Taking as its point of departure the unresolved problematic of ethics in poststructuralist theory, this essay approaches ethics from the perspective of mediated visuality in contemporary cultural politics. Noting how the sensitivity to otherness—be it in the form of mass culture, gender, or race—has often been accompanied by iconophobia, a fundamental distrust and rejection of images, the author offers an analysis of the contemporary Chinese film Happy Times, directed by Zhang Yimou, as an instance of a kind of ethical film practice in which a responsible, noniconophobic thinking about visuality and its implications may be traced. In a culture caught between the forces of globalization and its own attempts at modernization, such as contemporary China's, Zhang's work contributes to an ethics of what may be called postvisuality.
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Rey Chow; Toward an Ethics of Postvisuality: Some Thoughts on the Recent Work of Zhang Yimou. Poetics Today 1 December 2004; 25 (4): 673–688. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-25-4-673
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