Film watching assignment

  1. Reflect on the research methods you see in the film: Which aspects of the Met’s fashion exhibition “China Through the Looking Glass” were researched? Which research methods and techniques were used for each aspect of the exhibition? Do you think the research was effective? Why or why not?
A lot of time and effort went into researching China Through the Looking Glass, even down to the lighting. I thought it was a good idea for them to have a person from that culture on board with the whole project. Wong Kar Wai advised them against putting Mao into the room with buddhas. Also, a lot of research went into collections that had to do with Chinese culture. They put Chinese designers into the show which I thought was appropriate for obvious reasons. I also like how they interviewed JPG. It was really cool seeing him actually see the pieces that they were going to have in the show because he hasn’t seen them in a while. I thought the research was very effective considering the turn around of the whole exhibition. It was a huge success. Also the research that went into seating celebrities was mind-blowing. I couldn’t imagine having a job where your in charge of that.
  1. An important theme in the film is the wish to avoid cultural appropriation and the desire to be respectful of ancient Chinese art and design. Do you think that the curators were able to avoid cultural appropriation and present an in-depth understanding of the topic? Why or why not? How did they do so?
I do think that the curators did an outstanding job of diving into Chinese art and design. If you are going to make an exhibition of this magnitude you better know your history. They did everything in their power to research the Chinese culture, and even went to the country to do more research and interviews. There was a point in the movie where they are showing dragon heads in the entrance. Someone says it’s too cliche and they change it. I think it’s stuff like that that tells the viewer that they consider being sensitive to the culture at hand.
  1. Write 5 research questions that you think the film is exploring. questions that start with “why” or “how”, questions that don’t have a yes/no answer).
How can we demonstrate Chinese culture without being offensive?
How has Chinese culture been appropriated before?
How can we avoid cultural appropriation?
Why has the Chinese culture been stereotyped as antique?
Why are certain objects or images offensive to the Chinese culture?

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