Between Iconic Image and (Artificial) Ruins: Shanghai Sihang Warehouse and World War II Memory in China

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Abstract

Opened in 2015, the Sihang Warehouse Memorial Museum is an architectural relic of the fierce and famous ‘Defense of Sihang Warehouse’ that took place in the 1937 Battle of Shanghai during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Regarding the warehouse as a national war icon lost and found, the author examines the transformations of the symbolic meanings of the warehouse per se and how it has been represented visually in photography and film in relation to the vicissitudes of history. As the spatial history of the warehouse shows, the warehouse was forgotten for a long time. With the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, its memory was revived, but as an artificial recreation that remains silent about the ruptures under the surface of historical continuity. The case shows how the meaning of commemorative space for modern and contemporary Chinese war memory has been constructed, deconstructed and reconstructed visually and physically.
Original languageEnglish
JournalVisual Communication
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2021

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