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MIT Press
15 October 2017
Theory of art; Popular philosophy
Tracing the thread of decreation in Chinese thought, from constantly changing classical masterpieces to fake cell phones that are better than the original.

Shanzhai is a Chinese neologism that means fake, originally coined to describe knock-off cell phones marketed under such names as Nokir and Samsing. These cell phones were not crude forgeries but multifunctional, stylish, and as good as or better than the originals. Shanzhai has since spread into other parts of Chinese life, with shanzhai books, shanzhai politicians, shanzhai stars. There is a shanzhai Harry Potter: Harry Potter and the Porcelain Doll, in which Harry takes on his nemesis Yandomort. In the West, this would be seen as piracy, or even desecration, but in Chinese culture, originals are continually transformed-deconstructed. In this volume in the Untimely Meditations series, Byung-Chul Han traces the thread of deconstruction, or decreation, in Chinese thought, from ancient masterpieces that invite inscription and transcription to Maoism- a kind a shanzhai Marxism, Han writes.

Han discusses the Chinese concepts of quan, or law, which literally means the weight that slides back and forth on a scale, radically different from Western notions of absoluteness; zhen ji, or original, determined not by an act of creation but by unending process; xian zhan, or seals of leisure, affixed by collectors and part of the picture's composition; fuzhi, or copy, a replica of equal value to the original; and shanzhai. The Far East, Han writes, is not familiar with such pre-deconstructive factors as original or identity. Far Eastern thought begins with deconstruction.
By:   Byung-Chul Han (Professor Universitat der Kunste Berlin)
Translated by:   Philippa Hurd (Translator (French and German to English))
Imprint:   MIT Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 178mm,  Width: 114mm,  Spine: 6mm
ISBN:   9780262534369
ISBN 10:   0262534363
Series:   Untimely Meditations
Pages:   104
Publication Date:   15 October 2017
Recommended Age:   From 18 years
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Unspecified

Byung-Chul Han, born in Seoul, is Professor of Philosophy and Cultural Studies at the Universitat der Kunste Berlin (UdK). One of the most widely read philosophers in Europe, he is the author of more than twenty books, includingincluding four previous volumes in the MIT Press Untimely Meditations series, In the Swarm: Digital Prospects, The Agony of Eros, Shanzhai: Deconstruction in Chinese, and Topology of Violence.

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