Radical Machines: Chinese in the Information Age

January 21-April 16 2017

The San Diego Chinese Historical Museum will launch the international debut of Radical Machines: Chinese in the Information Age, which explores the seemingly impossible, yet technologically crucial Chinese typewriter – a machine that inputs a language with no alphabet, yet has more than 70,000 characters. The exhibition, curated by award-winning Stanford historian Dr. Tom Mullaney, will be at the Dr. Sun-Yat Sen Memorial Extension building at SDCHM from January 21 – April 16, 2017. 

The exhibit is composed of Dr. Mullaney’s personal collection, which is the largest Chinese and Pan-Asian typewriter and I.T. collection in the world and will highlight artifacts and materials from the fields of printing, telegraphy, typewriting and computing in China, Japan and Korea, the first of its kind.

SDCHM exhibit viewers can explore the intricate design, technology and art of Chinese writing in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries through:

• A pair of rare Chinese and Japanese typewriters
• A rare 1980’s era Chinese word processor/computer
• A curated selection from the world’s largest collection of Chinese telegraph code books (from the 1910’s through the 1980’s)
• A curated compilation of vivid historic photographs and ephemera from the world of Chinese and East Asian I.T.
• History film footage and interactive computer displays

Propaganda poster of Chinese typist, painted by Zhou Daowu [周道悟], 1956 People’s Republic of China

Painting of Chinese Typist with Double Pigeon-brand Chinese Typewriter, 1950s-era, People’s Republic of China

Double Pigeon-brand Chinese Typewriter. Photo by Dr. Thomas S. Mullaney

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