[New York, NY] September 19, 2018 — The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA)’s Fall 2018 exhibition Radical Machines: Chinese in the Information Age - on view starting October 18, 2018 to March 24, 2019 - explores the historical significance and technological innovation behind the Chinese typewriter, and the role it played in the survival of the Chinese language into the information age. Drawing from archives and collections across 15 countries, the exhibition will feature typewriters and word processors built throughout the past century from San Francisco’s Chinatown to Shanghai including previously un-exhibited typewriters from MOCA’s Collections.


Radical Machines: Chinese in the Information Age examines the seemingly impossible Chinese typewriter – a machine that inputs a language with no alphabet, yet has more than 70,000 characters. For centuries, written Chinese has presented fascinating puzzles for engineers, linguists, and entrepreneurs. 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 exhibition, which originated at Stanford University, is curated by Dr. Tom Mullaney, Stanford historian, and comprises items from his personal collection, which is the largest Chinese and Pan-Asian typewriter and I.T. collection in the world. MOCA’s presentation of Radical Machines will be the exhibition’s first appearance on the East Coast.
The exhibition previously traveled to the San Diego Chinese History Museum and SFO Museum in San Francisco.


Through the display of rare typewriters and computers — and an array of historic photographs, telegraph code books, typing manuals, ephemera, propaganda posters, and more — visitors to MOCA will gain unprecedented insight into the still-transforming history of the world’s oldest living language. Objects from MOCA’s Collections that will be exhibited include the oldest known Chinese typewriter in the western hemisphere, typewriter slugs, a movable type cabinet, advertising stamps for newspapers, and Chinese American newspapers.


“MOCA is proud to exhibit Radical Machines: Chinese in the Information Age,” said Nancy Yao Maasbach, President of the Museum of Chinese in America. “This exhibition enables us to combine the depth of our own collection of Chinese typewriter-related artifacts with the largest modern Chinese information-technology collection in the world to 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 that is the Chinese typewriter.”


“The machines and artifacts on display are in many ways quintessentially Chinese-American,” said Dr. Mullaney. “They were the culmination of cross-cultural exchange between Chinese students studying at American institutions, like NYU; Chinese inventors partnering with American corporations, like IBM; American inventors of non-Chinese descent thinking about the Chinese script; and the pioneering work of Chinese-American linguists and technologists.”


About the Curator
Thomas S. Mullaney is Associate Professor of Chinese History at Stanford University. He is the author of The Chinese Typewriter: A History and Coming to Terms with the Nation: Ethnic Classification in Modern China. His writings have appeared in the Journal of Asian Studies, Technology & Culture, Aeon, Foreign Affairs, and Foreign Policy, and his work has been featured in the LA Times, The Atlantic, the BBC, and in invited lectures at Google, Microsoft, Adobe, and more. He holds a PhD from Columbia University.

Additional Programs
During the run of the exhibition, MOCA will offer a series of related events, public programs, family programs, walking tours and gallery tours.


For updates on upcoming related programs, visit MOCA’s website at, follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @mocanyc, and on Facebook at


For photos of the exhibition and from the VIP Reception, visit the following link:

Radical Machines: Chinese in the Information Age and related programs are made possible with the generous support of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.


About Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA)
The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) aims to engage audiences in an ongoing and historical dialogue, in which people of all backgrounds are able to see American history through a critical perspective, to reflect on their own experiences, and to make meaningful connections between: the past and the present, the global and the local, themselves and others.


Monday – Closed
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursday – 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
MOCA Free First Thursdays: Free gallery admission on the first Thursday of each month, made possible through the generosity of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and J.T. Tai & Co. Foundation.


General Admission: $10
Seniors (65+ with ID) and Students (with school ID): $7
Children under 2 years old: Free
MOCA Members: Free