In 21st-century China, “being political” can mean many things, particularly as discourses on the global economy, environmental pollution, consumerism, sensual perceptions and gender politics become increasingly concrete at local levels. Contemporary Chinese sound artists go beyond the mere use of the language of propaganda and instead make works that play different sociopolitical roles—heroic, observant or participatory—to address sociocultural, sensual and spiritual issues. The author shows that the political statement made by a sound work in China depends to a great degree on the sociopolitical contexts in which the work is exhibited and performed, as well as the sociopolitical identity of its creator.

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