Joe Yizhou Xu deposited The postmodern aesthetic of Chinese online comment cultures on Humanities Commons 2 years, 8 months ago
The traditional configuration of content on top and comments on the bottom on most websites often dismiss comments as of secondary importance to content. This article looks at how comment culture(s) in China operate outside of the top-bottom dichotomy where comments are increasingly supplanting content as the main form of consumable media. Through case studies of two types of Chinese comment cultures—gailou culture and danmu culture—I explore how user-generated comments can work to subvert established hierarchies in a highly visible and public manner. I invoke traditional Chinese aesthetic perspectives to visualize the multiple layers of interactions that enable the reconfiguration of the temporal/spatial order contesting the unitary narrative. In doing so, I seek to shed light on not only these distinct modes of commenting practices but also the creation of a new aesthetic of consumption that is inseparable from the formation of the Chinese postmodern subjectivity.