pavilion of Footprints, which was created by the Shanghai Museum. The pavilions that most noticeably promoted the official propaganda discourse of a civilized, harmonious, and hypermodern China were indeed those designed primarily by Chinese organizations. Since these state-run organizations had to adhere to overarching propaganda directives, their content generally followed the Party-line. For instance, the Pavilion of Footprints, which showcased various historical examples of city planning, was steeped in dichotomies of “Occident” vs. “Orient”, and showcased Chinese historical artifacts under the title of “A 5000-year history of Wonders and Shocks” – a reference to the official position that China

The official record of the theme pavilions provides detailed information on the exhibitions (Xu 2010).

cf. Korte (1999) for information on the sub-category of sequence and shot protocols used in the analysis of standard 2D motion pictures. The term “discourse strand” comes from the work of the German critical discourse analyst Sigfried Jäger (2001, 160-163). 13

14

See Müller (2003) and Kress & van Leeuwen (2001, 2006) for similar methodological approaches to visual analysis.

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possesses 5000 years of history (cf. Mittag 2008). The diverse exhibits ranged from ancient Mesopotanian, Egyptian, and Chinese artifacts to examples of urban renewal projects around the world. These exhibits were not only juxtaposed with references to the harmonious society discourse (such as a large Chinese character for harmony 和), but were also framed by narratives of progress and development that emphasized clear moral statements like “society needs order and government”.15 Much like China’s national pavilion16, the Pavilion of Footprints relayed a simple civilizational story with China as a major example of urban planning wisdom. The Pavilion of City Being similarly promoted a story of modernity and progress. The visitors were guided through large halls, representing first a stylized railway station and then underground sewerage and electrical systems, suggesting that cities are living beings with circulatory systems and metabolisms. These symbols of flows and movements were then followed by five short films, presented in a 360 degree cinema, and each introducing the visitors to a particular city plaza and its unique “spirit” (精神): the passion of Tango dancers on Buenos Aires’ May Plaza, the energy of musicians in Nairobi’s Freedom Plaza, the bustle of Bombay’s Railway Square, and the elegance of Edmonton’s City Square. China was represented by Wenchuan Square in the city of Hanwang, which witnesses the heart-wrenching story of a young boy searching for his dead father’s chess board in the rubble of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake (Figure 3). The exhibit thus manages to tie the theme of urban renewal to nationalist discourse of the Sichuan earthquake, which was also on display in other Chinese pavilions, and which is quickly becoming canonical within CCP propaganda.17 However, aside from these examples of relatively clear-cut propaganda, the three themed pavilions that focused on the future all contained narratives that were much more diverse. Despite being under the purview of the Shanghai Expo Bureau, and by extension the Chinese propaganda system, these collaborations between Chinese and foreign designers produced spaces for alternative imaginations. They functioned, to use Jameson’s words (2005:15-16), “as a kind of enclave within which Utopian fantasy can operate” and provided “a kind of mental space in which the whole system can be imagined as radically different”.

Figure 3: Feature film at the City Being Pavilion - A boy commemorates his father, who died at 14:28 during the Sichuan Earthquake (image: F. Schneider).

Take, for instance, the Urban Planet Pavilion. Contrary to the common visions of hypermodern skylines amidst green jungles that were visible at many official Chinese pavilions, the German designers who had been commissioned to create the core environmental showcase presented dystopian scenarios of urban sprawl, scorched earth, and polluted seas. With references to the harmony between China’s traditional five elements, the exhibit guided visitors through the devastating consequences that urbanization has on mineral resources, the environment, and water resources, and presented the impact of energy usage and waste on the ecosystem. These dangers to “harmony” were juxtaposed with images of children from around the world, accompanied by information on their likes and dislikes, their hopes and dreams. The center-piece of the exhibit was a huge sphere with a diameter of 32 meters, which served as a screen for images of earth, continuously changing under

For more information on media framing, see Entman (1993), Kinder (2003), and the various contributions in D’Angelo & Kuypers (2010). 15

16

For an overview of China’s national pavilion and its exhibits, see Zhu (2010).

The earthquake discourse has featured strongly throughout the Olympics, the 60-year Anniversary of the PRC, and various Chinese cultural products. Its focus lies on national unity in the face of adversity, symbolically represented by recurring visual tropes, such as outstretched hands, PLA helpers carrying victims across rubble, and clocks stopping at 14:28 (i.e. the time of the earthquake). 17

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human influence. The exhibit then guided visitors along the “Road of Solutions”, which showcased low-carbon construction techniques and green energy technologies, often designed by (German) multi-national corporations. However, this is not to suggest that the pavilion simply relayed the modernity discourse that the Chinese authorities promoted. Despite the references to harmony and the focus on solutions, the exhibits by no means endorsed the argument that capitalist modernity will fix itself. The concluding element of the pavilion was a film entitled “The Only Planet We Have”, which was meant to show “how mankind existed in balance with the earth for a very long time, and how this relationship ended up in its present fundamental crisis” (Triad 2010). While these ambitions made the pavilion highly ideological, they did not reproduce the same ideology that was on display at, for instance, the official China Pavilion, where China’s problems were seemingly solved through relentless economic development. Similarly, the Pavilion of Future presented exhibits that did not neatly fit into the official visions of a hypermodern future. Callahan has commented on a particular installation in this pavilion: a video that shows a Caucasian man planning his wedding to a Chinese woman in a highly futuristic setting that includes an array of digital gadgets and augmented reality tools. Callahan (2012: 255-256) notes a similar wedding story at another pavilion and concludes that “the Expo thus creates and manages cosmopolitanism by combining Chinese wives and EuroAmerican husbands, suggesting that this is the proper global harmony of East and West”. While the gendered narrative of this specific installation is indeed noteworthy, the Pavilion of Future was far more multifarious than this exhibit suggests. Designed by the Spanish design studio INGENIAqed, under the directorship of Expo Bureau member Carmen Bueno, the pavilion in fact showcased diverse science-fiction visions. The tour begins with “dreams of yesterday”, a long hallway of screens that show sci-fi animation movies from around the world: Ghost in the Shell, Moebius Strip, Immortal, The Island, Metropolis. After this collage of often radical futurities, visitors enter a hall that pays tribute to important utopian writers, ranging from Thomas Moore to Charles Fourier, and including also Chinese philosophers such as Guanzi管子. The next parts of the exhibit consist of artworks and statues with highly ambivalent meanings that often resist a simple modernist

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interpretation. The section entitled “opportunities” includes sculptures that each present a core concept: an oversized ant mound symbolizes construction, a large toilet stands for basic needs, a set of tubes denotes networks, and a bundle of fiber optic cables stands for harmony. These sculptures are followed by a large metal heap that hangs suspended from the ceiling. This block of junk components from discarded TVs, cars, and refrigerators casts a shadow that resembles the skyline of a hypermodern city (Figure 4).Yet what is constructed here is not the vision of a harmonious hypermodern urban landscape, but rather something reminiscent of Plato’s cave allegory, i.e. a world in which the inhabitants do not see objects as they really are, but only have access to the shadows they cast on a cave wall. In this particular case, the visitor is confronted with a shadow that portrays an iconic modernity, only to be presented with the actual object that cast the shadow: a pile of garbage (Figure 4).

Figure 4 The artwork "Fantasy City" at the Pavilion of Future (image: F. Schneider).

After a hall that contains dioramas of successful urban planning (showcasing Ningbo, Freiburg, Dar Es Salam, and Canberra), as well as the video of the future wedding that Callahan has commented on, the tour reaches its feature installation: a utopian vision of different kinds of cities, designed by the Chinese animation artist Bu Hua卜桦.Visitors are first introduced to the five different science-fiction cities (“Intelligence City”, “Eco City”, “Energy City”, “Water City”, and “Space City”), before then viewing Bu Hua’s five FLASH animation short films on a huge screen at the “Harmony Plaza”. The short films, which are available on Chinese video-sharing web-

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sites like youku and tudou, feature various children who dream up cities of the future after witnessing scenes of environmental destruction. As these kids explore the surreal dream environments, they are guided by Bu Hua’s alter-ego: a little girl, dressed in the uniform of a Communist Youth League pioneer, who already featured in Bu Hua’s 2008 film “Savages” 野蛮丛生, a subversive animated critique of Chinese modernity (cf. Bu 2012). Together with this young pioneer, the children travel through the different utopias, which often consist of minimalist cities with sparsely populated spaces and close connections between individual inhabitants and the environment. Bu Hua’s science fiction imaginations at “Harmony Plaza” thus provide interpretations of the theme that have little in common with the official CCP view of harmony as “order and government”. In contrast to the Pavilion of the Future, with its at times esoteric science fiction iconography, the Urbanian Pavilion presents a much more tangible vision of city life. Designed by the Amsterdam-based architectural company Kossmann.dejon, the installation follows the daily routines of six families in six cities from different continents (Phoenix, Sao Paolo, Tema, Rotterdam, Zhengzhou, and Melbourne). The stories of these families, which were filmed over the course of half a year, are juxtaposed in multi-media installations to create nonlinear, non-hierarchical impressions of urban life. Through its up-close and personal style, the pavilion invites the visitors to identify with the various individuals while considering the overarching question “what is the quality of life”?18 Following video introductions to the various households, which are represented in the entrance hall as life-sized wax figures, the pavilion showcases five elements of urban life: home, work, connectivity, learning, and health. Each theme brings together artifacts from the six households as well as multi-media installations that show looped videos of the different individuals going about their daily routines (Figure 5). In the majority of exhibition halls, these videos are synchronized to suggest that the different households are in fact engaged in similar activities at the same time. I have placed the different video installments on time-lines and have compared the imagery and the captions that offer additional information on the respective living conditions to check whether this set-up indeed creates the kind of biased “sequentialization in time” that critics have observed (Nordin 2012a: 241). However when examining the exhibits in their context and as a whole, the messages of this pavilion are not so easily reduced to such a conclusion. For instance, when the different households are introduced, the American family

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is shown playing table tennis, while the family from Ghana plays pool, the Brazilian family meets for a picnic, the Australian couple watches TV at home, the Chinese meet for a dinner with four generations of their family, and the Dutch entrepreneur works long hours. How is the visitor supposed to understand these various examples of leisure time, fun, and games that the families are participating in? Is the Australian family more “advanced” than the Brazilians, or vice-versa? Similarly, if the different videos of the exhibit “home” are placed next to one another, the morning routines of the various families do not seem to clearly mark any particular way of life as superior: for instance, if the electric toothbrush is indeed interpreted as a sign of progress in the Dutch case, why then is it not noteworthy that the highly advanced American family uses the same regular toothbrushes as its African counterpart? A simple interpretation that sees the exhibits as expressions of linear modernity ultimately breaks down when confronted with the video captions. Through these interjections, the visitors learn that three minutes of work in Rotterdam buy one hamburger, whereas eight minutes of work are needed in Zhengzhou. They are also informed that the Dutch man works eighty hours per week and spends forty percent of his income on housing, whereas the Chinese man works fifty hours and spends twenty percent of the family income on housing. I fail to see how the combination of visual materials and statistical information marks one lifestyle as better or more progressive than another. It seems to me that the intentions of the pavilion designers to showcase the diverse ways in which life can have “quality” offer a better key to understanding this exhibit. Like the other themed pavilions, the Urbanian installation is highly ideological, both in terms of content and the way the exhibition is set up (in this case promoting an arguably European cosmopolitanism that is marked by the conspicuous absence of state institutions). However, this is not to say that its messages collapse into an ostensibly ubiquitous grand narrative.

From the simulating event to the simulating mind The analysis shows that three of the five core Expo theme pavilions did not showcase the future as a Sinocentric world order, but instead offered highly diverse interpretations of the Expo theme “Better City, Better Life”. Critiques of the Shanghai Expo as an institution of domination overemphasize the power that such an event has, and it seems this misplaced emphasis stems from the view of “simulation” that informs such criticism.

For an official introduction to the exhibit, see PICNIC (2011).

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Figure 5 Rotating screen installation at the Urbanian Pavilion showing diverse work routines (image: F. Schneider).

Baudrillard’s argument that reality is a simulacrum, an illusion that does not mask reality but in fact is our only reality, may overstate the power of media, but in one regard it provides a viable hypothesis: reality is a simulation. Academics in other fields, such as cognitive science, have long made a similar case (cf. Damasio 2010, Firth 2007, Llinás 2002). However, as such works show, it is not media technology that creates the simulation, and the simulation is by no means divorced from our abilities to judge it. It is created in the human brain, which serves as an interface with the world surrounding us. As the neuropsychologist Frith (2007: 134-135) puts it: Our brains build models of the world and continuously modify these models on the basis of the signals that reach our senses. So, what we actually perceive are our brain’s models of the world.They are not the world itself, but, for us, they are as good as.You could say that our perceptions are fantasies that coincide with reality. Instead of understanding the role that media play in our lives by turning to theories of the simulacrum, it is much more useful to view reality as a simulation that we each create in our mind and then share with other human beings by communicating. Through our interactions, which are mediated and always processed by our limited human senses, we arrive at a consensus of what the combination of simulated experiences tells us about the real world. This is what allows human beings to develop strategies for dealing with the phenomena they face. These discourses allow societies to create common ap-

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proaches to common problems. While socially created, human discourse nevertheless has very real consequences: societies devise moral codes, create professions for people to enforce these codes, construct buildings to contain those who transgress against them, etc., all on the basis of these shared assumptions (cf. Foucault 1975/1995). It would be missing the point to argue that since members of society only have their brain and their senses to experience the power of discourse they must all be caught in a process of perpetual semiosis that abolishes reality. The human mind does not abolish reality, it simulates it. Similarly, to argue that this process is the novel result of modern mass communication technologies fails to acknowledge that humans have always functioned this way, and that technology is simply a facilitator of such processes. The point is that the human reality simulations that our brains create are extremely accurate in mapping the world – they have to be, otherwise they would be poor evolutionary mechanisms, and would have fallen prey to natural selection long ago. What are we then to make of cases where media are in fact used to create models of the world? If our minds simulate a reality that is itself already the creation of advanced information and communication technologies (ICTs), shouldn’t concerns about mass-media events and their ability to trap us in a simulacrum be valid? These assumptions are based on a misunderstanding of how ICTs can simulate human practices. A simulation is an experience that approximates another experience. It is an analogy. By transferring an experience to a new realm, such a simulation reduces the original experience. It emphasizes certain features while leaving out others, which is in part why simulations are useful. A map that was perfectly coterminous with its territory would be so spectacularly unwieldy that it would stop to function as a map. Mediated experiences like visiting the Shanghai Expo thus never abolish reality. Like any analogy, a simulation prompts our minds to take one input space (e.g. our conception of the international world order) and “blend” the information from that space with a second input space (e.g. our conception of a theme park).19 What emerges is a complex structure of meanings that is more than the sum of its parts, and that has its uses. However, this “blended space” still retains its link to the inputs: subjects are capable of distinguishing between the

The concept of mental blending comes from the work of the cognitive psychologists Fauconnier & Turner (2002). Turner (2001) has applied this concept to a wide range of social, political, and economic phenomena. 19

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blend, i.e. the Shanghai Expo, and its two inputs, i.e. the actual international order and theme parks like Disneyland. What is more, visitors are able to assess the ontological value of each of these units and reflect on their meanings. The Shanghai Expo thus does not fulfill the kind of role that Baudrillard envisions for Disneyland. The extravaganza does not force visitors to accept ideologies outside of the Expo as unequivocally real because their “reality principle” has allegedly been strengthened through exposure to an explicitly artificial spectacle such as a theme park or, in this case, a world fair. Instead, the blended space of the Shanghai Expo allows those who engage with it to entertain a fantasy and to play out various creative impulses, while simultaneously being firmly rooted in the real world. It creates utopian space or “an imaginary enclave within real social space” (Jameson 2005: 15) in which audiences entertain possibilities, no matter how radical (cf. Geuss 2010: 131). In short, despite the constraints that the Shanghai Expo Bureau had set in the interest of the Chinese state, the event nevertheless enabled the designers of the themed pavilions to create highly imaginative science-fiction visions of the future, just as it allowed visitors to enter these visions and creatively explore their possibilities.

Conclusion Throughout this article, I have examined how meanings are generated at a mass-media event like the Shanghai Expo, and have explored how useful analytical frameworks are that explain such events in terms of dominant and counter discourses. At first sight, the Expo seems to indeed contain many aspects of what might be called “hegemonic” discourse. The official Chinese exhibits at the China Pavilion or the provincial pavilions showcase a very narrow story of modernity and national revival that mainly benefits the interests of the Chinese state and the CCP leadership, and that reflect the political communications strategy of the Hu Jintao administration. This official story is reinforced by the many pavilions that cater to Chinese audiences by reiterating this message, and is further strengthened by the overarching international and capitalist narratives that events like world fairs arguably tend to present (cf. Roche 2000). However, identifying such an official discourse is not the same as claiming that it “insists on the singular China’s Future” and that this future “does not welcome contestation” (Nordin 2012a: 246). The various examples from the theme pavilions presented in this paper offer an indication of how diverse the discourse at the Expo actually is. To view the Expo as a monolithic structure that unequivocally establishes one dominant framework of meanings would be a simplification of how mass-mediated discourse works. WWW.ASIASCAPE.ORG

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The multifarious exhibits at the Expo demonstrably contain many discursive statements that function as alternatives to the CCP Party line on display in certain exhibits. What is more, the geographical and architectural set-up of the Shanghai Expo does not negate or sideline these various creative attempts to envision the 21st century. In the end, the ability of this event to maintain such diversity is grounded in the nature of human imagination, and particularly utopian imagination, which is a constant feature of human discourse. As Foucault (1978/1990: 101) has put it: (…) discourse can be both an instrument and an effect of power, but also a hindrance, a stumblingblock, a point of resistance and a starting point for an opposing strategy. Discourse transmits and produces power; it reinforces it, but also undermines and exposes it, renders it fragile and makes it possible to thwart it. In general, studies of mass-media events should be careful not to overstate the power of seemingly hegemonic discourse. Gilbert’s study of the 1904 St. Luis World Fair is instructive in this regard. Reviewing the works of other historians on late Victorian fairs, Gilbert finds fault not only with the “singular importance of world’s fairs as stimulants of ideas and ideology” that these authors assume, but also with the argument “that the visitors understood and absorbed the messages promoted by the fair managers and the anthropologists who worked to design the exhibits” (Gilbert 2009: 60). Instead he stresses the marginal behavior and lived experiences of those who participate in such events, arguing that they “frequently did not see what was intended to be seen, or they misread it, sometimes willfully” (ibid.: 4). Despite Gilbert’s critique of analyses that focus on official messages, he also acknowledges that such analyses have their place in the study of mass events. Teasing out overarching narratives is valuable since it shows with what messages organizers wanted to educate the visitors. It is, however, important to qualify these messages, that is: to see them in their context, and to ask what their possible impact might be. Despite the human capacity to imagine radically different alternatives to such discourses, the mind can still be manipulated, and advanced ICT and modern social systems have arguably made manipulation of our innate faculties more common. The cases that Baudrillard writes about are excellent examples of how this happens (e.g. the First Gulf War, with its manipulative media barrage). However, for those aiming to promote an enterprise in the tradition of critical theory, it seems much more apt to show how such manipulation works, and to assess what power it actually has. Answers to these questions may very well lie at the intersection between political science, visual

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communication analysis, and cognitive science, and scholars from these fields have recently provided valuable inroads into this complex subject matter.20 A theoretical position that regards discourse as monolithic, ubiquitous, and all-powerful confounds any attempt at nuanced analysis, since it assumes that there are no truths behind the official ideologies of the spectacle.21 Such a perspective ignores that ideological statements can be unmasked as self-interested and untrue. The persons making the statements are involved in acts of manipulation, and even in an age of ubiquitous multi-media, the possibility to unveil such moves still remains.22 This is particularly so since ideology is grounded in cognitive processes that follow specific logics, for instance by providing audiences with specific “frames” (Kinder 2003), by prompting them to entertain mental “blends” (Fauconnier & Turner 2002) and “paradigm scenarios” (Carroll 1996: 268), or by evoking emotional patterns through “pathos formulae” (cf. Müller & Kappas 2011: 11). All of these processes are open to analysis, like any other aspect of human life. Future research should follow such lines of enquiry and check to what extent multifarious media events shape political discourse and influence human behavior. This would require detailed empirical content analysis, but also methods of process tracing to show how discourse proliferates through mass media and through social interactions. Ethnographic approaches may offer avenues forward, particularly if they try to empirically explore the networks that make up human interaction (e.g. Latour 2005) and consequently create the infrastructure across which discourse travels. The findings of this analysis at least suggest that such a detailed tracing of communication practices may offer a more nuanced perspective on how diffuse actors negotiate public discourse at a massmedia event than approaches that view discourse solely through the lens of dominance and resistance.

ISSUE 7, JUNE 2013 List of References Australian Dep. of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 2010. Shanghai World Expo 2010 – Australian Pavilion Final Report. www.dfat.gov.au/publications/shanghai-expo-final-report.doc. Accessed 3 June 2013. Barmé, Geremie. 2009. “China’s Flat Earth: History and 8 August 2008.” The China Quarterly 197: 64-86. Baudrillard, Jean. 1983. Simulations. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e). Best, Steven & Kellner, Douglas. 1997. The Postmodern Turn. New York & London: The Guilford Press. Brady, Anne-Marie. 2008. Marketing Dictatorship – Propaganda and Thought Work in Contemporary China. Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield. Brady, Anne-Marie. 2009. “The Beijing Olympics as a Campaign of Mass Distraction.” The China Quarterly 197: 1-24. Bu Hua (卜桦). 2012. Donghua jiu shi liliang (Flash is Power), www.buhua.com. Accessed 11 August 2012. Callahan, William A. 2008. “Chinese Visions of World Order: Post-Hegemonic or a New Hegemony?” International Studies Review 10: 749-761. Callahan, William A. 2012. “Shanghai’s Alternative Futures: The World Expo, Citizen Intellectuals, and China’s New Civil Society.” China Information 26: 251-273. Carroll, Noël. 1996. Theorizing the Moving Image. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Carroll, Noël. 1998. A Philosophy of Mass Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press. China Today. 2010. “Shanghai Expo – Most Awaited Event of 2010.” 59/5, May: 10-30. D’Angelo, Paul & Kuypers, Jim A. (eds.). 2010. Doing News Framing Analysis: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives. New York and Oxford: Routledge.

For a recent study of propaganda effects in China, see Stockmann et al. (2010). Müller & Kappas (2011) provide an overview of studies that examine visuality and emotions, particularly in political domains. 20

Carroll (1998) has criticizes various approaches to media studies that explain the effects of mass-communication in such terms, and Pinker (2002) has similarly attacked such arguments for mistakenly assuming that the mind is a “blank slate” that can be shaped through media exposure. 21

For a defence of the concept of ideology, see Eagleton (1991/2007). Geuss (1981) has offered a dense review of ideology in the Frankfurt School tradition of critical theory. 22

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Damasio, Antonio. 2010. Self Comes to Mind – Constructing the Conscious Brain. London: William Heinemann.

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ASIASCAPE.ORG OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES Minter, Adam. 2010. “China Rules the World at Expo 2010.” The Atlantic, 29 April, www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/04/china-rulesthe-world-at-expo-2010/39566/. Accessed 25 January 2011. Mitchell, Timothy. 1989. “The World as Exhibition.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 31, April: 217-236. Mittag, Achim. 2008. “Historiography.” In Leese, Daniel (ed.): Brill's Encyclopedia of China. Leiden: Brill. Müller, Marion G. & Kappas, Arvid. 2011. “Visual Emotions Emotional Visuals. Emotions, Pathos Formulae, and their Relevance for Communication Research.” In Doveling, Katrin, von Scheve, Christian, & Konijn, Elly A. (eds.): The Routledge Handbook of Emotions and the Mass Media. Oxford: Routledge: 310331. Müller, Marion G. 2003. Grundlagen der visuellen Kommunikation (Basics of Visual Communication). Konstanz: UVK Verlagsgesellschaft mbH. Nordin, Astrid H. M. 2012a. “Space for the Future: Exhibiting China in the World at the Shanghai Expo.” China Information 26: 235-249. Nordin, Astrid H. M. 2012b. “Taking Baudrillard to the Fair: Exhibiting China in the World at the Shanghai Expo.” Alternatives: Global, Local, Political 37: 106-120. Norris, Christopher & Papastephanou, Marianna. 2002. “Deconstruction, Anti-Realism and Philosophy of Science – An Interview with Christopher Norris.” Journal of Philosophy of Education 36/2: 265-289. Norris, Christopher. 1992. Uncritical Theory – Postmodernism, Intellectuals and the Gulf War. London: Lawrence & Wishart. PICNIC. 2011. Herman Kossmann on The Urban Pavilion,World Expo Shanghai. Amsterdam: Lecture at Picnic Festival, 16 September, vimeo.com/31477190. Accessed 11 August 2012.

ISSUE 7, JUNE 2013 Roche, Maurice. 2000. Mega-Events & Modernity – Olympics and Expos in the Growth of Global Culture. London & New York: Routledge. Roche, Maurice. 2003. “Mega-Events, Time and Modernity – On Time Structures in Global Society.” Time & Society 12: 99-126. Schneider, Florian. Forthcoming. “It’s a Small World after all? Simulating the Future World Order at the Shanghai Expo.” In Cao, Qing, Chilton, Paul & Tian, Hailong (eds.): Discourse and Social Transformations in Contemporary China. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Shambaugh, David. 2007. “China’s Propaganda System: Institutions, Process, and Efficacy.” China Journal 57, January: 25-60. Shiboju. 2010. Expo 2010 Shanghai China Online. Shanghai: Bureau of the Shanghai World Expo Coordination, en.expo2010.cn/. Accessed 25 January 2011. Stockmann, Daniela, Esarey, Ashley & Zhang, Jie. 2010. “Advertising Chinese Politics: The Effects of Public Service Announcements in Urban China.” 2010 APSA Political Communication Division Pre-Conference September 2010. Washington DC. Sun, Jian & Ye, Lin. 2010. “Mega-Events, Local Economies, and Global Status: What Happened before the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.” Journal of Current Chinese Affairs 2: 133-165. Sun, Zhijian (ed.). 2009. Zhongguo 2010 nian Shanghai shibohui gailan (General Overview of the World Exposition Shanghai China 2010). Shanghai: Dongfang chuban zhongxin. Tagsold, Christian. 2010. “Modernity, Space and National Representation at the Tokyo Olympics 1964.” Urban History 37/2: 289-300. Triad. 2010. Urban Planet Pavilion Documentary, vimeo.com/40960891. Accessed 11 August 2012.

Pinker, Steven. 2002. The Blank Slate – The Modern Denial of Human Nature. New York et al.: Penguin Books.

Turner, Mark. 2001. Cognitive Dimensions of Social Science – The Way We Think about Politics, Economics, Law, and Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Price, Monroe E. & Dayan, Daniel (eds.). 2008. Owning the Olympics: Narratives of the New China. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Wilson, Sandra. 2012. “Exhibiting a new Japan: the Tokyo Olympics of 1964 and Expo ’70 in Osaka.” History Research 85/227: 159-178.

Richburg, Keith B. 2010. “Shanghai Prepares World’s Fair while Wondering about Costs.” The Washington Post Online, 19 April, www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/18/ AR2010041803376.html. Accessed 25 January 2011.

Xinhua. 2008. Shanghai shibohui Zhongguoguan kaigong zong jianzhu mianji chao 150 wan pingfangmi (Total Construction Area of China Pavilion at Shanghai Expo Exceeds 1.5 Million Square Meters). 28 November, www.gov.cn/jrzg/2008-11/28/content_1163290.htm. Accessed 25 January 2011.

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Xinhua. 2010. Design Stories behind Three Theme Pavilions at Shanghai Expo. 28 April, www.expo2010china.hu/index.phtml?module=hir&ID=1545. Accessed 11 August 2012. Xu, Wei (ed.). 2010. Zhuti guan quan jilü (Full Record of Theme Pavilions). Shanghai: Shanghai shibo bianjibu. Yu,Ying & Liu, Jiangyong. 2011. “A Comparative Analysis of the Olympic Impact in East Asia: from Japan, South Korea to China.” The International Journal of the History of Sport 28/16: 2290-2308. Zhao,Yuezhi, 2008. Communication in China – Political Economy, Power, and Conflict. Lanham & Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield. Zheng, Dasheng. 2010. Shanghai shibohui zhongguoguan zhuti yingpian: Hexie Zhongguo (Shanghai Expo China Pavilion Feature Film: Harmonious China). Sina.com, video.sina.com.cn/p/ent/m/c/2010-05-20/122161011849.html. Accessed 16 January 2011. Zhu, Zhenrong (ed.). 2010. Chengshi fazhan zhong de zhonghua zhihui - Zhongguo 2010 nian Shanghai shibohui Zhongguo guojia guan (Chinese Wisdom in Urban Development – The China Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 in China). Shanghai: Wenhui chubanshe.

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About Asiascape.org Established in September 2007, Asiascape.org is an attempt to build a new international research coalition in the rapidly emerging fields of cyberculture (New Media, Convergence Culture,Video Games and other related media, such as fanculture) and animanga (Anime and Manga), especially as they relate to (or originate from) East Asia. It is well known that a large proportion of this type of media emerges from the East Asian region (Japan, China and Korea), and Asiascape seeks to sponsor and organize research into the importance of these media as a series of transformative, cutting edge, transnational global commodities, and/or as a series of cultural products that reveal much about East Asia itself. There is a scattered (and growing) group of international researchers working in this field and, in addition to conducting its own original research, Asiascape aims to provide a hub for the organization and direction of this rapidly emerging field. With an international advisory board of leading scholars, Asiascape will sponsor a series of ‘state of the field’ conferences and disseminate research using new and old media, including via this website and its associated newsblog, vistas.

Asiascape is based at Leiden University and is funded through the generosity of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), Toshiba International Foundation (TIFO) and the Modern East Asia Research Centre (MEARC).

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About the Author Florian Schneider is Lecturer for the Politics of Modern China at the Leiden University Institute of Area Studies, and author of Visual Political Communication in Popular Chinese Television Series (2012). His research interests include © 2013, Asiascape.org questions of governance and political communication in the PRC, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, political content in Chinese popular culture and digital networks, as well as Chinese foreign policy. Contact details: Dr. Florian Schneider Chinese Department, Leiden University Institute of Area Studies P.O. Box 9515, 2311 RA Leiden The Netherlands Email: f.a.schneider@hum.leidenuniv.nl International Advisory Board: Prof Wendy Hui Kyong Chun (Brown University) Prof Chris Goto-Jones (Leiden University) Dr Mark Harrison (University of Tasmania, Australia) Dr Sharon Kinsella (Manchester University, UK) Prof Tom Lamarre (McGill University, Canada) Prof Stefan Landsberger (Amsterdam University) Dr Angus Lockyer (SOAS, UK) Prof Susan Napier (Tufts University, USA) Prof Ivo Smits (Leiden University, Netherlands)

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Asiascape Ops 7 - The Futurities and Utopias of the Shanghai World Exposition  

Abstract: The Shanghai Expo, hailed by the PRC’s official news media as “the largest ever Expo in history”, was far more than a theme park....

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