I randomly encountered Christina Xu while she was on her annual field work trip to China last November, and we’ve been fast wangyou (网友, “internet friends”) ever since. Xu works between ethnography, media production and consulting, and looks at how technology mediates or shapes “social rituals” and underground culture in China. She was born in Fuzhou on the southern coast, but grew up in the US, and is thus a “1.5th generation” Chinese American. She applies her bicultural lens of investigation to many areas I find interesting, such as underground music, street fashion, Chinese internet culture, and the kind of cyberpunk low-tech/high-tech mashups one finds more and more in China these days.
I caught Christina on her current field trip to China, and we talked about internet worlds, “systems of mutual influence,” and how accessing China at the level of underground culture can feel like “skating along a parallel dimension.” Listen to our conversation by clicking the the tiny play button under the image up top (ripped from Christina’s latest project, Magpie Digest), or via Soundcloud below (VPN on).
Opening/closing track: anigif – “Mortal Kombat Rekix”
Thanks to Daniel Rothwell/Loreli for loaning the gear to record this podcast