The making of Gòng/ Kyō–visual archive and the common in contemporary East Asia

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This study will take two cases from East Asia to illustrate how visual archive/archiving has become or potentially becomes new space where image, heterogeneous temporalities and ideas of the common may lead to a redefinition or at least reconsideration of the binaries between public and private, between image and visual, between past and future. In contrast to historical archives, such visual archives not only aim for documentation and conservation but also become the sites of creating agencies and provoking critical reflections on the idea of the public. The first case is “Center for Remembering 3.11”1 initiated by Sendai Mediatheque (SMT), where civic participation and the archiving of the post-311 Tohoku Earthquake images of the disaster-ridden region were solicited and made into an online archive. The second case is, a digital archive initiated by Taiwanese activist and scholar Huang Sun-quan, who works in collaboration with students, artists, and researchers from Mainland China and Taiwan in sorting, interviewing, and editing videos and texts about alternative cultural activities and space in Asia. While discussions on the archive and the public discourse are predominated by theories from Europe and the US, the current study intends to contextualize the concepts of “the public” (gōng/ōyake), “the private” (sī/watakushi), and “the common” (gòng/ kyō) in Chinese and Japanese languages in the discourse of archive in cultural specificity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-448
Number of pages18
JournalInter-Asia Cultural Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2018


  • Mizoguchi Yūzō
  • multitude
  • public and private
  • Sendai Mediatheque
  • Visual archive in East Asia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies


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