Hosted by the Asian/Pacific/American Institute, roundtable conversation and screening performance Transmitting Trans-Asian will highlight transgender and gender-nonconforming diasporic and international Asian media artists and activists who exploit the networked infrastructure of global media in the information age.
Singer, performance artist, and costume designer Yozmit draws on her professional training as a fashion designer and elements of traditional Korean music, performance art, corporeal mime, modern dance, yoga, and meditation to create a unique style of abstract performance. With the assistance of new media technologies, Yozmit disconnects and recombines voice, movement, and visual surfaces, drawing listeners and viewers into a ritualistic exploration of the perceived limits of the human body.
Director Tanwarin Sukkhapisit‘s debut digital feature, Insects in the Backyard (Thailand, 2010, 93 mins, HDCAM), provides a bittersweet view of the disintegrating relationship between a single katoey parent and her teenage son and daughter, as each family member explores sex and sexuality in isolation. Banned by the Thailand Culture Ministry for content deemed immoral and obscene, while receiving attention at international film festival and media circuits, Sukkhapisit has had to navigate the interconnected and often contradictory workings of national, regional, and transnational media networks.
Elle Mehrmand is a musician and new media performance artist who incorporates the body, electronics, video, photography, sound, and installation in her work, which includes virtual performance Technesexual in collaboration with Micha Cárdenas. Mehrmand is a singer and trombone player in Assembly of Mazes, a collective that fuses dark, electronic, Middle Eastern, and rhythmic jazz rock music.
Digital filmmaker, producer, and independent programmer Felix Endara has crafted his documentarian tactics and style based in expansive subcultural activism, including post-riot grrrl zine Chica Loca, sex-positive queer porn cell-video shorts production company 3 Minutes In Heaven, programming at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and DocuClub, and reviews for P.O.V. and Tribeca All Access. Endara’s current documentary project Kathleen and Eddie follows the thread that unexpectedly ties the sister of a murdered U.S. soldier to the members of the German radical leftist Red Army Faction convicted of the killing.
Guest commentator for the roundtable, Jasbir Puar, is author of Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times, Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, board member of the Audre Lorde Project, and a contributor to The Guardian, Art India, and Huffington Post, as well as Bully Bloggers and Oh! Industry. Puar has worked to address renewed links made between sexuality, race, gender, nation, class, and ethnicity–with particular attention to the racialization of queerness–given the techno-cultural mobilization of the post-9/11 U.S. state towards security, nationalism, and anti-terrorism.
Each of these artists/activists intercepts the technologies, virtual imagination, and uses of networked media and communications to produce transnational, regional, local connections that challenge fixed and marketable gender, geographic, ethnic, and racial identity. And, by retooling the aesthetics, tactics, and value structure of new media, each connects and re-imagines embodiments and geographies of Asias yet to be determined.
Jian Chen is an Assistant Professor of Queer Studies at the English Department & Interdisciplinary Sexuality Studies Program at The Ohio State University and a Visiting Scholar with A/P/A Institute at NYU this Spring 2012.
5-6:30PM: Roundtable with Yozmit, Tanwarin Sukkhapisit, Elle Mehrmand, and Felix Endara
Response by Jasbir Puar and Q&A
Sounds by Elle Mehrmand of Assembly of Mazes & Squab
Screening of Tanwarin Sukkhapisit’s Insects in the Backyard (Thailand, 2010, 93 mins, HDCAM)
New song release & live performance by Yozmit
Co-sponsored by: Department of Performance Studies at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU Steinhardt, NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program at NYU, LGBTQ Student Center, Diversity and Identity Studies Collective at Ohio State University, Asian American Studies Program at Ohio State University, Sexuality Studies Program at Ohio State University, the English Department at Ohio State University, NYU Cinema Studies, NYU Wagner’s Stonewall Policy Alliance, and the Humanities Initiative at NYU