Oyaji Uke

Tiger and Bunny_birthday animal

Detail from the Japanese BL fan comic Birthday Animal by Akou Susugu (Scanlated into English by Vices and Devices) In this story Tiger has a dildo-like tail (a birthday present from Bunny) which gives him sexual energy but also seems to have a life of its own.

I produced a zine for the Parasite Exhibition Ten Million Rooms of Yearning: Sex in Hong Kong which takes place in five venues in Hong Kong and will be open until August 10, 2014. My zine comments on a collection of Boy’s Love fan zines and slash fiction about tow anime characters,  Tiger & Bunny, and focuses on a reappraisal of the middle-aged male character as “bottom” (In Japanese Oyaji Uke)

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The Chinese Dream

 

Together with Tatiana Bazzichelli and Francesco Palmieri I am organizing several panels for the forthcoming Transmediale Festival in Berlin from 29 january till 2 february in Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt whose theme this year is “afterglow.” One of the panels deals with artistic-sexual rebellion and censorship in the Chinese netsphere. The speakers for this panel are Dr. Sufeng Song who is an outspoken academic and activist at Sun Yat Sen university, Guanzhou, and Didi-Kirsten Tatlow who is a correspondent for the New York Times in Beijing with a focus on art, democracy, feminism and technology. Besides these two speakers I have interviewed two well known dissident artists/intellectuals who are currently banned from international travel–the pioneering sex activist and investigative documentarian Ai Xiaoming (sometimes called “Ai of the South”)and the world famous artist and social media commentator Ai Wei Wei (“Ai of the North”).

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Both Ai Xiaoming and Ai Wei Wei have had their passports removed and are undergoing constant surveillance by the state while all information about their work is censored.While the contents of their statements can only be revealed at the festival, here are some snapshots of the famous cat of Ai Wei Wei, who made an appearance during the interview. The cat walked in fifteen minutes before the interview took place and jumped on the “celebrity chair.” When Ai Wei Wei himself walked in a bit later and was ready to sit down, she refused to move at all, so Ai Wei Wei then gently dragged the chair with the cat on it away and took another chair. Then we talked  about about the state of Chinese art, political provocation, the importance of the imagination and social debate within the neo-liberal authoritarian state. Ai Wei Wei’s statements were overall quite pessimistic and it was difficult for me to ask more personal questions or to lift the mood.

We sensed and acknowledged a total rift between China and the West in how he is treated as a public celebrity figure–while we can find an overload of information about him outside China, his compatriots who share his cultural background cannot not find any information at all. It is as if he is officially deleted from the networks and could well be replaced by his cat. But of course Ai Wei Wei continues to make art internationally and does have a local support system. If you want to read an account of how Ai Wei Wei feels affected and deals artistically with his post-prison condition read Didi-Kirsten Tatlow’s recent interview in the New York Times.  Here you can read how he engages in  small protest on a daily basis, how he feels that art and intellectual life in China is sick and needs healing, and where he would like to go if he could travel again.

 

A New Phase in Life

I still live in Tai Wai but have moved to a building called Festival City, Phase II. This brandnew maximum-security residential complex is nick-named “the shield”  because it is shaped like a tall weapon that cuts right through the urban environment.  It was built in three “phases” and the last one is still under construction. Each phase consists of 5 huge apartment blocks, each stacked with 50 floors of bright and clean apartments , with 4 apartments on each floor.

It could now become a question on the analytical skills section of the Hong Kong college entrance exam–given that each apartment holds an average of 3 dwellers, how many apartment dwellers can we find in the Festival City? And then: How are those dwellers going to interact with each other, if at all, those who paid an arm and a leg to rent or purchase one the highly overprized little cubicles ? (The essay question)

We moved here three weeks ago and will report on private whereabouts and the social affect of futuristic high-rise culture. I start with a glorious view from the living room. I have previously shared dark thoughts about living in Hong Kong’s dense highrise buildings and imaging the sex lives of others–how it is perhaps even futile or impossible to cross the boundary to grasp other people, other bodies, other races.

I am reminded of a talk by Trinh T. Minh Ha  from her book “Elsewhere, Within Here: Immigration, Refugeeism and the Boundary Event,” where she describes “the boundary event” as a process of self-torture where you try to cross over to another culture and confront an obstacle like a big wall. This wall may become a mental fixation and determines life expectations and moods. Then sometimes it is simply the case that you have not realized that you are already living on the other side. This is how I feel about myself and the Festival City. I definitely cannot imagine that I live here, but somehow it is true.

 

 

Wandering Dolls: Cosplay Journey Across East Asia

So my new book just came out and was published by the Hong Kong publisher Roundtable Synergy Books. The book is in both English and Chinese (left page vs. right page) and was translated entirely by Yang Jing. It is a book of travels to four different cities in “East Asia” (the big land mass covering Japan, China, HK, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore…. and what not), where I search for animation fans who dress up as “characters”, and adult fans of Japanese or Korean dolls.

It became a first-person travelogue essay with many photos, interspersed with interviews with Cosplayers and queer or queer-ish personalities. I say queer-ish because people develop deep attractions for animation and games culture through funky alter egos, yet they often have very “normal” aspirations in their actual lives. Especially so since it is not easy to be alt, kinky, or extravagant in the East Asian region.

It was a real pleasure to work together with Gary Wong, Miu Chan and Peter Kong of Roundtable Synergy books, who are at the young and visionary vanguard of Hong Kong critical writing and independent political thought. Peter Kong also did a marvelous design job and came up with the idea of the costumed girl with (my) wandering doll. It is always a strange and special feeling when the book is out. I like its experimental nature and aesthetic pretensions. It shows who I am trying to be–as indicated by Prof. Eric Ma and Prof. Travis Kong–“palpable,” “infectuous,””on the edge of academia’ and yes  “queer.”  The queer-ish mosquito that zaps by and stings into unsuspecting flesh.


au revoir tai hang!

I am finally moving out of this old city hood into the central new territories, a special kind of mountainous suburbia close to my new university, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. I highly recommend life in Tai Hang but the human electricity that runs through ieventually catches up with you–the frantic mobs, the noises all around, the mammoth constructions left, above, underneath you and to the right. Tai Hang faces the destruction of old Hong Kong and hyper inflation of all real estate. It takes place right before your celestial eyes. If one could just be like the Roman emperor Nero who even observed his city go up in flames and kept singing along  “burn baby burn….burn burn baby burn.”

Writing as Night Elf Priest

 

Bonnie Nardi’s new book My Life as  Night Elf Priest about World of Warcraft is out by University of Michigan Press. You can look at the summary of her book and also download several of the chapters for free. The book gives a very detailed and positive account of what it means to be immersed in this game environment. The Night Elf is a character who heals people after they have died in battle. The book deconstructs persistent media stereotypes about game addiction and refers to play theory and aesthetics to explain the draw of WoW.  I wish their would be more experiential books with images and an honest writer’s voice–it provides a breath of fresh air for soul-less academic writing.

               WoW Druid Form, a character that shape-shifts

     into different animals.

 

 

Extraordinary Dresscode 8-9-10 december, CityU and Videotage


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SYMPOSIUM

City University of Hong Kong 8-9-10 december

http://www.english.cityu.edu.hk/ExtraordinaryDressCode

The Extra / Ordinary Dress Code Symposium brings together scholars, writers and artists from diverse nationalities and disciplines to address the subject of fashion in its aesthetic, cultural, ritual, social, performative and historical dimensions.

(Photo: cross-dresser Maggie Leung and friend)

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EXHIBITION The Rest of Us – December 10 to December 24, 2009

Videotage, Ma Tau Kok Road, Kowloon.

Opening December 10 at 6 pm

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http://extraordinarydresscode.blogspot.com

The Rest of Us is a visual exhibition and an opening night cabaret presenting everyday fashions direct from the streets of Hong Kong, along with queer masquerades derived from Cosplay and its various sub-cultural tangents.  Photographs by Andrew Guthrie and Cosplay Costumes.

+++++FLASH CABARET++++++++++

Videotage, Ma Tau Kok Road, Kowloon.

Opening December 10 at 6 pm

INFORMATION

http://extraordinarydresscode.blogspot.com

Hosted by M/C extraordinaire–Diane To, this upbeat evening will show live performance art, video screenings, refreshments, and costuming games involving Hong Kong uniforms. Hong Kong artist Movana Chen will do a live performance session to demonstrate how she knits books into fabrics  in her newest project, Traveling Into My Bookshelf. Toronto-based artist/sexpert Louise Bak will dig and scratch underneath layers of doll costume to reveal a bodily essence. Hong Kong artist Him Lo will enact Leave Me + Build Me, a project in which he covers himself with an uncanny body suit to test how people gaze and react. Austrian artist Nino Jaeger will give  a performance lecture about gender and clothing through the sculpture Pipistrello: Dolce Vita, based on the lyrics of Mozart’s Le Nozze Di Figaro. Evening meal and refreshments will be provided together with new video art by Mia Chen and Robert Iolini. Free of Charge for those wearing any type of clothes. Extra Special Bonus For Dressing Harmoniously.

Raw Data Trailer

Raw Data – A Real Fake Document about Sex Researchers and their Hunting in Hong Kong.

Click the picture for the trailer:

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Raw Data
is a short experimental fiction film that grew out of my research about Internet sex and collaborations with actors/actresses.


Summary
Dr. Nero Wong is famous amongst university students for his critiques of traditional Chinese morality and the monogamic marriage system. He is also interested in Internet sex and easily attracts people online through his dark and alluring alter ego character ‘Max.’ One day he bumps into one of his colleagues, Dr. Katrien Jacobs, who has just posted her naked pictures as ‘Lizzy Kinsey.’ Max and Lizzy thus get entangled in a quest for sexual raw data—the strange and obsessive sex adventures that are typical of the Internet generation.

離奇性搜查
在香港的學術界,Nero Wong 教授是一位出名的學者,他對中國傳統道德以及婚姻制度有出位的評論。對於成人交友網絡他有著同樣的興趣。在網上他化身為一個黑暗並且十分誘人的「Max」 來吸引獵物。一日他在網站遇見一位剛把自己裸照上載到網上的「Lizzy Kinsey」,其實亦是他的同事 Katrien Jacobs 教授。從此Max和Lizzy就一起收集第一手色情資料 —— 一些古怪離奇、令人著迷的網絡性愛經歷。

Cast
Jackie Chow as Dr. Nero Wong/Max
Yang Jing as Mrs. Fleur Chan/Butterfly
Daisy Fung as Poppy
KJ as KJ as KJ
27  mins, DVD-PAL, 2009