This essay supplements a growing body of work on domestic television in China by exploring some histories of the screen outside the home. Rooted in Olympic-era Beijing, this discussion converges around three intermedial contexts: (1) contemporary art and exhibition; (2) nondomestic and unhomely space; (3) contemporary cinema. These disparate assemblages reimagine the space of television and the medium's role as a form of social communication. The primary focus is the intersection of television and the city in articulating the social body in transition. Focusing on artists, audiences, state media, and elided spaces of electronics production, the essay develops the notion of “screen postsocialism” to explore the logic of development in contemporary China. In particular, it argues that the Olympic era consolidates a transitional imaginary around outside television forms. This emphasis on a particular technology of reception, moreover, acts to screen out the broader textures of postsocialist cultural and economic production.

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