Worms in the Anthropocene: The Multispecies World in Xu Bing’s Silkworm Series

  • Kiu-wai Chu
Part of the Chinese Literature and Culture in the World book series (CLCW)


With growing concerns for environmental well-being and non-human welfare in today’s world, the several century-long practices of silk production in China have increasingly been deemed unethical. Highlighting the paradigmatic shift, this chapter focuses on Xu Bing’s Silkworm Series and other art installations that use living insects to examine how contemporary Chinese art represents miniatures of the multispecies world in the Anthropocene epoch. The chapter juxtaposes two different approaches in recent environmental humanities—Multispecies studies and Anthropocene criticism—to magnify tensions and interdependence between human and non-human agencies, and make us rethink the grounds in which Chinese culture and human civilization are built upon, as well as how we should adjust our beliefs toward a more ecological life.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kiu-wai Chu
    • 1
  1. 1.School of HumanitiesNanyang Technological UniversityJurong WestSingapore

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