Chinese Arts Now
Queering Now short films curated by Whiskey Chow and Sha Li.
- Thursday 25 February - Thursday 11 March 2021
- Free event
- Entertainment | Indoor
Chinese Arts Now’s Queering Now film programme amplifies marginalised voices of Chinese queer culture. Curated by artists Whiskey Chow and Sha Li, the films explore multi-layered Chinese identities which are not often portrayed and consider their relationship with a wider Chinese cultural heritage.
Queering Now 酷兒鬧 was launched in 2020 and lead-curated by artist Whiskey Chow as part of the Chinese Arts Now Festival in London. Queering Now is a curatorial programme that amplifies the marginalized voices of Sino / Asian queer diaspora in a multiplicity of social contexts beyond specific nationality and political borders.
The aim was to interrogate and investigate the notion of ‘Chinese’ and ‘Chinese Queer’ by bringing together multi-layered identities and artists from diverse backgrounds to reflect different approaches in relation to the cultural heritage of queer diaspora.
This programme features artist Wang Haiyang’s signature sensory and surreal stop-motion animations, filmmaker and queer activist Fan Popo’s short film “Beer! Beer!”, artist and film director Andrew Thomas Huang’s lush and captivating short film about an ordinary restaurant worker’s extraordinary sexual awakening, followed by artist April Lin and Jasmine Lin’s work, a refreshing queer love story: ‘Reality Fragment 160921’ where they merge in both physical and digital worlds.
Queering Now has been made possible through the support of Arts Council England and Live Art UK. Queering Now is planned to take place again digitally at Chinese Arts Now Festival 2021.
Thanks to the invitation from Warwick Arts Centre, this programme is exclusively shared with students and staff at the University of Warwick.
You can watch the films any time between 25 February to 11 March 2021, from the comfort of your home. Organise a watch party if you like! :)
Don’t forget to choose the highest image quality from ‘Settings’ (instead letting it stays ‘Auto’), ensuring the best viewer experience.
Password for all links: QUEERINGNOW
Double Fikret 雙面菲克雷特
Wang Haiyang 王海洋
2012 | Single-channel video | 3 min 27 sec | Colour
As the backbone of Wang Haiyang's second stop-motion animation work entitled Double Fikret, the artist stages a pair of twin elder males sporting handlebar moustaches, whose look teeters between that of various historical political figures.
Assuming political discourse is founded on the uniqueness of symbols and binary dialectics, then the twin forms conceived by Wang Haiyang embody a desire for pluralistic referencing. Double Fikret tackles the theme of how to cultivate this kind of referential network, not unlike chemical binding. The pomegranate depicted in the work, its structure resembling a polygon mesh, is one of the driving visual forces that help unfurl the work in its entirety.
The artist makes a drooping tree burst out of a sheep's abdominal cavity. After the fruit from the tree is split open, two pristine red seeds settle and sprout into nipples. In the subsequent cascading sequence of images, these objects are endlessly deconstructed, their shapes oscillating between figurative and geometrical structures. The entire work endlessly unfurls within the spatial confines of two sandpaper sheets.
It's as if the task of Wang Haiyang as a director is to equip every sentient being with their respective prosthesis.
Freud, Fish and Butterfly 弗洛伊德，魚和蝴蝶
Wang Haiyang 王海洋
2009 | Single-channel video | 3 min 26 sec | Colour
Freud, Fish and Butterfly is Wang Haiyang's first animated video work. To accomplish this work, the artist repeatedly painted the sequence of images onto one single sheet of sandpaper. The final painting in coloured chalk can be seen hanging on the wall at the end of the video.
The painting not only illustrates the fluid process of constructing the ever-changing images, but also explains how, for Wang Haiyang, animation is a form of painting in which objects transform naturally, only retaining bits and pieces of their original here and there as visual pivot points used in this process of transmogrification. Butterflies, embryos, fish bellies, the inside of an egg, a mouth cavity or genitals –everything is in a constant state of flux.
The self-replicating shapes of these objects remind the viewer of the sequel of characters in the artist's early work series Boys. The visual logic of these objects resembles the language of dreams, seemingly to what is proposed in psycho- analysis: metaphor and metonymy.
Popo Fan 范坡坡
2019 | 17min | Black & White and Colour
"Beer! Beer!" is an "anti-romantic comedy" set in the early morning following a wild party in Berlin. When Tao, a Chinese guy, meets Sebastian, a local German. As they seem to get more and more intimate with each other, suddenly a mattress changes everything...
Kiss of The Rabbit God
Andrew Thomas Huang
2019 | Single-channel video | 14min | Colour
Andrew Thomas Huang writes and directs this captivating short film about an ordinary restaurant worker’s extraordinary sexual awakening. Nightly visits from the Rabbit God, who arrives in the body of a tantalizing mysterious stranger, blossom into a tryst that empowers the young man to embark on a journey of self-discovery. “Interweaving my personal family history in the Chinese restaurant business with the richness of Chinese mythology,” says Huang, “Kiss of the Rabbit God is a confession and a love letter to my queer Asian community.”
LA-based Huang looked to his own Chinese heritage as inspiration for this Nowness-commissioned project, which is also the filmmaker's first fictional narrative short. The Qing dynasty myth of Tu'er Shen—the Rabbit God—traces the story of a Fujianese soldier who was executed for professing his love to another man. The ruler of the underworld decided that since Tu'er Shen’s crime was one of love, the soldier would be ordained as the Rabbit God, the patron deity of gay love.
“Being asked to create a piece centered around queer Asian characters became a dauntingly personal journey for me,” says Huang. “I grew up with a deficit of queer Asian visibility on-screen along with the frequent stigmatization and devaluing of Asian male bodies in Western visual culture. I wanted to unpack these issues while also crafting a story that I felt enriched our collective imagination of what queer Asian male love, sex and intimacy could aspire to be.”
Huang is internationally renowned for creating outlandish imagined landscapes and for experimental filmmaking that blurs the line between video art and traditional cinema. His strength in world-building has led him to collaborate with Icelandic artist Bjork, avant-pop musician FKA Twigs, Radiohead's Thom Yorke and British director Joe Wright.
Reality Fragment 160921
Qigemu 七個木 (April Lin 林森 and Jasmine Lin)
2018 | HD Video | 14 min 2 sec | Colour
Our own histories are always under curation, and as such, our perspectives become the central point in the building of personal realities. How do these multiple lived worlds, each their own amalgamation of memories, sensations, thoughts, coexist with de facto presentations of distance, history, and totality? How is this coexistence mediated if one is an actor in the online realm?
The Internet functions as yet another parallel universe, but likewise an explicit symbol of the traversing between the subjective and the objective — a symbol in the questioning of solitary truths.
Reality Fragment 160921 follows two people in their process of reality-curation, as they create their own spaces against and via understandings of distance, as they go through the motions of growing themselves by growing their universes. We witness not only their movements, but also partake in the thoughts of two witnesses and how by seeing these two people, worlds are merged.
In turn, we ask you, a viewer of this film and thus also a witness, to pay attention to your own movements of perception and reflect around the ways in which you build your own world. Who have you merged your world with, and what does that mean for the subjective truths you tend to?
About Whiskey Chow
London-based performance artist and Chinese drag king. Whiskey’s art practice engages with broadly defined political issues, covering a range of related topics: from female and queer masculinity, problematizing the nation-state across geographic boundaries, to stereotypical projections of Chinese/Asian identity. Her performance is interdisciplinary, combining embodied performance with moving image and experimental sound pieces.
As an artist-curator, Whiskey launched, led and performed in ‘Queering Now 酷兒鬧’ in 2020 (as part of CAN Festival). Queering Now is a curatorial programme amplifying marginalized voices of Chinese/Asian queer diaspora in the West.
Whiskey currently works as Visiting Lecturer at the Royal College of Art, Guest Lecturer at Sotheby’s Institute of Art and Bath School of Art.
Whiskey has been involved in feminist and LGBTQ activism in China since 2011. She contributed to and performed in ‘For Vaginas’ Sake 將陰道獨白到底 (2013)’ (original Chinese version of The Vagina Monologues), and curated the first Chinese LGBTQ music festival, ‘Lover Comrades Concert 愛人同志音樂會 (2013)’, Guangzhou.
Whiskey's recent performances include: The Moon is Warmer than the Sun, Queering Now, Rich Mix, London (2020); Unhomeliness, Tate Modern, London; Whiskey the Conqueror, Tate Britain, London (2018); Purely Beautiful New Era (ft. Haocheng Wu), Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Great Conversation, Uppsala Konstmuseum, Uppsala (2017).
Find out more at WhiskeyChow.com.
About Chinese Arts Now
Chinese Arts Now (CAN) produces and presents contemporary performing arts that explore Chinese themes, stories and art forms. CAN Festival is an annual festival that brings a diverse range of contemporary performing and digital arts to the public. CAN Festival 2021 runs 15 February - 30 April 2021. Find out more about Chinese Arts Now.