Figuration: Writing, Memory, and Cities in Chinese Culture 
Shiqiao Li

This chapter argues that the Chinese language has a distinct impact on how memory and cities are produced in the Chinese cultural context, but this is rarely understood in normative architectural discourse. Retrofitting a Western notion of architecture onto Chinese cities leaves a significant portion of Chinese architecture out of our knowledge and misunderstands its poetic center. Through an elaboration of the primary importance of writing, a unique strategy of memory associated with writing, and how this "figuration" process of the biophysical world imposes a regime of occupation resulting in beauty and violence, this chapter explores what it would be like if architecture is intertwined with what may be described as a Chinese language-thought.

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