Ku’er Worlds: Queering Chinese American Identities in Art and Film

Event
January 27, 2022
7pm

Ku’er Worlds: Queering Chinese American Identities in Art and Film

DATE:Thursday, January 27, 2022 at 7 p.m.

LOCATION:Ray Stark Family Theatre (SCA)

TYPE:Screening, Diversity, Conversation

GENRE:Cinematic Arts, Art & design

ADMISSION:
Admission is free. Reservations required. Please check back to RSVP.

DESCRIPTION:
Join some of today’s most exciting artists and filmmakers for a critical, surreal, experimental, and beautifully open exploration of LGBTQ communities and their allies within AAPI cultures.

Ku’er, a Chinese slang word for “queer” especially popular in Taiwan, plays on the colloquial term “cool kids,” and encapsulates the subversive spirit of this evening of short films, video art, and lively discussion by Chinese and Chinese American artists who illuminate intersectional identities and shatter constrictive norms attached to gender, sexuality, and nation-based identities.

Program (order subject to change):
Kiss of the Rabbit God (Directed by Andrew Thomas Huang, Running Time: 15 min)
Mixing everyday scenes from a restaurant in L.A.’s Chinatown with fantastical imagery, Andrew Thomas Huang tells the story of a young man’s coming out, aided by a mythical Chinese deity who has come to serve as a symbol of LGBTQ pride in Taiwan. 

Melons (at a Loss) (Directed by Patty Chang, Running Time: 4 min)
Shaved (At a Loss) (Directed by Patty Chang, Running Time: 6 min)
In Love (Directed by Patty Chang, Running Time: 4 min)
USC Roski Professor of Art Patty Chang is a performance and video artist who has exhibited widely at institutions including MOMA and the New Museum in New York, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Hamburg Kunstverein in Hamburg, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, and in the 2016 Shanghai Biennial. Her video artworks utilize performative actions to confront and subvert stereotypes of Asian American women as passive subjects and address issues of gender, sexuality, and familial intimacies.

From Its Mouth Came a River of High-end Residential Appliances (Directed by WangShui, Running Time: 13 min)
Breathtaking drone footage shot of a modern tower in Hong Kong corresponds with poetic narration by WangShui, who ruminates on feng shui’s transnational movements and the artist’s own transgender and transcultural identities.

All in My Family (Directed by Hao Wu, Running Time: 39 min)
Recording his heartfelt experience and struggle with creating a modern family in the U.S. and seeking acceptance from his traditional parents and relatives in China, Hao Wu’s short documentary explores issues related to gender and sexuality, morals and familial ties, and reflects cross-cultural interactions and changing attitudes toward LGBTQ individuals and families in China.

Following the screenings, renowned curator of Hong Kong’s M+ Museum Lesley Ma and USC Roski School of Art and Design professor Jenny Lin will lead a panel discussion with the artists and audience.

Bios:
Patty Chang
 is a Los Angeles–based artist and educator who uses performance, video, installation, and narrative forms to consider identity, gender, transnationalism, colonial legacies, the environment, large-scale infrastructural projects, and impacted subjectivities. She creates surrealist films that have been shown in film festivals around the world, and is a professor of art at USC.

Andrew Thomas Huang is a GRAMMY-nominated music-video director whose collaborators include Bjork, FKA Twigs, and Thom Yorke. His films have been commissioned by and exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Sydney Opera House, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Huang graduated with a degree in fine art and animation from USC.

Jenny Lin is an associate professor of critical studies at the USC Roski School of Art and Design. Her research explores relations between twentieth- and twenty-first-century art and design praxes and social phenomena such as urbanization, globalization, and decolonization. She has extensive curatorial and studio experience, having worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and with artists and galleries in Shanghai since the early 2000s.

Lesley Ma is a curator at M+, a museum of visual culture in the West Kowloon Cultural District of Hong Kong. A recipient of the Fifth Yishu Award for Critical Writing on Contemporary Chinese Art, Ma is published in Chinese and English and has written for ArtforumArtAsiaPacific, and other publications. Ma received a BA in history and science from Harvard College, an MA in museum studies from NYU, and a PhD from UCSD.

WangShui is a New York–based artist and filmmaker who has exhibited and screened work internationally at venues including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the von ammon co., and the Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf. WangShui has been featured in FriezeHyperallergic, and Interview.

Hao Wu is a writer, director, editor, and documentarian. His films as director include People’s Republic of Desire, which won the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary at SXSW in 2018, and 76 Days, which was shortlisted for an Academy Award in the Documentary Feature category in 2021.

Related event: 
Ku’er Worlds: Art and Filmmaking Workshop
Friday, January 28, 2022, at 10 a.m.
Friends of the USC Libraries Lecture Hall, DML 240
For more info, click here.

Presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative. Organized by Tang Li (USC Libraries) and Jenny Lin (Art and Design).

Photos: Stills from Kiss of the Rabbit God, Andrew Thomas Huang; From Its Mouth Came a River of High-end Residential Appliances, WangShui; All in My Family, Hao Wu; Shaved (At a Loss), Patty Chang.