Chinese is Not a Language! John Hansen intervenes
Though Zou Zhao’s parents are of Hu Bei origins, she migrated with her family to Singapore when she was six years old. Thus her recent interest in language can be said to be a direct result of her lived experience as a member of the Chinese diaspora in various cities. Taking her departure from a specific interest in the gap between English and Mandarin, her various works examine the role of the English language in the neo-colonial distribution of knowledge today. Under the globalized regime of signs, Zou Zhao recognises that an indeterminate diasporic identity suffices to testify against any claim to a language’s transparency, given that a contemporary subjectivity must be understood as produced by “translation”. Her works up to now have taken the form of video, performance and writing, and have examined the colonial legacy through the materiality of the voice. In her performances and video works, Zou Zhao takes the voice as a metonymy for the body, so as to raise questions surrounding identities and the perceived notion of “autonomy” within language.