Chinese Surplus: Biopolitical Aesthetics and the Medically Commodified Body

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What happens when the body becomes art in the age of biotechnological reproduction? In Chinese Surplus Ari Larissa Heinrich examines transnational Chinese aesthetic production to demonstrate how representations of the medically commodified body can illuminate the effects of biopolitical violence and postcolonialism in contemporary life.

From the earliest appearance of Frankenstein in China to the more recent phenomenon of "cadaver art," he shows how vivid images of a blood transfusion as performance art or a plastinated corpse without its skin—however upsetting to witness—constitute the new "realism" of our times. Adapting Foucauldian biopolitics to better account for race, Heinrich provides a means to theorize the relationship between the development of new medical technologies and the representation of the human body as a site of annexation, extraction, art, and meaning-making.

Author: Ari Larisa Heinrich

Paperback Published March 2018 264 pages

“A compelling account of how the aesthetics of corporeal politics has come to condition the rhetorics and epistemologies of life, realism, existence, authenticity, technology, reproduction, and the body itself, Chinese Surplus will forever change the way we think about the power of visual embodiment in an age of increasing angst over property/propriety rights, technological determinism, and human’s role in their imbricated historical legacy.” — Howard Chiang, Journal of the History of Biology

"Chinese Surplus offers detailed and nuanced analyses of a wide range of discourses and cultural formations. . . . The greatest contribution of Chinese Surplus is that it offers a way of thinking about what it might mean to unlock ['the body as an archive'], and the Pandora’s box that it represents." — Carlos Rojas, China Information

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