Streams of Desire: The Video Work of Richard Fung: Program 1
- Organizer: A/P/A Institute at NYU
- Venue: NYU Cantor Film Center, Theater 102
36 East 8th Street
New York, NY 10003 United States
Presented by CLAGS: The Center for LGBTQ Studies and the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU. Curated by Leeroy Kun Young Kang.
This program features four video works by Richard Fung—spanning from 1986-2000—that place desire within the spaces of time, geography, and the body. Traced through the artist’s explorations of queer sex, racial and sexual representation, illness, and kinship, these videos center queer Asian diasporic experience against an ever-shifting backdrop of colonialism and political change. Revisiting these bold and imaginative works allow us to reflect on the power of memory and the queer imagination amidst current narratives surrounding representation, cultural assimilation, and sexual politics.
The screening will be followed by a moderated panel discussion featuring Daryl Chin (artist and writer), Gayatri Gopinath (NYU Department of Social & Cultural Analysis), and Jason Tseng (GAPIMNY), and moderated by Leeroy Kun Young Kang.
“Streams of Desire” will be the first of two video programs organized in anticipation of Richard Fung’s Kessler Award lecture on December 16, presented by CLAGS. For information on related events and the Kessler lecture and award ceremony, which is free and open to the public, see www.clags.org.
Program running time: 81 minutes
Chinese Characters, 1986, 20:30 minutes, Canada, english
The second video in Fung’s oeuvre and one of the first video works to tackle the ambiguous relationship between gay East Asian men and North American gay pornography. Candid, playful, and experimental in form, Fung interweaves a complex series of interviews, archival gay pornography, and superimposed dramatic elements to draw a parallel between the Chinese legend about the search for the source of the Yellow River and contemporary Asian-Canadian gay men’s search for pleasure.
Fighting Chance, 1990, 31:00 minutes, Canada, english
This video was a response to the silencing of gay Asian voices in both mainstream gay and Asian media surrounding the issues of HIV/AIDS. Focusing on the experiences of four Asian men, each person describes the personal, medical, and political impacts of living with HIV.
Steam Clean, 1990, 03:30 minutes, US, subtitled multi-lingual
A steamy safe sex PSA commissioned by Gay Men’s Health Crisis.
Sea in the Blood, 2000, 26:00 minutes, Canada, english
A beautiful and meditative personal essay that traces the artist’s relationship to living close to illness–first with his sister’s diagnosis with thalassemia (hereditary blood disease) and AIDS in his partner Tim.
Richard Fung is a Trinidad-born, Toronto-based video artist, cultural critic, and educator. His work comprises of a series of videos on subjects ranging from the role of the Asian male in gay pornography to colonialism in Canada and the Caribbean, immigration and refugee issues, social justice in Israel/Palestine, anti-black racism in policing, homophobia, AIDS, and his own family history. His tapes and projections, which include Chinese Characters (1986), My Mother’s Place (1990), Sea in the Blood (2000), Jehad in Motion (2007), and Dal Puri Diaspora (2012), have been widely exhibited and collected internationally, and have been broadcast in Canada, the United States, and Trinidad and Tobago. His essays, which include “Looking for My Penis: The Eroticized Asian in Gay Video Porn,” have been published in many journals and anthologies, and he is the co-author with Monika Kin Gagnon of 13: Conversations on Art and Cultural Race Politics (2002). Richard is a fellow at the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto, a past Rockefeller Fellow at the Center for Media, Culture and History at New York University, and has received the Bell Canada Award for outstanding achievement in video art. He is a Professor in the Faculty of Art at OCAD University, teaching courses in Integrated Media and Art and Social Change.]
Daryl Chin is an artist and writer living in Brooklyn, New York. He is the cofounder of The Asian-American International Film Festival (NYC) (1977), board and programming committee member of NewFest (New York Lesbian and Gay Film Festival) (1991-99), board member of Apparatus Productions (1989-92), and associate editor of PAJ (Performing Arts Journal) (1988-2005).
Gayatri Gopinath is a New York-based writer and academic who has long been involved in queer of color activist organizations in New York City. She is an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the NYU Department of Social and Cultural Analysis. She is the author of Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures (Duke University Press, 2005), and has published articles on gender, sexuality and South Asian diasporic culture in numerous anthologies and in journals such as GLQ, Social Text, positions, and Diaspora. She is currently completing a new project tentatively entitled Unruly Visions: The Aesthetic Practices of Queer Diaspora, on queer visuality and its reframings of time and space. Her recent book chapters related to this project include: “Who’s Your Daddy? Queer Diasporic Reframings of the Region,” in The Sun Never Sets: South Asians in the Age of US Empire (NYU Press, 2013); “Archive, Affect and the Everyday: Queer Diasporic Re-Visions” in Political Emotions (Routledge 2010) and “Queer Regions: Locating Lesbians in Sancharram,” in The Blackwell Companion to LGBT Studies (Blackwell, 2007).
Leeroy Kun Young Kang is an archivist, visual artist, and curator whose work is rooted in the preservation and access of legacy audiovisual collections, experimental Asian Pacific film and video, and queer and transgender history and visual culture. Kang’s video work has screened both nationally and internationally and he has curated programs for the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and Dirty Looks NYC. He holds a BA in Studio Art from UC Santa Barbara, an MLS from Queens College, and is currently a visiting scholar at the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU.
Jason Tseng has devoted his professional and personal life to empowering ordinary people to make extraordinary change. Splitting his time between serving the arts and queer communities of color, he has worked for organizations like Theatre Communications Group, Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), and currently serves on the steering committee of GAPIMNY, one of the oldest queer Asian community organization in the nation. He currently serves as the Community Engagement Specialist at Fractured Atlas, a nonprofit technology organization that helps artists with the business side of their creative work. His writing has appeared in online publications like The Bilerico Project and Nonprofit Quarterly. Tseng is also an artist in his spare time, creating plays, comics, illustrations, and games, mostly focusing on queer people and people of color. He graduated from the University of Richmond studying Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and Theatre, and now lives in Long Island City with his cat and his fiance and their pet rabbit, Turnip Cake.