A unique exhibition of Chinese typewriters will kick off on Oct. 18 in New York City, the show's debut on the U.S. East Coast.
The exhibition, "Radical Machines: Chinese in the Information Age", comprises items from Stanford University historian Tom Mullaney's personal collection, which is the largest Chinese typewriter and I.T. collection in the world and some previously un-exhibited typewriters from the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA)'s collections.
For centuries, written Chinese had presented fascinating puzzles for engineers, linguists and entrepreneurs. A Chinese typewriter, which inputs a language with no alphabet, and with more than 70,000 characters, had long been regarded as technologically impossible, according to experts. With help from the global community, China solved these puzzles, and Chinese became one of the world's most successful languages in the information age.
"The machines and artifacts on display are in many ways quintessentially Chinese-American," said Mullaney, adding that they were the pioneering work of Chinese-American linguists and technologists.
Hosted by the MOCA from Oct. 18, 2018 to March 24, 2019, the exhibits will explore the design, technology, and art of Chinese characters in the information age.
"The show will tell the untold story of how the best minds came together in the spirit of Chinese-American cross-cultural exchange to solve the linguistic and engineering puzzle," said Nancy Yao Maasbach, president of the MOCA.
Organizers also expect the show will help visitors gain unprecedented insight into the still-transforming history of the world's oldest living language.