Network Unavailable

Platform, Performativity, and Everyday Life Decision-Making Processes in Contemporary Chinese Network Culture


  • Wing Ki Lee



Network Culture, China, Great Firewall, Net Art, Hong Kong 2019 Protest


This paper problematizes assumptions of global all-pervading ‘available’ network culture by examining ‘network unavailability’ phenomenon in contemporary Chinese network culture through a post-colonial critique. The central argument of ‘network unavailable’ in China is contextualized by the performativity of the Great Firewall and the Golden Shield Project, Chinese media artist Fei Jun’s net art project Interesting World (2019) in the Venice Biennale and network happenings during the 2019 Anti-extradition Law Amendment Bill protests in Hong Kong. Through these examples the author argues that network culture in China is political and geopolitical and the discussion of networks should go beyond mere structuralism and emphasize the everyday life, tactical, and microscopic decision-making process.