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In Chinese Weave, Regine Steenbock relies on the language of fashion, not knowing the Chinese language fabric. Astonished, alienated, overwhelmed, she stands in the midst of “Globalization” and “One World” invocations of a radically alien world whose codes are opaque to both her and us.
We encounter a bizarre mixture of high-tech and local ethnicity. On the one hand, globalization has produced lookalikes: young people who differ little from their counterparts in, say, Michigan or Bielefeld. And they can slip from their traditional clothes into modern clothes in a flexible manner. On the other hand, the “mysterious customs” of the “minorities” dressed in traditional costumes serve as entertaining accessories for the Chinese tourists of the affluent upper and middle classes for an ultra kitschy folklore theater. But: Sometimes the Miao embroidery is so elaborate that Hermès (China) sponsors it.