Artist Films

29th May - 12th June 2021

This short film programme will be launched by an online Watch Party on 29 May at 7.30pm, hosted by Whiskey Chow and Anne Duffau. 8 works (duration approx. 120 minutes incl. 10-15 mins Live introduction). Artists include Lu Yang, Yau Ching, Mathis Zhang, Su Hui-Yu, Ming Wong & Yu Cheng-Ta, April Lin, Yarli Allison.

About

*** Artist Films can be viewed with a £5 donation or for FREE ***

This programme of 8 selected works by 8 Sino diasporic, queer and cross-generational artists is curated by queer Asian artist Whiskey Chow. It explores displacement, death and in-betweenness, and shows their different approaches to self-empowerment and explorations into a sense (or no sense) of belonging.

All share International background and diasporic experience, and offer an opportunity for us to reflect on: when living in the west what is one’s relationship with Chinese cultural heritage, what does privileged international mobility bring, and what alternative futures are made possible when they as beings sit outside the social norm in the East.

Each hold the status of being in-between, and their work raises interesting questions about identity from a historical, social, cultural, and political perspective. They confront cultural taboo, they play with stereotype and claim back the gaze, they visualize the non-binary identity by mastering their digital body, they create their own narrative and agency for placing memories, death and themselves. They can be the ghost, they can be the god(dess), they are going back into ancient Chinese myth, and they are going forward to the imaginary future. For them, time travelling is a way to create their own queer reality, escaping and going beyond the ‘here’ and ‘now’.

From othered digitalized body to othered live body; from Western pop culture to Chinese historical dramas; from New York, London, Paris, Berlin, to Shanghai, Taipei, Hong Kong; from their apartment to your computer screen. Welcome to the journey to a Sino Queer Planet with Whiskey Chow!



Is There Anything Specific You Want Me To Tell You About?

你有什麼特別的要我告訴你?

Yau Ching (游靜) / 1991 / 12min / English / Chinese Subtitles

Loosely structured as a letter home, a “writer” explicates the longings, nostalgia and regrets that exile, even voluntary exile, produces. B. Ruby Rich, writing in The Village Voice, states, “A subtle answer to travelogue mentalities… turns the tables on the tourists in their native land and reflects on the strangeness of the self, the other, and even its own attempt to communicate between cultures.”



I’m Starving

我餓

Yau Ching (游靜) / 1999 / 12 min / English / Chinese Subtitles

I’m Starving is an erotic love tale between a ghost and a woman who share a small apartment in New York’s Chinatown. The ghost who eats paper money and Chinese takeout menus contrasts starkly with the woman who thrives on instant ramen noodles; both, haunted by their landlord, decide eventually to invent a future together.



OHYUNG: now i close my eyes the world i see is so beautiful

April Lin (林森) / 2020 / 3 mins 45 sec / Cantonese & Mandarin / English and Chinese Subtitles

“now i close my eyes the world i see is so beautiful” samples lines from the Taiwanese New Wave film Yi Yi, and those borrowed words, those intergenerational whisperings in Chinese dialect, had me pondering at how ancestors and descendants create bridges — across time, and if you’re diasporic, across global space. These bridges feel all too easily invisible to me, but what would it look like if we were strolling on them? What if we jumped off? Would we create another bridge, or open up a new dimension?



In Virtual Return You (Can’t) Dehaunt

於虛擬的彼岸 迴魂(不)散

Yarli Alison (林雅莉) / 2021 / 24 mins 18 sec / Cantonese & English / English and Chinese Subtitles

In Virtual Return You (can’t) Dehaunt is a multi-channel moving-image work by Yarli Allison. It traces the real life stories of four queer Hong Kong (trans)migrants by reconstructing their nostalgic homes in virtual reality (VR), that draws attention to diasporic narratives and cultural archives through the process of cognitively metaphorical ‘returns’.



Uterus Man

子宮戰士

Lu Yang (陸揚) / 2013 / 11 mins 20 sec / English and Chinese Subtitles

Uterus Man is a sort of superhero; in Lu Yang’s words, ‘The shape of the female uterus resembles the outline of a person standing straight with her arms open wide.’ In the design of Uterus Man, the body armour and other elements correspond to parts of the uterus. They are a superhero with special powers and appears to be a man, but the source of these powers is part of the uniquely female reproductive system. This contradiction makes Uterus Man asexual.

He has a variety of unique kill moves, some of which have to do with genes and genetic attributes. He can convert enemies into a weaker species, infect them with genetic diseases and change their gender.



Dreams, Butterfly Boy Dreams (Genesis)

Mathis Zhang (張杭) / 2019 / 7 mins / Chinese (Mandarin) and English / English

Dreams, Butterfly Boy Dreams is a journey of identity exploration. It is a dream about gender fluidity and non-binary thinking. Mathis discovers their gender identity throughout their cultural backgrounds and cross-culture life experiences, using diverse resources, ancient stories, philosophy with subversive interpretation to develop their own God in their deep soul. It is moral support, a provocation and a personal protestation for LGBTQ+ community rights in contemporary oriental cultural and political environments.

 



The Glamorous Boys of Tang

唐朝綺麗男

Su Hui-Yu (蘇匯宇) / 2018/ 14 mins 55 sec

(Content Warning: The following video contains material of nudity, blood and violence that may be uncomfortable or traumatizing to some audiences)

In 1985, two years before the end of Taiwan’s martial law period, the renowned poet and screenwriter Chui Kang-Chien’s (邱剛健) Tang Chao Chi Li Nan was first screened in Taiwan. The film is a homoerotic fantasy, and was therefore not well received due to the conservative atmosphere at the time. The film’s first scene is an inexplicable exorcism ceremony which includes dancing. Next, two pretty boys appear, and when their eyes meet, the scene is suffused with their mutual fascination. The plot also includes disturbing killings, death, and orgies accompanied by dissonant sound effects made with a synthesizer, bizarre and gaudy set design, and ill considered costumes. The combined effect is something like a cult film. Comparing the film to the script held in the Taiwan Film Institute archives, it is obvious that the film has been heavily edited or many sequences could not be depicted in detail. Perhaps the filmmakers could not fully present the radicalism and passion of the screenplay due to budget restrictions, censorship, or marketing concerns. More than thirty years later, with new funding and film technology, Su Huiyu has re-created the film to call together the differently gendered bodies and subcultures of Taiwan’s diverse society.



Watermelon Love

Yu Cheng-Ta and Ming Wong (余政達 & 黃漢明) / 2017/ 10 mins 22 sec/ Chinese (Mandarin) / Chinese and English Subtitles

Singapore artist Ming Wong and Taiwanese artist Yu Cheng – Ta started a collaboration in 2017 by portraying their alter egos the Watermelon Sisters 西瓜姐妹 – gender-fluid butch/femme ghetto spiritual sistas who want to help humankind to ‘twerk’ their way to sexual freedom.
Inspired by Chinese Opera cinema and the films of Tsai Ming Liang, this video commemorated the first major survey of LGBTQ – themed art in Asia (“Spectrosynthesis – Asian LGBTQ Issues and Art Now”, co – presented by Sunpride Foundation and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei in 2017) and to celebrate Taiwan’s high court ruling approving same – sex marriage.

 

Details

April Lin 林森

April Lin 林森

April Lin (b. 1996, Stockholm, they/them) is an artist-filmmaker investigating image-making as a site for the construction, sustenance, and dissemination of co-existent yet conflicting truths. They explore the potentials that the moving image holds for the past, present, and future. The video is also used as a self-reflexive and cathartic tool: uniting their genre-fluid body of work is a commitment to centring oppressed knowledges, building an ethics of collaboration around reciprocal care, and exploring the linkages between history, memory, and interpersonal and structural trauma. Their films have been screened at, amongst others, the V&A Museum, British Museum, Royal Art Institute of Sweden, and HOME Manchester. (Image credit: Ezekiel)

Mathis Zhang

Mathis Zhang

Mathis graduated from the Contemporary Art Practice: Moving Image Program in the Royal College of Art in 2019. Their work exploring their identities, non-binary thinking and gender fluidity under contemporary context. They express thoughts and sentiment by filmmaking and performing. Works are inspired by their cultural backgrounds and cross-culture life experiences, using diverse resources, ancient stories and philosophies with (gentle) subversive interpretation. (Image credit: Courtesy of the Artist)

Cheng-Ta Yu & Ming Wong (Watermelon Sisters)

Cheng-Ta Yu & Ming Wong (Watermelon Sisters)

Ming Wong and Yu Cheng-Ta are The Watermelon Sisters. Ming Wong lives and works in Berlin, while Yu Cheng-Ta currently works and lives in Taipei. They propose to explore the space between virtual and real performance avatars, based on footage found from the Internet ‘Mème’. Participants will think about forming their ‘avatar’ based on found footage from the Internet such as viral videos, cat videos and games footage; by casting themselves into the video reference and by re-interpreting the source as a choreographic and theatrical exercise, variation, repetition and extension are introduced. Both of their works have been exhibited worldwide and have won multiple awards, including a prize at the 53rd Venice Biennale for Life of Imitation, and the Beacon Prize at Art Fair Tokyo in 2012. (Image credit: Courtesy of the Artists)

Lu Yang

Lu Yang

Lu Yang (b. Shanghai, China) is a multi-media artist based in Shanghai. Mortality, androgyny, hysteria, existentialism and spiritual neurology feed Lu’s jarring and at times morbid fantasies. He also takes inspiration from anime, gaming and Sci-fi subcultures, exploring his fantasies through mediums like 3D animation, immersive video game installations, Holographics, live performances, virtual reality, and computer programming. Lu has collaborated with scientists, psychologists, performers, designers, experimental composers, Pop Music producers, robotics labs, and celebrities throughout his practice. Lu has held exhibitions in Beijing, Japan, Europe, and the USA, and was also the 8th BMW Art Journey winner. He is currently working on the Yang Digital Incarnation project. (Image credit: Courtesy of the Artist)

Su Hui-Yu

Su Hui-Yu

Su obtained an MFA from Taipei National University of the Arts in 2003 and has remained active in the contemporary art scene ever since. The Taiwanese artist’s works are about exploring the connection between mass media, pop culture, memories of martial law, and the post-colonial history of Taiwan and East Asia. (Image credit: Courtesy of the artist)

Yarli Allison

Yarli Allison

Yarli Allison (b.Hong Kong-Canadian, UK-based) is a multidisciplinary artist whose work traverses sculpture, performance, digital, film, drawing, and installation, Yarli’s virtual reality generated work references her early age refuge-seeking experiences with ‘digital gamification’ in cyberspace. They pose questions on sculpture’s physicality, mobility, and its preservation in the post-human and dematerialised conditions to come. She leaves strong raw-handcrafted traces in her work, emphasising accidents caused by human errors in the making. Upcoming shows include Decriminalize Futures at ICA, London (2021), Research Residency at CFCCA, Manchester, and FACT Liverpool (curated by Annie Jael Kwan, 2021). (Image credit: Courtesy of the artist)

Yau Ching (游靜)

Yau Ching (游靜)

Yau Ching (b. Hong Kong) is a writer, poet, filmmaker and video artist who has been making socially engaged work for more than three decades. She has authored award-winning poetry collections, produced and directed more than ten films/videos, and her work has been showcased around the world. She is also actively involved in the Hong Kong community, organizing and co-founding an educational organization for sexual minorities, co-founding Sex Workers’ Film Festival and Women’s Theatre Festival, and the Asian Lesbian Film Festival in Taiwan. Currently, she is Honorary Professor in Humanities at HKU and Adjunct Professor at Center for China Studies at CUHK. (Image credit: Lam Chuntung)

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