Podcast Crossover: Time To Say Goodbye on ‘Ascension’, a documentary about Chinese consumerism and labor force

Hello from our summer hiatus! While we’re away, the pod squad is thrilled to share episodes from podcasts we love and admire. This week, we have an episode from Time To Say Goodbye, a podcast about Asia, the Asian diaspora, politics, and international solidarity. Thank you to hosts E. Tammy Kim, Jay Caspian Kang, and (formerly) Andy Liu for letting us cross post this episode.

Kudos to our podcast co-host Cindy Gao, for introducing this cross post and briefly emerging from dissertation work. Thank you Cindy!

(Description below courtesy of TTSG. Episode was originally aired on February 1, 2022.)

“This week Andy talks with the director (Jessica Kingdon) and producer (Kira Simon-Kennedy) of the new film Ascension, a documentary about working life in contemporary China. Ascension has received critical acclaim and garnered major awards and nominations, including being shortlisted for the Academy Awards!

The film features scenes of quotidian working life in a period when the government has begun to promote the “Chinese Dream,” spanning textile and sex doll factories to etiquette school and social media influencers all the way to luxurious water parks and tropical vacation resorts. Together, these scenes raise provocative questions about China’s blindingly rapid development, the uneven pace of upward mobility, and whether China is an exotic outlier or a recognizably modern society, comparable with life in the US and other societies worldwide (all to music by Dan Deacon).”

Show notes:

Time To Say Goodbye episodes

Ascension website

Ascension Linktree

An interview with the director of Ascension, Jessica Kingdon (The Daily Show)

A personal essay about Jessica Kingdon reconnecting with her family in Mainland China while making her documentary (Talkhouse)