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Techno-Orientalism and Contemporary Art in Posthuman Era: Pierre Huyghe's Untitled, Human Mask

  • Journal of History of Modern Art
  • 2020, (48), pp.243-271
  • DOI : 10.17057/kahoma.2020..48.009
  • Publisher : 현대미술사학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Art > Arts in general > Art History
  • Received : November 1, 2020
  • Accepted : November 27, 2020
  • Published : December 31, 2020

Jaeeun Lee 1

1가천대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper examines the aspects of Pierre Huyghe’s appropriation of technoorientalism based on Untitled, Human Mask (2014) from a posthuman subject’s perspective. After watching a YouTube clip in which two macaques wearing clown-like masks and wigs deliver drinks and wet towels in a traditional sake house in the north of Tokyo, Pierre Huyghe made a film that combines images of a post-apocalyptic world with a monkey wearing a traditional ‘Onna-men’ Noh mask. As such his film appropriated the techno-orientalism which devalues the high-tech of Japan. In cyberpunk fictions or SF films of the 1980s, Japanese cities are depicted as dystopian and the Japanese as unfeeling aliens. So is Huyghe’s film a critical look at Japan that led to post-apocalypse? Or is it a critical look at techno-orientalism which has portrayed the West as a bystander at the end of mankind? This paper analyzes how Pierre Huyghe’s film creates the moment of emergence of a post-human subject that can cross beyond the racist gaze of techno-orientalism established by white, Western men.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.