STREAMS OF DESIRE: The Video Work of Richard Fung: Program 1

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015
Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Film Center at NYU, Theater 102 (36 E 8th St, New York, NY 10003).
Free and open to the public.

This program features four video works by Richard Fung–spanning from 1986-2000–that place desire within the spaces of time, geography, 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 scholars and community activists based in NYC.

Streams of Desire is co-presented by CLAGS: The Center for LGBTQ Studies and the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU and will be the first of two video programs organized in anticipation of Richard Fung’s Kessler Award lecture on December 16th, presented by CLAGS. For information on related events, including a video program on queer Asian Canadian history at the Museum of Chinese in America on December 10th, and the Kessler lecture and award ceremony, which is free and open to the public on December 16th at the CUNY Graduate Center

Curated by Leeroy Kun Young Kang, in partnership with CLAGS: The Center for LGBTQ Studies and the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU.  Co-sponsored by The Sexuality, Women, & Gender Project at Teachers College, Columbia University; GAPIMNY; SALGA-NYC; and Q-WAVE.

Video 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.

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