Various Kinds Of Plagiarism

Writing documents ahead can help you to get a sense for just how much time it requires to complete numerous regions of the essay. For each among the tasks, you’re anticipated to present an article. Test nominees usually complain they would not have enough moment to fill out the check, especially in the reading and writing sections. Authorship a fantastic composition may merely be possible with rigorous practice. 继续阅读

Howto Notice Your Present Wi Fi Connection Pace in Mac OS X

As you begin filling your hard disk drive with distinct documents and applications it’ll start operating slower. Be it when it comes to multitasking or operating’ significant’ programs, Apple notebooks comes in the top http://macpunch.net/ of the group with respect to functionality. It’s these characteristics together with their costly price tag which makes it even more irritating whenever your Mac starts to operate sluggish. Each pc contains some thing known as the registry which very few women and men know of. 继续阅读

第九届北京酷儿影展征片启事

 

历时15年历史的北京酷儿影展是目前中国大陆唯一一个通过电影放映、交流活动来展开性与性别身份探讨的民间主题影展。在并不轻松的国内社会政治环境下,北京酷儿影展历经诸多波折,在众多民间团体和个人的声援和支持下,影展组委会顶着多方压力艰难前行,坚持为少数派酷儿群体发声。

从2014年开始,北京酷儿影展转为年度展。第九届北京酷儿影展预计于2016年9月第一周在北京举办。现正式开始征片报名工作。欢迎符合条件的酷儿电影人积极参与本届影展。

本影展不设选片机制,凡是符合以下条件的均可参加:

  1. 影片属于酷儿题材,然而类型包括纪录剧情实验动画等不限,长度不限。
  2. 影片是2014年之后完成的作品。
  3. 没有在往届北京酷儿影展上放映过的作品。
  4.  本届影展华语片对外公开征片的截止日期是2016年81日。外语片对外公开征片的截止日期是2016年715日。

 报名影展需要资料如下(资料不全不能报名):

  1. 填写完整的报名表一份  第九届北京酷儿影展报名表
  2. 报名影片剧照3张+导演个人照1张
  3. 建议报名用影片网络链接(可加密码)发邮件至 info@bjqff.com

如果没有网络链接电子版需要提供邮寄DVD一份。请和我们联系。

The 9th Beijing Queer Film Festival Calling for Film Entries

Founded 15 years ago, Beijing Queer Film Festival is currently the only grassroots film festival in China that focuses on independent queer film screenings and cultural exchange activities to expand the discussion on sexual and gender identity. Under a difficult domestic social and political environment, and after many twists and turns, we still remained open year after year, thanks to the help, solidarity and support from many civil society groups and individuals. Wanting to make voices of minority groups heard, the Beijing Queer Film Festival Committee is inviting all great filmmakers throughout the world to submit films for 2016 edition.

The Beijing Queer Film Festival is an annual event. in September 2016, The 9th Beijing Queer Film Festival will take place. We are calling for submissions of all sorts of queer films, please see the eligibilities below:

1. All queer themed films are allowed, all genres and lengths are accepted, including documentaries, features, shorts, animations, experimental films etc.

2. All films have to be produced after January 1st, 2014.

3. Only films that haven’t been screened at the Beijing Queer Film Festival before are allowed.

4. For Chinese films, the submission deadline is 1st August , 2016; for international films, the submission deadline is 15th July, 2016.

ENTRY FORM AND FILM MATERIAL SENT (incomplete submissions are not accepted):

1. Entry form of 9th Beijing Queer Film Festival  Entry Form

2. Film poster and stills, and director high definition headshot

3. Submission with online secure screener is preferred, please email your online link with/without a password along with other materials to info@bjqff.com

* If there is no link to the online screener, submission with a DVD copy via post mail is also allowed. Please contact with us first.

 

 

 

闭幕致辞 酷儿中的酷儿——BJQFF

酷儿中的酷儿——BJQFF

 

2013年初夏的一天,当范坡坡约我去双城喝咖啡的时候,我并没有想到我会在短短一年多的时间里这样深入地参与到北京酷儿影展的工作当中去。我和影展的缘分也就是从那个时候开始的。

 

在那之前我刚刚在栗宪庭电影学校参加了独立电影制作的短训班,并在那里结识了崔子恩。崔老师作为北京酷儿影展的组委和创始人之一,将我介绍给了当时那届影展的轮值主席范坡坡。我那时候已经在北京创办过一个独立电影每月放映活动“遇见电影人”。至今已经不间断地做了4年放映了。对影展的工作,我非常感兴趣。这样便有了在双城喝咖啡那一幕。

 

实际上,刚好也是在我开始加入影展筹办工作之后,各地的民间影展都开始面临越来越多的外界压力。北京独立影像展屡次遭遇开幕叫停,南京的中国独立影像展不能举办等等。但是这些都不会影响到我当时参与筹办影展的热情。今年在北京这样严峻的政治环境下,北京酷儿影展成了不多的几个在北京还能进行的民间独立放映活动。

 

今年的形势其实是在5月份的时候就比较明显了。我们本来打算在5月17日国际反恐同日做一个预热的放映活动。但是活动再次被相关部门取消了,我们的几位组委也直接或间接地因此被相关部门“谈话”。在这样的局面下,为了保证今年影展能够办下去我们做了很多套计划方案。首先,影展将不再是持续一周的连续放映。这和通常的影展概念非常不同。这样做主要是考虑到,通常打压独立影展的方式是在影展开始的时候叫停开幕式。这样如果是连续的影展,开幕式后的一周都会受到影响。所以,我们今年影展的开幕定在了9月13日。当日我们放映了大受关注的周豪导演的《夜》。为了降低风险,我们在9月19日才开始了为期3天的核心影展的放映活动。不出意料,在13日开幕之前的3-4天左右,有人来找我了。他们明确表示影展是不能举办的。并且他们居然知道我们19日在“大篷车”放映计划。这次谈话之后,我们只好全部另做打算了。

 

今年我们第二个为了保证影展进行下去的,与往届不同的计划原本是“大篷车”放映。基于去年的大巴放映经验,我们今年选择了3部影片在这个单元放映。我们提前跟导演取得放映授权,然后把电影存到提前专门为影展制作的 U盘里。在影展租的大巴车里,我们会发这些U盘给参加活动的观众。大家可以用自己的电脑设备观看影片,也可以用大巴里提供的小电视看片子。这个计划本来是为了打破传统的影展概念,挑战那些打击影展放映场地的行为。我们相信无论有没有放映场地,酷儿影展的放映都会进行下去,因为影展中最重要的东西是放映电影。相较之下,在哪儿放怎么放,变得没有那么重要了。“大篷车”计划既好玩有创意,又十分具有政治意味。这是我们原来的计划。但是在被告知“大篷车”放映是严格禁止的,我们基于原计划采取了“大篷车”2.0版,也就是火车放映。

 

9月19日一早,我们来到北京火车站登上了从北京到怀柔的小火车。这段线路乘客很少,影展的工作人员、导演和嘉宾共有40人左右。我们组织大家2-3人一起分享一台电脑和一个U盘,一起观看了杨洋导演的关于北京酷儿影展的纪录片《我们的故事》。到怀柔之后,我们再坐车来到一个预先定好的场地召开论坛。

 

之后的两天,我们也安排了不同主题的论坛和影片放映。9月19日至9月21日这三天就是今年影展的核心部分。从那时候开始到12月份,我们以每月至少两场的放映完成了第七届北京酷儿影展所有影片的放映。在这三个月的时间里,我们在北京的荷兰使馆,法国文化中心,交差点公益空间,草场地KCAA空的空间和清华大学图书馆等场地做了不同单元的放映。不仅如此,影展的其他组委和志愿者也在北京之外的很多城市组织了多场酷儿放映。我们今年的足迹遍及厦门、大连、杭州、上海、合肥、东京和巴塞罗那。

 

因此,今年看似风平浪静,一帆风顺的影展,其实也经历了很多有潜在的危险。我们每一个决定都是组委们一起商议的结果。在影展开始之前做了最坏的打算,现在的放映效果虽然不是最好的,但是我们大家都还比较满意。

 

今年影展马上就要结束了,很多朋友都鼓励我说在这样的大环境下,只要能办就是好的。我自己心里总结一下,却是仍然有着很多遗憾。我希望影片能够在接近影院效果的场地进行放映;希望音响的消除回音功能更好一点;我希望能有更多观众,尤其是LGBT社区之外的观众来看电影;希望影展能够支付每一位作者一部分放映费。我希望为影展工作的所有志愿者和组委都能获得与他们的智慧和辛勤劳动相符合的经济补助。我希望我们可以真正推动本土的酷儿电影制作。这些工作希望能够在未来的5年或者10年当中慢慢去实现。然而,每一个迫切的问题都显得很天真。在中国,经济问题其实也是政治的一部分。想想影展随时可能在一个不正确的决定下停办,我的希望是不是一种奢望呢。

 

最后,我想说办影展在某种程度上也是一件很光鲜的事业,然而在真正开始执行影展工作的时候,大部分的工作是琐碎无聊并且不为人知的。我很感谢所有志愿者在幕后翻译字幕,校对手册和剪辑影片等等。有了他们和我一起分担这些琐碎和无聊,北京酷儿影展才能一届又一届地办下去。

 

最后一个希望,希望明年无论是哪位组委来主持大业,影展都能顺利举办!希望北京酷儿影展永远保持着它独立而纯粹的风貌,去影响从工作人员到导演、嘉宾、观众等等每一个和它结缘的人。

 

吴漫

《性别自觉、本土性与重行动主义》Gender Awareness, Locality and Queer Activism

《性别自觉、本土性与重行动主义》

包宏伟

 

Gender Awareness, Locality and Queer Activism

HongweiBao

作者介绍:

包宏伟 Hongwei Bao

诺丁汉大学电影、文化与媒体系助理教授,悉尼大学性别与文化研究专业博士。研究方向为媒介与文化研究、电影研究和酷儿理论。

Hongwei Bao is assistant professor in the Department of Culture, Film and Media at the University of Nottingham, UK. He obtained his PhD in Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia. His research interests include media and cultural studies, film studies, and queer theory.

 

北京酷儿影展历经六届,我一直是以电影爱好者和研究者的身份关注影展。今年有幸成为第七届影展的学术观察员,在这里就简单谈一下我对本次影展节目单安排的总体印象。本次影展选片至少呈现出以下三个特点:(1)性别自觉;(2)地方性、区域性与跨国性的性别地理;(3)重行动主义。在这里我要重点谈的是本次影展中所表现出的女性主义姿态,兼谈其它两点。

 

细心的观众不难留意到,本届酷儿影展增加了大量的女性主义因素。虽然并不是每个导演都自觉认同女性主义,也不是每部影片都能用女性主义影片这一称谓来概括,整个影展的女性主义基调却是令人瞩目的:何小培和袁园导演的影片《奇缘一生》讲述男女同性恋形婚经历;酷儿影展组委会成员、北京女性影展影展策展人杨洋以女性视角和历史参与者的身份回顾了北京酷儿影展过去十几年来不平凡的发展历程;香港女性导演魏时煜的纪录片《金门银光梦》讲述的是第一位在美国执导港片的华人女导演伍锦霞的传奇故事;由夜奔导演、深秋小屋女性文艺网站的女性题材独立电影《链爱》融都市、爱情、剧情、魔幻、轻喜剧等因素为一体,尽情展现女女恋情;《甜蜜的18岁》作为女导演何文超的处女作,甚至被誉为“中国拉拉电影出柜之作”,更是将女女恋情,推向中国的大银幕;主题单元“来自台南的人”回顾的是台湾女性电影导演黄玉珊的两部影片《双镯》和《真情狂爱》;主题单元“云路程裕苏”展映的是三部发生在上海的不同女性主人公的人生经历和心路历程;“有朋自友邦来”介绍巴黎女性主义者和女同性恋影展;“现场影像”、“来一点行为艺术”和“论坛”均有拉拉和女性主义在场;在如此强大的女性主义和拉拉情结观照下,本届酷儿影展呈现出比往届影展更加性别自觉地特征。

 

有观众或许要问:女性主义和酷儿运动的关系如何?为什么要在中国的酷儿运动中增加女性主义因素?这个问题比较复杂。我试着从以下几个方面说明:

 

1.   性别与性的同构关系

 

虽然性别与性作为自然现象,古今中外都有;但两个词作为社会话语(discourse)的历史却并不久远。英语中性别(gender)与性(sexuality)是两个词,似乎暗示了这两个词指代的不同概念。也许台湾对性别一词的译法(“性/别”)更能体现两者相互关联的本质。根据福柯的考证,现代意义上的“性”是在十八、十九世纪的欧洲在医学、心理学、精神病学和法律等一系列社会话语的共同作用下形成的。[1] 女性主义学者斯科特的研究则表明,“性别”这一词与本世纪六七十年代女权运动的推动不无关系:当时的女性主义者为了避免将性别本质主义化,制造了“生理性别”(即我们常说的“性”sex)与社会性别(即我们常说的“性别”gender)的二元对立,发明并推广了“性别”这一概念。[2] 巴特勒指出,“性别”这一概念基于“性”这一概念而产生;在男/女生理性别二元对立的基础上建构了男性气质/女性气质这一社会性别的二元对立。这一过程呈现出强烈的“异性恋霸权”:即男/女,男性气质/女性气质,性/性别等范畴只有当一个社会默认异性恋是规范的条件下才能成立。[3] 由此可见,我们有必要认识到性别与性在异性恋霸权社会语境下的同构关系,打破二元对立,质疑和挑战异性恋霸权。酷儿一词就是对异性恋规范性下传统性与性别秩序的挑战。

 

2.   同性恋身份政治、女性主义与酷儿理论

虽然在国际语境下同性恋解放运动和女性主义有着看似迥异的发展轨迹,二者的关联性也是无可否认的。第二波女性主义和同性恋解放运动同属身份政治,即借助性与性别身份的同一性表达政治诉求。二者同时兴起于二十世纪六、七十年代,在反战和反集权、追求自由平等的历史和社会背景下展开。到了二十世纪八、九十年代,受后结构、后现代主义思潮的影响,第二波女性主义和同性恋解放运动开始受到广泛质疑:这种建立在同一性基础上的身份政治是否有效?身份政治在有效社会动员的同时又遮蔽了哪些声音和怎样的政治可能性?酷儿理论就是在这样的背景之下产生的。它一方面借鉴第三波女性主义的理论成果,批判第二波女性主义为建立其统一性和正统性对多元性和性别表达形式的压制;另一方面它又对同性恋身份政治的得失也进行了反思,指出同性恋身份政治对多元性与性别的排斥和边缘化。不无巧合的是,许多酷儿理论的领军人如巴特勒、劳丽蒂斯等人都同时是第三波女性主义中的重要人物。酷儿理论的理论源泉直接来源于女性主义,其产生和发展依托于与女性主义的对话与交锋。从这个意义上,没有女性主义,酷儿理论和酷儿政治是难以想象的。

 

3.   中国的女性主义和酷儿理论

必须承认,当前中国大陆的女性主义和酷儿理论的发展是在全球化、后殖民的语境下进行的。

 

学者白露在其论著中展示了二十世纪中国女性主义的发展与跨国女性主义之间的紧密联系:“妇女”、“女性”和“女人”这些看似可以互换的概念,与不同历史时期迥异的权力结构、治理方式和主体构成有着千丝万絮的联系。二十世纪八十年代,作为社会主义性别主体的“妇女”地位在市场经济的冲击下趋于式微,女性主义的主体“女性”和消费文化的主体“女人”在全球资本主义和新自由主义意识形态的影响下地位开始上升。[4] 1995年在北京召开的第四届联合国妇女大会标志着着中国女性主义的发展被正式纳入后冷战时期、跨国资本全球治理的世界版图。酷儿理论几乎是在同时被翻译介绍到中国大陆。在这里需要强调的是,翻译不仅仅依靠的是文字转换, 文化的翻译同等重要。在中国学者和社会活动家翻译西方性别理论的过程中,女性、酷儿等词,作为身份指称、主体位置、政治和文化形式、价值观念和意识形态被引入了资本主义全球化背景下的中国。这一过程本身就是建立在政治、经济、文化等领域的不平等基础上的,体现了西方文化的霸权。但是这些有关性和性别的话语传入中国后在中国社会所产生的影响以及自身在文化翻译过程中所产生的变异更是我们关注的焦点。

 

比较遗憾的是,女性主义和有关同性恋的理论引入中国大陆后,两者的交集并不多。这一方面是由于以妇联为代表的国家女性主义对有关性的问题的漠视,仿佛谈论性便会损害女性主义的正统性和道德制高点。在这种情况下,一夫一妻制的、以生殖为目的的异性恋规范得到了强化,多元的性与性别受到了压制。中国的同志运动虽然借防治艾滋病的名义在资本全球治理的语境下得到了发展,但其男同性恋主导性也致使“同志”这一身份带有强烈的男权主义色彩。同志运动一度在中国大陆成为反对女权主义的男权主义运动。

 

正如不同流派的女性主义在八十年代同时涌入中国,在中国大陆的社会语境中争奇斗艳一样,同性恋身份政治和酷儿政治在西方语境下虽然有着三十年的间隔,但却是在几乎同时被引介入中国大陆的社会语境中。于是便出现了同志电影与酷儿电影并存,或一部电影中既有身份政治的因素又有酷儿的元素的有趣现象;于是也就出现了同志社区内“美少女战士拉拉”等引领的同性恋身份政治与酷儿政治的争论和交锋。我们不能将这些简单看作“滞后的现代性”或“文化翻译”的失败;中国社会特定语境对“酷儿”的创造性解读和灵活使用挑战着酷儿定义的单一性和欧洲中心主义,并让酷儿一词更具文化多元性和包容性。

 

值得注意的是,女性主义在中国的酷儿运动中一直起到至关重要的作用。许多酷儿活动家也是自觉的女性主义者;拉拉和男同在酷儿运动中长期合作、相互促进,积累了许多具有中国特色的酷儿运动经验:女同组织同语策划的情人节同性婚礼等活动便是很好的例证。女性主义的因素在往届酷儿影展中一直存在,只是在本届影展中由于轮值主席的性别主体身份以及其它一系列偶然和必然的因素凸现出来。在酷儿影展反思异性恋和男权霸权的指导思想下,本届影展突出女性主义主题有着重要意义。

 

4.   地方性、区域性与跨国性的性别地理

在全球化、后殖民的今天,我们是否有资格谈论本土性和民族性?答案自然是肯定的,关键是怎样谈才能让我们既有本土关注,又不至于落入民族主义和中西方二元对立的认识误区。本届影展节目安排对此作出了自己的回答。本届影展较好地体现和突出了地方性:魏时煜、黄玉珊、程裕苏的电影都带有强烈的地域特征;他们的电影分别讲述的是旧金山、台南与上海的故事,这些故事与民族国家的宏大叙事或许有关或许无关,它们在一定程度上挑战着民族国家和跨国资本的单一叙事。这些故事又共同构建着跨国华人酷儿身份和社区的想象共同体,对酷儿理论与酷儿政治的西方霸权表下面出自觉的抵制和抗衡。这一点与台湾学者陈光兴提出的“作为方法的亚洲”有一定的契合之处:华语世界和亚洲文化圈应该这样的文化自觉性,联合起来对抗西方文化霸权和想象新的政治文化格局。[5]

 

本届北京酷儿影展在安排节目单时还打破了国别界限,从而构建起跨国酷儿共同体。所以便有了“长歌”和“短句”单元里中文电影与外文电影平起平座的现象。这些迹象表明:北京酷儿影展的组织者们在认真思考着跨国酷儿运动中不平等的权力关系,并用实际行动挑战着和重构着这些关系。

 

5.   重行动主义

 

本届酷儿影展明确提出“重行动主义”:从“反恐礼,518”到“家长志”,从“现场影像”到“来一点行为艺术”,“行动主义”成为本次影展的关键词之一。如果说传统的影展注重的是电影的艺术性、技术性以及商业价值,北京酷儿影展注重的则是影片的社会功能,即如何使用电影这一媒介来影响和改造社会。影展中的许多影片都是社会运动影片:他们的拍摄过程本身就是社区参与和群众动员的过程。影展不排名、不评奖、不请领导和明星、不搞红地毯效应。所有报名影片只要符合参展要求就一律展出;影展的组织工作也在最大程度上体现了民主的原则。这种影展形式的存在本身就是一种社会行动:它在改写着传统影展的定义,也在创造着一种民主的、自由的社会文化组织形式。

 

影展组织者之一崔子恩指出:“我们不认为那些所谓标准的、艺术精良的、优质电影那样的概念是值得推崇和提倡的。我们提倡的是用影像作为行动,来改造世界。用电影的这种方式跟硬性的时代接壤或者接轨,或者改造这个时代,是比较便利的,也是十分直接的。”[6] 另一位影展组织者扬洋在第五届北京酷儿影展举办受阻的紧要关头直陈主流意识形态对于影展的影响和继续举办影展的意义,她反问道:质疑、对抗这种“主流”意识形态,不也正是酷儿影展存在的价值和追求的目标么?[7] 由此可见,举办北京酷儿影展本身就是社会行动。它的成败与否在当今中国的语境下同样重要。影展的存在和持续发展,就是当今中国社会发展进步的明证。

 

以上我简单谈了本届影展呈现出的三个主要特征:(1)性别自觉;(2)地方性、区域性与跨国性的性别地理;(3)重行动主义。当然本届影展还有其他突出特点,如注重历史书写和理论总结、突出“微电影”在当今中国的作用等,在此篇幅有限,无法一一展开论述。影展的主角是电影。我们要看同性恋电影,也许是因为电影好看,也许是因为电影表现的题材和内容与我们的生活和情感经历息息相关,也许是因为看电影为我们提供了与新老朋友聚会的机会,也许仅仅是因为看电影是虚度时日的有效方式:所有这一切都是看电影的正当理由。有一点是可以肯定的:“独乐乐”有自己的逍遥,“与众乐乐”也有自己的快乐。很希望能借着本次影展的机会,和年轻的电影作者和观众们一起共同享受看集体电影的美好时光。

 

[1] Michel Foucault, History of Sexuality, vol.1. New York: Vintage, 1990.

[2] Joan W. Scott, “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis,” American Historical Review 91, No. 5 (December 1986), pp. 1053–75.

[3] Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, New York: Routledge, 1990.

[4] Tani Barlow, The Question of Women in Chinese Feminism, Durham: Duke University Press, 2004.

[5] Kuan-Hsing Chen, Asia as Method—Towards De-Imperialization, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2010.

[6] 崔子恩《解读酷儿影展:用影像作为行动,改造世界——崔子恩访谈》,载程青松主编《青年电影手册(第三辑)》,山东人民出版社,2010年。

[7] 杨洋《致辞》,载第五届酷儿影展手册, 2011年。

 

 

Gender Awareness, Locality and Queer Activism

Hongwei Bao

 

《性别自觉、本土性与重行动主义》

包宏伟

 

As a film fan and film researcher, I have been fascinated by the development of the Beijing Queer Film Festival during the past six editions. This year I have been invited to be an ‘academic observer’ of the Festival and to write on my impressions of the programme before the Festival starts. As far as I am concerned, at least three features can be observed of this edition: (1) a clear focus on gender; (2) the interplay of the local, the regional and the global; (3) an emphasis on social activism. I will focus on the first point and touch on the second and the third briefly in this article.

 

It is not difficult to notice the strong emphasis on feminism in this year’s programme. Admittedly, not every film director whose works are on the programme subscribes to feminism; and not every film can be referred to as a ‘feminist film’. The feminist stance of the Film Festival is, however, strongly manifested. The festival starts by showing feminist filmmakers’ He Xiaopei and Yuanyuan’s film Our Marriages, which presents a fascinating account of ‘contract marriages’ formed between lesbians and gay men; this is followed by Yang Yang’s documentary on the Beijing Queer Film Festival, Our Story, which reviews the history of the Festival during the past ten years from a feminist perspective. Golden Gate Girls is an impressive documentary made by Louisa Wei about the female film director Esther Eng who made Cantonese language films in San Francisco in the early 1900s and whose story remains largely unknown to date. Links to Love, directed by Ye Ben, unfolds a fascinating and magic story of intimacy between women. Sweet Eighteen is not only the first film directed by He Wenchao but the first lesbian-themed film that passed Chinese government’s film censorship, hence the celebratory news headline of ‘China’s lesbian film came out’. This year’s film festival also features works by Taiwan feminist film director Huang Yu-Shan and mainland Chinese film director Andrew Yu-Su Cheng. Although Cheng is a male film director, most of his films portray lives and emotions of young Chinese women. The ‘diversities’ unit showcases selected films from the Paris International Lesbian and Feminist Film Festival. Both feminism and lesbianism have a strong presence in other sections of the Film Festival. It is evident that this edition is particularly gender conscious than past editions.

 

Here are the questions I shall try to address in this article: what is the connection between feminism and queer politics? How do we justify the strong feminist presence in the Beijing Queer Film Festival?

 

  1. The Gendered Sex and the Sexed Gender

It is often known that gender and sex exist in all societies and at all times in history; it is less well known that as social categories, neither term has a particularly long history. Although gender and sex are two separate words in English, the Taiwanese translation of gender, xing/bie (sex/difference), vividly captures the relation between the two terms. Michel Foucault traces the birth of sexuality in the West to the eighteenth and nineteenth century Europe as a proliferation of discourses on sex and sexuality in medical science, psychology, psychiatry, law and others.[1] Joan Scott attributes the emergence of the term gender to the second wave feminism which ‘invented’ the sex/gender binary.[2] As Judith Butler convincingly demonstrates, the concept of ‘gender’ relies on the concept of ‘sex’: the gender binary of masculinity/femininity is constructed on the basis of the sexual binary of men/women. This process follows strong heteronormative logic: the sexual differences are only possible in a gendered framework; gender is necessarily always already sexed and sex gendered; gender and sex are mutually constitutive.[3] In the light of these theories, it is important that we realise the mutual construction of gender and sex and challenge the established binary oppositions. ‘Queer’ is a powerful way to challenge the sex/gender binaries and norms and to open up possibilities for alternative expressions of genders and sexualities.

 

  1. Gay Identity Politics, Feminism and Queer Theory

Distinct as feminism and Gay Liberation Movement in their own trajectories, the connections between the two are well worth noting. Second Wave Feminism and Gay Liberation Movement both emerged in the 1960s and 70s; they both articulated politics of equality and freedom on the basis of a coherent identity, which was exactly why they were problematised and challenged in the 1980s and 90s by Third Wave Feminism and queer politics: Was identity politics an effective way to articulate politics? What possibilities had identity politics marginalised and hidden? Queer politics emerged in this context: it reflects on the pros and cons of identity politics represented by Second Wave Feminism and Gay Liberation Movement and explores possibilities for alternative politics. Feminism and queer theory converged: Queer theory emerged and developed through active engagement with feminism; it expanded the parameters of traditional feminism by bringing the question of sex and sexuality into feminist debates. Many leading queer theorists, such as Judith Butler and Teresa de Lauretis, are also important feminists. In this sense, queer theory would not be what it is today without feminism.

 

  1. Feminism and Queer Theory in China

The development of feminism and queer theory in China must be understood in a transnational and postcolonial context.

 

In her influential work on feminism in China, Tani Barlow demonstrates the close connections between Chinese feminism and transnational feminism: although funü, nüxing and nüren all translate women, the three terms denote different subjectivities under varying power geometrics and governmentalities. In the 1980s, funü the socialist subject began to decline; nüxing the subject of feminism and nüren the subject of consumerism began to rise with the influence of global capitalism and transnational neoliberalism.[4] The Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing marked the entry of Chinese feminism into the geopolitics of gender in the post-Cold War era. Queer theory was translated into the mainland Chinese context at almost the same time. It must be noted that translation is not merely about rendering one language into another; it is also about making social changes possible. Chinese scholars and activists have not only translated terms such as women and queer from Western to Chinese context; they have also brought specific subject positions, political cultures, values and ideologies into China. The whole process of translation occurs in a global geopolitics characterised by unequal power relations and manifests Western hegemony of culture. Our focus here, however, is on the impact of Western discourses of gender and sexuality on China, as well as the variations and mutations that cultural translation brings about.

 

Oddly, feminism and gay identity politics have not had many intersections in Mainland China. This can be attributed partly to the ignorance about sex and sexuality by state feminism represented by the Women’s Federation. The state feminism in China advocates monogamous and heteronormative sex by promulgating specific norms of gender and sexuality. The Gay Liberation Movement in China, on the other hand, has been heavily dominated by men; their interests in global capitalism are intertwined with their complicity in patriarchy.

 

In the same way that various strands of Western feminism entered China in the 1980s and left their own imprints, gay identity and queer politics were introduced into China at almost the same time in the 1990s. It is no surprise that gay films and queer films coexist in China at the same time, or there are both ‘gay’ elements and ‘queer’ elements in the same film. Gay identity politics and queer politics coexist and contest each other in today’s China. This should not be seen as ‘belated modernity’ or failure in cultural translation. Rather, it demonstrates the dynamics of queer in its active process of formations and translations in various locations; it challenges the Eurocentrism of queer and opens up possibilities for various forms of queer existence.

Feminism has played a crucial role in China’s queer politics. Many queer activists are also self-identified feminists. Lesbians and gays often work together in community empowerment and social engagement. A good example in case is the same-sex weddings designed by Tongyu, a lesbian NGO, and participated by both gay men and women. Beijing Queer Film Festival has always had a feminist presence. The presence this year is particularly evident, in part because of the gender identity of this year’s chairman-on-duty. I believe that the emphasis on feminism is an important step in the history of the Beijing Queer Film Festival.

 

  1. the Interplay of the Local, the Regional and the Global

Is it possible to talk about indigenousness and national identity in the context of globalisation and postcoloniality? The answer is yes but the question is how: how can we have a local focus without subscribing to nationalism and the China/West dichotomy? The programme of this year’s Festival addresses the question in its own way and with a strong focus on locality: Louisa Wei, Huang Yu-Shan and Andrew Yu-Su Cheng’s films are distinctively local; they tell stories specific to locations such as San Francisco, Tai Nan and Shanghai. These stories may or may not intersect with the grand narratives constructed by the nation state and global capitalism. Together they form imagined identities and communities of Chinese queers in the attempt to challenge the Eurocentrism of global queers. This echoes Kuan-Hsing Chen’s notion of ‘Asia as method’: the communication and dialogues between different countries and regions in Asia may challenge the Western cultural hegemony and contribute to imagining alternative worlds.[5]

 

The films in this year’s programme are not divided by nationalities. In feature-length films and shorts, Chinese language films and foreign language films are put together and in dialogue with each other. This demonstrates a strong consciousness of the unequal power relations in global geopolitics on the part of the Film Festival organisers and their conscious efforts to remap and reimagine these relations.

 

  1. Activism

‘Activism’ has been clearly raised as a slogan in this year’s Film Festival. Traditional film festivals have paid much attention to the artistic and technical merits, as well as commercial values, of films. Beijing Queer Film Festival, on the other hand, places great emphasis on the social impact of films; that is, how films can participate in and promote social changes? Many films in the programme are activist films and they serve the purpose of social movements; filmmaking itself is the process of community engagement and mass mobilisation. The Festival refuses to rank films and give awards to individuals; there are no celebrities, stars and red carpets. All the submitted films that meet the requirement for exhibition are shown at the Festival. The organisation of the Festival is democratic. The film festival in its current form is social activism in itself: it changes the definition of film festivals and initiates an open and free form of community culture.

 

Cui Zi’en, one of the organisers of the Film Festival, states: ‘we do not think that we should prioritise the so-called standardised and refined films. We advocate the type of social activism that aims to change the society with filmmaking. Films can be directly connected to, and thus to transform, the hard world and times we live in.’[6] Yang Yang, another organiser of the Festival, remarks on the significance of the Festival in contesting dominant ideologies at the critical juncture of the Fifth edition of the Festival being closed down by the government, ‘To question and to challenge the dominant ideology, isn’t this the value and objective of the Beijing Queer Film Festival?[7] From these statements we can conclude that organising the Beijing Queer Film Festival is in itself social activism. The continuing existence of the Film Festival is an important marker of the development of the Chinese society.

 

I have so far discussed three characteristics of this year’s Festival: (1) a clear focus on gender; (2) the interplay of the local, the regional and the global; (3) an emphasis on social activism. This edition also manifests other features such as its emphasis on history-writing and theoretical reflections and a strong focus on shorts as a popular form of contemporary media. The central focus of the Festival is on films; the slogan ‘we want to see queer films’ can be interpreted in many ways: we see queer films either because these films are interesting, or because the topics of the films speak to our experiences and emotions, either because these films offer us opportunities to get together with friends old and new, or because watching films is a good way to kill time … all of them are perfectly legitimate reasons to watch films. And we can be sure that it is fun to watch films, either alone or with a group of people. I look forward to the happy time of watching queer films with young filmmakers and audiences.

 

[1] Michel Foucault, History of Sexuality, vol.1. New York: Vintage, 1990.

[2] Joan W. Scott, “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis,” American Historical Review 91, No. 5 (December 1986), pp. 1053–75.

[3] Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, New York: Routledge, 1990.

[4] Tani Barlow, The Question of Women in Chinese Feminism, Durham: Duke University Press, 2004.

[5] Kuan-Hsing Chen, Asia as Method—Towards De-Imperialization, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2010.

[6] Cui Zi’en, ‘Interpreting Beijing Queer Film Festival: Filmmaking as Social Activism: an Interview With Cui Zi’en’, in Cheng Qingsong ed. The Youth Film Manual, Vol. 3, Shandong People’s Press, 2010

[7] Yang Yang, ‘Preface’ in the 5th Queer Film Festival programme, 2011.

 

《一路酷到迈阿密》On a Cool Road to Miami: Queering Performance

《一路酷到迈阿密》

徐蓁

 

On a Cool Road to Miami: Queering Performance

Jane V. Hsu

 

作者介绍:

徐蓁 Jane V. Hsu

独立电影和艺术演出的策展人,她的工作集中在中国的性/别,爱滋病和暴力等议题。她参与评审了一些独立电影节,其中包括北京独立电影节,期间她遭遇了政府的软禁。目前她正在做的工作包括与巴巴拉翰墨合作的实验电影项目、联合国妇女基金的联席主席、以及与哥伦比亚大学东亚图书馆合作编辑第一部后中国电影综合目录。

Jane V. Hsu is an independent curator of moving image and performance. Her work focuses on gender, sexuality, HIV/AIDS awareness, and violence in China, and she juries numerous independent film festivals, including the censored Beijing Independent Film Festival, where she was held under house arrest. Current projects include producing an experimental film with Barbara Hammer, co-chair of the UN Women’s Committee, and co-editing the first comprehensive catalog of post-2000 Chinese films in collaboration with the East Asian CV Starr Library at Columbia University.

大约自二十年前,中国的独立电影在西方电影节斩露头角。基于在国内受到高度审查和长期打压的情况,一批中国独立电影导演跳过国家认证版权,直接让作品在国外参展,一系列的放映成功取得了西方国家的关注,并在国际电影节上占领一席之地。

多样化的网上视频亦提供给国内观众一个空间得以欣赏中国独立电影。“中国酷儿遇到迈阿密”是首次在佛罗伦达迈阿密的同志骄傲月上播放中国独立LGBT电影。公开的放映活动和讨论环节,让一些中国的电影工作者能有机会与迈阿密的观众交流观映感受和分享创作经历。尽管在中国同性恋的圈子已经不小,但是与同性恋有关的活动仍然有限。

中国电影的工作者崔子恩、何小培、袁园以及范坡坡透过拍摄独立纪录片见证着过往二十年中国社会的改变,向国内的观众展示了中国同性恋者不为人知的一面。相对90年代的纪录片环境,那时的中国电影在国外放映并扬名,而在国内却鲜为人知。

同时表演的还有艺术家妮娜多提的艺术作品“潮热吧”。2009年艺术家妮娜多提曾在上海西方租借地的薄荷吧,试图一人演绎她女性更年期的心路历程。不幸的是,在表演开始之前,妮娜多提收到必须终止演出的消息,而且所有道具被黑色垃圾袋收走。妮娜多提是“酷概念博物馆”的始创人及艺术总监,受到中国女权主义及同性恋者艺术活动的影响,“酷概念博物馆”已经收藏了中国重要的独立电影导演拍摄有关同性者恋题材的作品。

妮娜多提过去计划在上海演出被叫停一事,亦是导致“酷概念博物馆”举办“中国酷儿遇到迈阿密”活动的原由。同样,对于生命的期待,亦使她愿意让她的表演不断重演,再重演,直至圆满、成功、完美。而尝试以酷儿角度,去重看生活中的一些被禁止、被停演,又能体验出其中被忽略的感悟。

“潮热吧”的演出被叫停绝不是单一发生的偶然性事件。诸如纪录片中的主角们,每天的生活本就充斥着不同的无法如愿的期望。“奇缘一生”(2012) 中,导演何小培和袁园利用「形婚」来反复探讨婚姻机制。男同性恋者与女同性恋者通过网络认识,寻找能够「形婚」的伴侣,维持传统的家庭婚姻观念及异性恋婚姻的需求。形式婚姻不仅给同性恋者的组织活动开辟了一个空间,而且给异性恋的婚姻提供了借鉴,说明所有的婚姻都是仪式,都有荒谬的一面。

崔子恩导演的作品“雾语” (2003) 则是北美首映。这部作品亦纪录了二十年前中国独立电影活动所隐藏的一面。画面弥漫抽像的气氛以及诡异的光影:晨曦时份,一个接一个来自金星和天王星的外星男人,以人类裸体的面貌现身,唱出和谐的歌声,步落弯弯曲曲的山峡。当他们抵达山脚的时候,男性人类围绕着他们,以形恶相声称要绑架他们。梦常被形容为日常生活里的自我防卫系统。的确,于2003年拍摄这部以外星人作隐喻的诗作的时候,男同性恋于父权社会之中是没法可以高调地论述的。为了避开严谨的审查,崔子恩选择以演绎的方式进行。

「相信眼前所见的,才能看得见眼前的景像。」范坡坡透过两部他的作品:彩虹伴我心 (2012),讲述中国新一代成年人向母亲表白性取向及来自阴道(2013),讲述一场中国学生开放舞台让女性放声说出她们的性器官。这两部作品都假定故事会以失败告终,新一代的年青男女不敢向他们的母亲承白同性恋取向,女性始终会害怕及漠视在公众场合公开讨论自己的性器官。结果却完全相反,范坡坡不但推反了预先的假设,反得到正面的结果。“彩虹伴我心” 里的母亲鼓励子女的坦诚,即使面对反对的政治环境和社会声会,依然给予支持。演出“来自阴道”的女性在舞台上赢取一众观众的热烈掌声和接纳,赞咳她们的开放和慷慨分享。

尽管如此,仍然只有在一幕幕期许失望的情节重复在生活中上映,才能够引领一众地下组织能够走到最终完满的一步。

 

On a Cool Road to Miami: Queering Performance

Jane V. Hsu

 

 

《一路酷到迈阿密》

徐蓁

 

Twenty years ago, Chinese independent film made its mark in the Western world because it was heavily censored or banned in China. Chinese directors used piracy to spread their films beyond Chinese borders and gained worldwide notoriety at international film festivals and screenings.

 

Online streaming video has provided Chinese audiences to watch Chinese independent films. “Queer China Meets Miami” was the first survey of Chinese independent LGBT films from China during gay pride month in Miami, Florida. The film screenings and discussions allowed the filmmakers an opportunity to publicly screen and discuss their work with a Miami audience, LGBT related activities are limited in spite of the large gay population.

 

Works by filmmakers Cui Zi’en, He Xiaopei, Yuan Yuan, and Fan Popo have used independent documentary film as witness to the changes in contemporary Chinese society, but in the last twenty years, used this platform to expose the Chinese audiences about LGBT life in their own country. This is a step beyond the Chinese documentaries of the 90’s, often screened and celebrated at festivals abroad yet completely unknown to the very population the films are about.

 

There was also a re-performed performance piece by Nina Dotti, “Hot Flashes Bar.” In 2009, the artist attempted to perform a one-woman work about menopause at the Mint bar in a westernized section of Shanghai. Before the performance could begin, she was told to stop and place all props in black garbage bags. The artist, who is also the director and founder of the Chill Concept, was inspired by the political advancements in feminist and LGBT related art events and China. The Chill Concept has collected the works of key Chinese independent film directors focusing on LGBT issues.

 

It was in the discussion of Nina Dotti’s performance that the topic of actually re-performing a failed event from the past that precipitated the selection of the following films for the program at The Chill Concept titled, “Queer China Meets Miami.” For some reason, life sets forth an expectation to re-perform achievements and goals–to practice again and again until a satisfaction, or perfection is received. With successful performances, there lies the inevitable defeat. Why not take performance from a queer perspective and revisit the underappreciated moments of failure?

 

The re-performance of failure is articulated not just in the “Hot Flashes Bar” performance, but documentation of performances in everyday life. In Our Marriages: When Lesbians Marry Gay Men (2012), directors He Xiaopei and Yuan Yuan reexamine the institution of marriage with contract marriages, when gay men and lesbian women meet, usually online, to form a marital union in order to maintain traditional family expectations and receive benefits otherwise left to heterosexual couples. Not only is the idea of the marital union often wrought with the expectation of failure, but the irony in the contract marriage assumes the failure of incompatibility of the marriage of a gay man and lesbian woman. The probability of performance failure here is certain.

 

Director Cui Zi’en presented the world premiere of his film, The Narrow Path (2003), a founding documentary that was part of the underground movement in Chinese independent film twenty years ago. A surreal atmosphere frames a strange occurrence: one by one, at dawn, alien men from Venus and Uranus in the shape of nude humans arrive on early, walking down a curvy mountain road, singing in harmony. As they reach the bottom of the mountain, they are approached by human men, who circle around them, harass and threaten to kidnap them. Dreams are often said to be the protective mechanism for the performance of everyday life. Certainly, at the time of the filming in 2003, this poetic metaphor of aliens in the company of everyday men speaks clearly of a gay voice that could not be so directly stated on video. In order to avoid censorship, Cui Zi’en chose to perform

 

Have trust in what you see, and you will see exactly what’s in front of you. This notion presents itself by the two of Fan Popo’s films: Mama Rainbow (2012), about Chinese youth adults coming out to their mothers, and VaChina Monologues (2013), a compilation of live performances by Chinese college students on women speaking out loud about their vaginas. There is a pre-assumption of a failed performance, both by the young men and women afraid to tell their mothers about their homosexuality, and the fear and ignorance that comes with speaking about a woman’s vagina in public. However, Fan Popo turns this assumption of failure around, creating positive outcomes to the performative moments: The mothers in Mama Rainbow embrace their children’s bravery and support them both personally, even with political and public activism. The women performing the VaChina Monologues receive roaring laughter, acceptance and applause for the openness and generosity.

 

However, there’s only the re-performance of failure that can lead the ultimate perfection of the underground.
July, 2014, New York, NY
Filmography

 

Mama Rainbow (dir. Fan Popo, 2012) HD video, color, 28 min.

The Narrow Path (dir. Cui Zi’en, 2003) DV video, color, 73 min.

Our Marriages (dir. He Xiaopei & Yuan Yuan, 2013) HD video, color 60 min.

Queer China, China Comrade (dir. Cui Zi’en, 2008) Cui Zi’en Studio, DV video, color, 60 min.

VaChina Monologues (dir. Fan Popo, 2013) HD video, color 28 min.

 

[中译Chinese Translation:何小培He Xiaopei]

《在中国独立数字纪录片中体现的酷儿主体》

《在中国独立数字纪录片中体现的酷儿主体》

陆克

 

Embodying the Queer Subject in Independent Chinese Digital Documentary

Luke Robinson

 

作者介绍:

陆克Luke Robinson

苏塞克斯大学媒体与电影系电影研究专业讲师。主要著述有专著《从摄影棚到街头:中国独立纪录片研究》((Palgrave Macmillan出版社,2013), )以及有关华语故事片、动画片、纪录片和电影节的论文若干。

Luke Robinson is Lecturer in Film Studies in the Department of Media and Film at the University of Sussex, UK. He is the author of Independent Chinese Documentary: From the Studio to the Street (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), and various book chapters and articles on Chinese-language feature film, animation, documentary and film festivals.

 

本文先从杜海滨2005年的作品《人面桃花》(Beautiful Men)中的两个片段说起。影片在开始的大约20分钟内就带我们进入到成都的一个因其变装表演而出名的“同志吧”的舞台后场。画面聚焦在那些作为纪录片主角的反串舞蹈演员们身上。伴随着演出者们陆续从化妆室出来准备登台,一个叫Shu Qi的演员单独留了下来。尽管Shu Qi已经明显注意到正在拍摄他的摄像机,但他仍然非常专注地沉浸在自己舞台形象的装扮上,并且对着化妆室的镜子上下打量精心调整着。他裸露着的大腿从裙子的侧缝中依稀可见。接着,他便转身通过后台的一个门帘然后就消失了。摄像机在简短地中止后,也跟随他穿过门帘进入到一片漆黑之中。然后,摄像机便在舞台两边的一个过道空隙处窥视着舞台上的一切,在这里它可以毫无障碍地观察到所有反串角色们在舞台上的表演。大约10分钟后,画面又回到了化妆室,此刻,我们看到的是脱了演出服装的反串角色们。摄像机聚焦在一个男孩身上。坐在镜头前的他,脸上仍然打着粉底,头上戴着假发,而且还戴着一个内置软垫的加厚胸罩。他脱掉假发,瞥了摄像机一眼,上身摆弄出一种时尚的姿势,嘴里还一边伴随着舞台那边传来的歌声而哼唱着。接着,他匆匆地脱掉胸罩,然后就突然站了起来。胸罩的垫片从他裸露的躯干上滑了下来。他穿上了牛仔裤。随着镜头拉回放低,反串角色说道:“结束了,完工了,我们终于可以回家做回男人了。现在,我又要变回男人了,每一天我们不得不既要扮演男人又要扮演女人。”

《人面桃花》是20世纪初中国很多关注室内同性恋场景的独立电影之一。这些独立电影尤其将反串作为它们主要的研究对象。这些独立电影包括了:张元的《金星小姐》(Miss Jin Xing)(2000),陈苗(Michelle Chen)的《上海男孩》(The Snake Boy) (2002),韩涛的《宝宝》(Baobao)(2004),张涵子的《唐唐的故事》(Tangtang)(2004),高天的《美美》(Meimei)(2005),蒋志的《香平丽》(Xiang Pingli)(2005)。这些纪录片都体现出一种关怀社会底层群体(subaltern communities)的趋势。而这种趋势完全得益于上世纪90年代末数码摄影设备的发展和大量使用。然而,我认为,这两个片段之所以特别值得我们关注是出于两个方面的原因。首先,它们视觉化了数字视频的一个特质,即中国独立电影人经常强调的纪录片创作的意义在于其轻巧性(lightness)的特质。第二,与这些纪录片的视觉语言相关的轻巧性[的特质也产生了一系列]的问题化后果(problematic consequences)。[而这些问题化后果在这两个片段中同样]表现了出来。

Paola Voci于2010年最先提出“轻巧性”(lightness)的概念来描述当代中国视频生产的许多特性。1 需要强调的是,这个概念可能在其他的情境中被称作数字的“低阻抗”因素(“low impedance”factor):无论线上线下,都能够被容易地复制和传播,而且轻量级DV摄影机体现出极其灵活性和便捷性的特点。而后者正是一些中国纪录片电影导演所强调的二十世纪九十年代以来改变电影实践的重要特性。吴文光(2001)认为DV摄影机的尺寸[的变小]促进了个体或个人电影制作实践,同时也改变了电影制作者和被拍摄主体之间的关系。2 吴文光还认为,DV摄影机尺寸已经小到一个人就可以进行操作。这种操作的灵活性和可移动性使纪录片主体能够很好地适应拍摄装备的在场(presence),从而不自觉地打破了拍摄者和被拍摄者之间的边界。吕新雨(2005)等学者则认为DV摄影机进入了以前无法进入的空间,因此,摄像的个人空间和公共空间之间的关系被打破了。3这个过程更是受到了图像的电子化传播的影响而加速进行,因为电子化的传播让图像的线上和线下流通变得更加快捷。因此,潜在的偷窥(voyeurism)成倍的增长。如果DV摄影机尤其擅长进入私人空间,或者是那些以前不可进入空间,那么它们也能够呈现那些仍然应该保持私密的事件——诸如太过直接和令人尴尬的照片——也能够让那些不愿公开的纪录片主体被迫[曝露在公众的视野中]。

而上述所有的争议点都可以在先前我所描绘的两个片段中找到。第一,我们看到摄影机出现在化妆室,接着移动到后台区域,窥视着舞台上的表演。DV摄像机可以进入那些不寻常的空间,同时,它对于各种不同的空间的侵入能力使人担忧。第二,在第一个片段中,反串角色离开化妆间,然后在门关掉的最后一个镜头处暂停,并且在镜子中看着自己。在那个时候,让观众感觉表演者已经忘记段锦川仍在拍摄。换言之,那个瞬间不是为公众记录的,而是纯私人的影像。这再次涉及到了窥视的问题。尽管这个问题在第一个片段中没有很好的呈现出来,因为最后我们还是从表演者的背后观看了表演。但我认为,在第二个展现演员脱衣过程的片段中,[拍摄者]对那些反串角色的身体的兴趣直指[对偷窥问题]的担忧。[在第二个片段中,]摄像机对于表演者生理特征的过度迷恋,以及段锦川为观众寻找那些可以表明表演者们故意模糊的性和性别身份的符号变得非常明显。在这个过程中,反串的身体成为了Bill Nichols(1992)所说的“求知窥视”(“epistophilic voyeurism”)的中心,即一种为获得知识而进行的观看行为。4

我认为这种对身体的关注表明,尽管数码摄影机帮助生产了这样的影像,但它并不能决定它们的形式。相反,正是其轻巧性让那些与独立纪录片生产相关的问题更加显现。对酷儿身体的迷恋可以被看作是九十年代初期以来对独立电影、纪录片和表演艺术中对于身体在场(physical presence)的担忧。这和“现场”的实践相关——在某个情景或地点。而这个实践是被当时很多的从事各种媒体工作的艺术家和电影人所发展出来的。涉身经验的核心其实就是作为一种实践的现场的显著部分: 艺术者或者导演,在某种意义上,是表演或是被记录的事件的一个组成部分,也是关于世界的知识生产的一个组成部分。然而,在《人面桃花》和所有这个时期关于反串角色的纪录片作品中[所呈现的]身体都不是导演的身体,而是被拍摄的纪录片主体的身体。正是纪录片主体的身体而不是导演的身体成为了通向关于世界的知识的渠道。我认为这是因为杜海滨和大多数这个时期拍摄关于反串纪录片的导演一样,[他们]并非来自于[他们所拍摄的主体]的群体。他们用局外人的身份来看待[这些纪录片主体]。因此,他们对于表演者的身体的关注是因为他们[将拍摄主体]作为一种景观(spectacle),并将他们的身体看成是进入一种异样的亚文化的切入点。这种亚文化里充斥着有关摄像机前和摄像机后的人们之间的有关责任、认同、参与和权力差异的动量关系。

因此,《人面桃花》中的影像想告诉人们的是技术、电影实践和社会关系之间的互动关系。轻便的数码摄影机的在19世纪90年代末期的大量使用使电影人能够进入底层民众的空间。而在此之前,局外人进入这样的底层空间是非常难的。但由于电影人通常是局外人,他们通常将他们的拍摄主体看成知识的客体,或者作为景观,而不是主动生产知识的主体。结果,当在拍摄酷儿主体的时候,[电影人]尤其关注反串的身体,[并总是将这种身体]与一种偷窥的视角相联。而这种偷窥的视角正是被数字摄像机自身的方便性所强化的。我认为这种偷窥视角在拍摄经历手术——通常是变性手术——的酷儿身体的时候达到了顶峰。人们可以找到当时的相关电影,比如张元的《金星小姐》和蒋志的《香平丽》。

如果上述这组关系是20世纪初期的有关同性恋主体的数字纪录片的主要特点,那么最近的数字纪录片在很大程度上开始打破这种范式。早期的纪录片太过于关注反串,或者常常将在“同志吧”等场景所进行的拍摄融入到[拍摄者]的叙事之中,而新近的作品则突破了这些界限。近期的一些纪录片关注的主题包括了“出柜”的故事(“coming out” stories)(范坡坡,《柜族》(Chinese Closet)(2009));中国酷儿的历史和经验(崔子恩,《志同志》(Queer China, ‘Comrade’ China)(2008);赤裸裸的性描写(周鸣,《Gay那活儿》(All About Gay Sex)(2010));当今中国同性恋的平凡的每日生活经验(“同志亦凡人”网站的视频(the webcast Queer Comrades)(2007-))。也许这种多元化是不可避免的。如果“轻巧性”是数字生产技术的一个特性,那么“民主性”便是其另外一个特性。随着业余[影像]生产的增长,更加易得和更加廉价的软件和硬件让那些非专业的媒介从业人员参与到了影像生产的过程中来。而这个过程也正是“民主化”的过程。但我这么说是有特定的[影像]生产的语境的:人们开始认同由酷儿导演(queer-identified director)所拍摄的关于酷儿主体的影像。这些电影再也不是由局外人从外部的视角看待[圈内的事情]。取而代之的是,人们开始看到一些[关于酷儿主体的]自我民族志(auto-ethnographic)的影像作品。也许这解释了为什么当下的酷儿纪录片呈现出多样的叙述,并与21世纪早期的电影作品逐渐不同。

接下来我的问题便是:这种民主化的生产会对独立纪录片对于酷儿主体的呈现(representations)带来什么样的影响?在这里我并不是指题材或叙事,而是指视觉形式(visual form)。那些原来在镜头前的人现今成为了摄像机的操作者,而这种变化正是中国酷儿媒介生产[所经历的]。正如Wang Yiman(2010)指出,这成为了一种被广泛接受的中国独立纪录片的实践形式。5你可以从目前大量的正式的参与性纪录片(participatory documentary projects)中看到[这种实践形式],比如吴文光的“村民影像计划”(Village Video Project)(2005-)。专业人员和非专业人员合作生产了一系列的电影。接着便出现了农民工和乡村电视录像制作人通过在地的非正式的媒介机制所生产的更加业余的[纪录片]。最后,你可以看到很多围绕着具有潜在政治影响的事件而展开的各种由行动主义者们所拍摄的影像,比如电影人艾晓明关于北川地震的作品。而这些作品所面临的最严峻的问题就是[电影]作者身份及主体性:究竟在何种程度上“村民影像计划”让那些个体的村民的声音被真正听见?那些由农民工和为农民工所生产的非正式的影像与国家电视台[所拍摄的类似题材的]影像有何不同?前者与那些由受过很好教育的、中产阶级的电影人所制作的独立影像又有何不同?为了将这些问题融入我对酷儿媒体生产的思考,我现在将转向分析范坡坡和郑凯贵的(David Cheng)《新前门大街》(New Beijing, New Marriage)(2009)。

《新前门大街》是一部三十分钟的短纪录片。该片记录了两对同性恋于2009年情人节在北京前门举行婚礼的故事。影片追踪了两对恋人——一对男性,一对女性——穿上了西式白色婚礼的礼服,坐上开往前门的出租车,然后在公众面前进行了一些诸如合影的婚礼仪式。当时,人群开始聚集在这两对恋人周围,于是[纪录片导演便]直接与那些围观的人进行交流,并探讨他们对同性恋的看法。最后,影片以世界各地的同性恋婚礼的蒙太奇剪辑而结束,并呼吁人们在中国认可这种同性的婚恋。

在观看《新前门大街》的时候,你能直接并强烈地感受到一种全新呈现范式(representational paradigm)。没有赤裸裸的窥视,也没有那种你在《人面桃花》中可以感受到的对作为身体景观的电影主体的身体的强烈兴趣。与《人面桃花》中的化妆室的场景不同,《新前门大街》在呈现新娘和新郎为婚礼而着装打扮的场景时避免了“裸露”的镜头,换之以他们精心化妆和认真整理衣服的镜头。在这部片子的进程中,身体不再作为“求知窥视”的客体,而是作为一种能动[主体](an agent),从而在公众面前建构一种全新的酷儿身份:身体成为了媒介本身。这尤其表现在《人面桃花》中,以及这两对恋人是如何使用婚礼仪式的涉身表演(embodied performance)来向一个外部世界展示一种公共的、明晰的且平常的酷儿身份。他们不再是电影人通向和“理解”某种亚文化,或者阐释某种亚文化的渠道。《新前门大街》和《人面桃花》的关键区别就是范坡坡和郑凯贵探索了数字摄像机的“轻巧性”并将这种“轻巧性”随着电影主体从一种内部的空间(interior space)——即电影开始的那个空间——移向了一个外部的(exterior)、公共的空间——即前门。在这部纪录片中被创造的正是对该事件以及对电影主角们的性的一种明确地、公开的记录。但是范坡坡和郑凯贵同样使用这个过程来公开地表达他们自己作为酷儿电影人的身份。在电影的后半段,镜头从这两对恋人那里移向了观众,访问他们对于他们所看到[的事件]的看法。他们不仅仅呈现了他们自己对[他们所记录的]主体的认同,他们还将身份认同的问题抛给了观众,让观众成为了摄像机的客体,而让自己成为了公共话语的能动[主体](agents of public discourse)。因此,电影拍摄作为一种涉身实践成为了一种新的酷儿身份。这种新的酷儿身份存在于真实的实践和空间中,而不仅仅只是被视频捕捉到的。

我认为这里存在着一种转变,一种Paul Connerton(1989)所形容为从“标记”(“inscription”)到“融入”(“incorporation”)的转变过程。6标记就是一个身体被作为知识的客体而被捕捉或记录的过程——正如《人面桃花》。与此不同的是,涉身实践不仅支持社会知识的形式,同时也产生着新形式的知识。而这个过程正是“融入”的过程。它体现在《新前门大街》的主体们为表达一种新的、公共的酷儿身份而进行的白色婚礼仪式的过程中。同样重要的是,在范坡坡和郑凯贵的纪录片中,电影拍摄的这个过程本身变成了一种可以被融入的过程。当酷儿主体参与到摄纪录片生产过程时,他们已经使用电影实践来融合他们自身的身份,不管他们是在镜头中,还是通过使用摄像机的方式。在这个过程中,他们通过生产反串电影的方式为酷儿身体建立了一种新的、显著的空间。在这个空间中,他们是能动[主体]而不只是客体。

总的来说,这最终让我们回到技术,电影实践和社会关系之间的联系。如果说数字摄像机的“轻巧性”帮助增加了早期反串电影中的电影主体和电影制作者之间的复杂关系,那么它同时也生产了一种不那么具有窥视性的影像的新形式。当酷儿主体拿起了数字摄像机,他们开始探索摄像机的方便性以生产一种新的酷儿主体性。这在《新前门大街》中表现得淋漓尽致:用想象酷儿涉身体验的方式让该片与早先的纪录片截然不同。我认为这个例子正表现了数字生产的冲击对纪录片的形式和语言产生了显著的影响。

 

 

参考文献

 

[1] P. Voci, China on Video: Smaller-screen Realities. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2010.

[2] 吴文光:《镜头像自己的眼睛一样》,上海:上海文艺出版社,2001年。[W. G. Wu, Jingtou Xiang Ziji de Yanjing Yiyang: Jilupian yu Ren, Shanghai: Shanghai Wenyi Chubanshe, 2001.]

[3] 吕新雨:《后记:中国纪录片的力与痛》,载郭净编:《云之南记录影像论坛》,昆明:云之南纪录片库系列, 第166-168页,2005 年。[X. Y. Lü, “Houji: Zhongguo Jilupian de Li yu Tong” (“Afterword: The Power and the Pain of Chinese Documentary”), in Guo Jing (ed.), Yun zhi Nan Jilu Yingxiang Luntan (Yunnan Multi Culture Visual Festival Catalogue). Kunming: Yunfest Documentary Archives Series, 2005, pp. 166-168.]

[4] B. Nichols, Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1992.

[5] Y. M. Wang, “‘I Am One of Them’ and ‘They Are My Actors’: Performing, Witnessing, and DV Image-Making in Plebian China”, in Lü Xinyu, Lisa Rofel and Chris Berry (eds) The New Chinese Documentary Movement: For the Public Record. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2010, pp. 217-236.

[6] P. Connerton, How Societies Remember. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

 

Embodying the Queer Subject in Independent Chinese Digital Documentary

Luke Robinson

 

 

《在中国独立数字纪录片中体现的酷儿主体》

陆克

 

My point of departure for this essay is two short sequences from Du Haibin’s documentary Beautiful Men (2005). About twenty minutes into the film, which is set in a Chengdu gay bar famous for its drag shows, a scene occurs backstage among the fanchuan who are the documentary’s main subjects. As these performers file out of their dressing room in preparation for going onstage, one, named Shu Qi, lingers. Apparently half aware of the camera, but also absorbed in his stage persona, he looks over his shoulder into the dressing room mirror and poses slightly, exposing his thigh through a slit at the top of his skirt, before turning and disappearing backstage through a curtain. The camera pauses briefly, then follows him. It passes through the curtain, into darkness, before peeking through a gap in the stage wings. Here, the director has an unobstructed and unobserved view of the fanchuan performing. Ten minutes later, we are back in the dressing room. In this sequence, the fanchuan are undressing. The camera focuses on one boy, sitting at front of shot, still wearing makeup, a wig and a padded bra. He takes the wig off, glances at the camera, and strikes a stylized pose with his upper body, singing along with the music we can hear coming from the stage. Then, throwing off his bra, he stands up abruptly, sliding the padding down his naked torso and over the jeans that he is now shown to be wearing on his lower body. As the camera draws back and down, the fanchuan says: “Finished. Work’s over. At last we can go home and be men. I’m also going to be a man. Every day, we have to play at being men and women.”

 

Beautiful Men is one of a number of independent documentaries made in China in the early 2000s that took the domestic gay scene in general, and the fanchuan in particular, as their object of investigation: other examples would include Zhang Yuan’s Miss Jin Xing (2000), Michelle Chen’s The Snake Boy (2002), Han Tao’s Baobao (2004), Zhang Hanzi’s Tangtang (2004), Gao Tian’s Meimei (2005), and Jiang Zhi’s Xiang Pingli (2005). These films in turn were part of a broader trend towards shooting documentaries about subaltern communities that took off with the popular dissemination of digital video equipment at the end of the 1990s. I think, however, that these two brief sequences are particularly interesting for two reasons. First, because they help visualise one of the qualities of the digital camera that independent Chinese filmmakers have often emphasised as particularly significant for their documentary practice: its lightness. Second, because they capture some of the problematic consequences of this lightness in relation to the visual language of these documentaries.

 

‘Lightness’ is a term proposed by Paola Voci (2010), who uses it to describe many properties of contemporary Chinese video production. I want to concentrate here on what in other contexts might be termed digital’s ‘low impedance’ factor: the ease with which electronic images can be duplicated and distributed, either online or off, but also the flexibility and portability of commercially produced, light-weight DV cameras. It’s this latter quality that certain Chinese documentary directors have highlighted in relation to changes in film practice after the late 1990s. Wu Wenguang (2001) argues that the size of the DV camera has facilitated the growth of an individual or personal filmmaking practice, changing the relationship between filmmaker and filmed subject. Not only is the DV camera small enough to be handled by one person, but, Wu suggests, its consequent flexibility and mobility have encouraged the documentary subject’s acclimatisation to the equipment’s presence, implicitly breaking down the barrier between filmmaker and filmed. Scholars such as Lü Xinyu (2005)talk about the ways in which the DV camera can penetrate spaces that were previously hidden from view, in the process breaking down distinctions between private and public space on camera. This is further exacerbated by the electronic distribution of these images, given the speed with which they might widely circulate both on and offline. As a result, the potential for voyeurism increases exponentially. If DV cameras are particularly adept at entering private or previously inaccessible spaces, they are also capable of capturing events that should perhaps remain private – explicit or embarrassing images, for example – or which the documentary subject may prefer not to be made public.

 

All these issues are easily identifiable in these two short sequences. First, we have the presence of the camera first in the dressing room itself, and then moving into the backstage area, looking out onto the performance space proper. This gives a good sense both of the kinds of unusual spaces that the DV camera can give access to, but also how its ability to trespass between different kinds of spaces might give cause for concern. Second, there’s the moment in the first clip just as the fanchuan leave the dressing room, when the last one out of the door turns, pauses, and looks at himself in the mirror. In that moment, it feels as if the performer might almost have forgotten that Duan Jinchuan was still filming; in other words, that the moment wasn’t really intended for public record, that it’s a private one. This brings us directly to the question of voyeurism. Although this issue is formally shadowed in the first clip, where we end up peeping out onto the performers from behind their backs, I think it’s the interest in the bodies of the fanchuan – particularly in the second clip, where we’re watching them undress – that resonates most directly with this concern. There is a very strong sense here, I think, of how the camera is perhaps overly fascinated with the biology of the performers, of how Duan is looking for signs that will clarify their deliberately ambiguous gender and sexual identities for the viewer. In the process, the bodies of the fanchuan become the focus for what Bill Nichols (1992, 98) terms ‘epistophilic voyeurism’: the act of watching in the service of knowledge.

 

What I think this focus on bodies suggests is that, though the digital camera may facilitate the generation of such images, it doesn’t determine their form. Rather, its lightness helps foreground a number of other issues pertinent to independent documentary production. This fascination with the queer body could be seen as part of a broader concern with physical presence in independent film, documentary and performance art that stretches back to the early 1990s. This is related to the practice of xianchang – being ‘on the scene’, or ‘on location’ – developed during this period by artists and filmmakers working between the various media. The centrality of embodied experience was part of what distinguished xianchang as a practice: the artist or director was, in a sense, an integral part of the work performed or the event documented, and part of how knowledge about the world was generated. But in Beautiful Men, and in all the documentaries from this period about fanchuan, the bodies in question are not those of the director, but of the documentary’s subjects. It is their bodies, not the director’s, that have become the conduit for knowledge about the world. I think this reflects the fact that Du Haibin, and most of the other directors of this period who shot documentaries on fanchuan, were not part of this community. They came to it from the outside, looking in. Consequently, they seem drawn to the body of the performers both as spectacle, but also, I think, as a point of entry into a slightly alien subculture – a dynamic which raises questions around responsibility, consent, participation, and the power differential between those behind the camera, and those in front of it.

 

What these images in Beautiful Men speak to is therefore the interplay of technology, film praxis, and social relations. The proliferation of lightweight digital cameras in the late 1990s enabled filmmakers to enter subaltern space in ways that had previously been much harder to effect. However, since these filmmakers were often outsiders, they approached the people they were filming more as objects of knowledge, or as spectacle, than as active subjects in the creation of such knowledge. The result, in the instances of documentaries on queer subject matter, is a particular focus on the bodies of fanchuan that verges at times on the voyeuristic, a perspective only further exacerbated by the flexibility of the digital camera itself. I think this reaches its zenith in images of the queer body undergoing surgery – gender reassignment surgery, usually – that one can find in certain films from this period, such as Miss Jin Xing or Xiang Pingli.

 

If this particular set of relationships characterized digital documentaries on queer subjects through the early 2000s, what’s striking about more recent digital documentary is the extent to which it breaks with these paradigms. While the earliest documentaries focused overwhelmingly on fanchuan, or often made a point of incorporating similar scenes shot in gay bars into their narratives, more contemporary work has expanded beyond these confines. More recent documentary work addresses ‘coming out’ stories (Fan Popo, Chinese Closet (2009)); considerations of Chinese queer history and experience (Cui Zi’en, Queer China, ‘Comrade’ China (2008)); explicit sexual narratives (Zhou Ming, All About Gay Sex (2010)); and the mundane, everyday existence of gays and lesbians in the contemporary PRC (the webcast Queer Comrades (2007-)). Perhaps this pluralisation is inevitable. If ‘lightness’ is one set of qualities associated with digital production technologies, ‘democratization’ is another. Connected to the growth of amateur production, ‘democratization’ invokes the way in which accessible, affordable digital hardware and software have opened up the means of production to non-professional media workers. In the very specific production context I’m talking about here, however, it has meant that what one can start to identify is work on queer subject matter, by queer-identified directors. No longer are these film being produced from the outside, looking in; instead, we’re starting to see work that’s in some senses auto-ethnographic. This perhaps explains the variety of narratives present in contemporary queer documentary, and the ways in which they diverge from those of the early 2000s.

 

The question I want to finish on, then, is related, but distinct: what impact has this democratization of production had on independent documentary representations of the queer subject? I mean this not in relation to subject matter or narrative, but rather visual form. The kind of transition in which those who were previously in front of the camera have become camera operators is hardly unique to queer media production in China. As Wang Yiman (2010) suggests, it’s become a widely accepted practice in independent Chinese documentary. You can see it in the formal participatory documentary projects that now abound, such as Wu Wenguang’s Village Video Project (2005-), in which professionals and non-professionals collaborate to produce a series of films. Then there are the more strictly amateur productions that migrant workers and rural videographers cameras circulate through local informal media economies. Finally, you have the kinds of activist footage that coagulates around events of potential political significance, such as the Beichuan earthquake, and which in turn gets incorporated into work by, for example, filmmakers such as Ai Xiaoming.   Critical to all these productions have been questions of authorship and subjectivity:to what extent does the Village Video Project actually allow the voice of individual villagers to emerge? How do informally produced productions by migrant workers, for migrant workers, differ in form and subject matter from state television, or indeed from independent productions produced by educated, middle-class filmmakers? As a way of framing these problems in relation to queer media production, though, I want to turn to a documentary by Fan Popo and David Cheng, called New Beijing, New Marriage (2009).

 

New Beijing, New Marriage is a thirty-minute documentary short that chronicles the performance of two gay weddings at Qianmen in Beijing on Valentine’s Day 2009. It tracks two couples – one male, one female – as they get dressed as if for a western-style white wedding; travel in a taxi to Qianmen; and then perform a number of wedding rituals in public, such as having their photos taken together. As this takes place, crowds gather to watch the couples, who then engage directly with the people watching, talking to them about their views on homosexuality. The whole piece concludes with a montage of gay weddings from around the world, and an appeal for the recognition of same-sex partnerships in China.

 

Watching New Beijing, New Marriage, one gets a strong and immediatesense of a different representational paradigm emerging. There is no obvious voyeurism, no overt interest in the bodies of the film’s subjects as physical spectacle, of the kind that you get in Beautiful Men. In contrast to the dressing room scenes in the latter film, New Beijing, New Marriage avoids any trace of nudity in the sequences when the brides and grooms dress up for the ceremony, focusing instead on the application of makeup and the careful adjustment of clothing. Over the course of the documentary, the body’s status as the object of epistophilic voyeurism is replaced by its function as an agent through which queer identity can be constructed anew in public: the body as a medium in its own right. This is obvious if we think about the behaviour of the couples, and how they use the embodied performance of wedding rituals to enact queer identity as public, unambiguous and ordinary – bringing it to the outside world – rather than acting as a conduit through which filmmakers can access and ‘understand’ or interpret a subculture. But I’d argue that the filmmakers are doing the same. One of the key differences between New Beijing, New Marriage and Beautiful Men is the way in which Fan and Cheng exploit the lightness of the digital camera to move out from interior space – which is where the documentary starts – into exterior, public space – Qianmen – alongside the subjects themselves. What’s being created in the documentary is therefore an explicitly public record of this event, and of the sexualities of the protagonists. But Fan and Cheng also use this process to publicly articulate their own identity as queer filmmakers. In the second half of the film, they turn the camera away from the couples and onto the viewers, questioning them about their views of what they’ve seen. Not only do they present themselves as identifying with their subjects, they also turn the tables on their audience, making the crowd the object of the camera, and themselves agents of public discourse. Filmmaking as an embodied practice therefore becomes a way in which a new queer identity can actually be enacted in real time and space, and not just captured on video.

 

What I suggest we can identify here is a shift that Paul Connerton (1989) describes as the transition from ‘inscription’ to ‘incorporation’. Inscription is a process whereby the body is captured or recorded as an object of knowledge – as in Beautiful Men. In contrast, incorporation occurs when embodied practice functions to both sustain forms of social knowledge, and to generate new ones. This is what the subjects of New Beijing, New Marriage are doing when they appropriate white wedding rituals to articulate a newly public, queer identity. But what is equally important, however, is that in Fan and Cheng’s documentary, the process of filmmaking has itself become incorporative. As queer subjects have been absorbed into documentary production behind the camera, so they have used the practice of filmmaking to incorporate their own identity on and through the camera. In the process, they have established a new and distinct space for queer bodies in the production of xianchang filmmaking, one in which they are agents, rather than objects, of the praxis.

 

In conclusion, this ultimately returns us to the relationship between technology, film practice and social relations. If the lightness of the digital camera served to exacerbate the complex relationship between subject and filmmaker in the earliest films about fanchuan, it has also enabled new forms of image making to emerge that were less voyeuristic. As queer subjects have picked up the digital camera, they have started to exploit its flexibility to generate a different kind of queer subjectivity. In New Beijing, New Wedding, this is characterised by ways of imagining queer embodiment that diverge quite radically from those of the older documentaries. This, I would suggest, is definitely one example of how the impact of digital production can have a pronounced impact on documentary form and language.

 

References

 

Connerton, Paul. 1989. How Societies Remember. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lü, Xinyu. 2005. “Houji: Zhongguo Jilupian de Li yu Tong” (“Afterword: The Power and the Pain of Chinese Documentary”). In Yun zhi Nan Jilu Yingxiang Luntan (Yunnan Multi Culture Visual Festival Catalogue) edited by Guo Jing, 166-168. Kunming: Yunfest Documentary Archives Series.

Nichols, Bill. 1992. Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Voci, Paola. 2010. China on Video: Smaller-screen Realities. Abingdon and New York: Routledge.

Wang, Yiman. 2010. “‘I Am One of Them’ and ‘They Are My Actors’: Performing, Witnessing, and DV Image-Making in Plebian China”. In The New Chinese Documentary Movement: For the Public Record edited by Lü Xinyu, Lisa Rofel and Chris Berry, 217-236. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

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《记录酷儿時空于后社会主义中国》Documenting Queer Chronotope in Postsocialist China

Documenting Queer Chronotope in Postsocialist China

Shi-Yan Chao

 

《记录酷儿時空于后社会主义中国》

赵锡彦

 

作者介绍:

赵锡彦Shi-Yan Chao

纽约大学电影研究博士, 曾发表数篇有关华语酷儿文化的文章, 并任教于纽约大学与哥伦比亚大学。

Shi-Yan Chao received his PhD in Cinema Studies at New York University. He has published articles on Chinese queer culture and taught classes on documentary, horror, and Chinese/Taiwan cinemas at New York University and Columbia University.

 

The People’s Republic of the 1990s saw the fluorescence of independent documentary filmmaking. Wu Wenguang, Duan Jinchuan, Zhang Yuan and Jiang Yue launched a wave of documentary filmmaking commonly referred to as the Chinese New Documentary Movement. The movement’s filmmakers generally reject the official tradition of newsreels and zhuanti pian (literally, special topic films), which are characterized by images compiled in accordance with pre-written scripts, and by directly addressing the audience from a grand, top-down angle (1). Rather, they highlight a sense of immediacy and an “unscripted spontaneity” (2), showing a deep concern for “civilian life” from a “personal standpoint” (3). Distancing themselves from official discourses, they choose to document the lives of ordinary people, especially those on the margins of society, such as peasants, migrant workers, the homeless, the elderly, the homosexual, etc.

 

Whereas lesbianism has come into the focus of several films since the new millennium (beginning with The Box [Ying Weiwei, 2001] and Dyke March [Shi Tou, 2004]) (4), female impersonation, transvestism, and transgendering are also salient queer subjects (arguably beginning with Miss Jing Xing [Zhang Yuan, 2000]) in this wave of independent documentary filmmaking. In the following pages, I would like to zoom in on Snake Boy/Shanghai Nanhai (Michelle Chen and Li Xiao, 2001) and on Mei (Gao Tian, 2005), two DV documentaries of the latter category that were shown in the first and second Beijing Queer Film Festival, respectively. As the eponymous subject of Snake Boy, Coco is a talented, gay-identifying jazz singer based in Shanghai. Coco’s persona, however, has drawn criticism by noted China studies scholar Paul G. Pickowicz, for whom Coco appears to be little more than “a neocolonial invention and soulless plaything of the new and profoundly unattractive ‘expatriate’ community in Shanghai” (5). While Pickowicz’s stance is admittedly informed by some postcolonial criticism from a macro approach that unwittingly downplays the individual, my analysis on a micro level will point to the contrary, particularly the queer agency involved in Coco’s self-fashioning of his stage performance and offstage persona.

 

Whereas Coco’s performance enrolls transvestism not so much in attire as in vocal style, I will, then, bring in a discussion of stage artist Meimei, the central character of documentary Mei Mei. As the documentary shows, Meimei’s transvestism not only involves both attire and vocal style, but also comes in modulations in accordance with the changing geopolitics interwoven with the subject’s life trajectory. By bringing together Snake Boy and Mei Mei, I mean to highlight the queer agency negotiated through a spectrum of gender performance. In tension with Judith Butler’s formulation of the totalizing, heteronormative “gender performativity” (6), the queer agency thereby animated is notably played out against the parameters of both temporality and spatiality, reverberating with Judith Halberstam’s stress on “queer time and place” (7)—or simply “queer chronotope” (my term)—that is so foundational to the subject formation of many sexual dissidents. The subjects’ negotiation of their dissident subjectivities, as will become clear, is imbricated in China’s postsocialist economy. To some measure, it also contributes to what Chris Berry and Lisa Rofel call an “alternative archive” that, as a feature of the New Documentary Movement, houses unofficial records and affects unrecognized or marginalized by the official discourse (8).

 

Shot in 2001, Snake Boy presents a vivid portrayal of Coco, a then 24-years-old jazz singer who had been performing in Shanghai nightclubs since age seventeen. Trendy and fluent in English, Coco, to many’s surprise, is not a Shanghai native, but is originally from Shaoyang, a remote county in Hunan Province. While the word “snake” in the film’s English title refers to both the sign of the Chinese zodiac Coco belongs to and the mystical image of the snake to which Coco likens his own persona, the film’s Chinese title—literally “Shanghai Boy”—indicates Coco’s intimate blending of himself into Shanghai’s cosmopolitan culture and glamorous nightlife. Aside from the shots that follow the subjects or showcase the settings, the film is, for the most part, composed of newly conducted interviews with Coco, his parents, his former teachers, and those who befriend him either personally or professionally, interspersed with various footages, photos, and print materials about Coco from the past. Through pieces of information emerges a picture of Coco, who, with his parents both professionals in local Chinese opera, was born in 1977. He had shown his musical talent since childhood, and—at age sixteen in 1994—became the youngest student in the prestigious Shanghai Conservatory of Music. The first years of Coco’s study in Shanghai happened to witness the prospering of the city’s nightclubs that featured musical performances. Here Coco encountered jazz for the first time; enthralled by this particular musical genre, he soon began performing jazz in nightclubs too. He particularly modeled his singing style after Billie Holiday at that stage. In the meantime, Coco also came to terms with his gay identity. The film then recounts his first relationship—an interracial one—that happened in France in 1997, following his decision to drop out of school while pursuing a career as a stage and recording artist.

 

It is clear that two themes are fundamental to this narrative: one is about Coco’s performance, and the other concerns his sexual orientation. I find these two themes not only inseparable from each other but interwoven by a sense of queer agency. The subject’s immense attraction to jazz, notably, involves layers of negotiation in Coco. As a musical genre that underlines the performers’ improvisation and personal expression, jazz for many is characterized by expressive freedom and a sense of individualism. This characteristic, in a postsocialist setting, potentially resonates with some deep-seated sensibility that overtly rejects the previous generations’ forceful renunciation of any individualism in favor of the collective interests under socialist nation-building. Indeed, as an artist who grew up in post-Mao China, Coco associates his own pursuit of musical profession with his father, who, in Coco’s view, possesses great musical gifts but “his times [the socialist era] did not allow him the full opportunity to showcase his talent and fulfill his dream.” Given that Coco sees his artistic pursuit as succession of his father’s ambition, Coco’s artistic pursuit inextricably involves a negotiation for personal expression that, while bearing a postsocialist ramification, finds its clear voice in jazz performance.

Further, Coco’s jazz singing involves multiple boundary-crossings. When Coco sings like a Billie Holiday or a Lena Horne, he—as a non-black male jazz vocalist—virtually crosses the boundaries of race, gender, and culture on a phantasmatic level. He engages in a kind of sonic drag that, by crossing the boundaries of race, gender and culture through singing, recreates the mise-en-scène for his subject formation. This recreated mise-en-scène, so to speak, is key to Coco’s staging of a subjectivity that is different from the Chinese mainstream, and that is foremost marked by gender ambiguity and queerness. While Coco’s particular performing style allows him to exercise his queer agency, it also provides Coco with a strategy to negotiate his gay identity in public, where he can strategically act out—but not specifically spell out—his queer identification. This strategy was especially significant before March 2001, when homosexuality was finally classified as “normal” sexual behavior by the Chinese Psychiatric Association.

 

When Pickowicz criticizes Coco as a “neocolonial invention and soulless plaything” patronized by Shanghai’s expatriate community, I find Pickowicz essentially takes a macro approach, trying to critically define Coco’s performance in relation to a cultural framework dominated by the West. His criticism somehow neglects Coco’s gay identity, along with Coco’s negotiation for his queer subjectivity through musical performance. In his critique of Coco’s lack of agency, Pickowicz also conveniently ignores the fact that Coco does not stop at imitating Billie Holiday or being what Pickowicz describes as a “lesser version of the original” (9). As the film shows, Coco and his band have been avidly experimenting on fusing jazz to a variety of music, ranging from Chinese percussion music, to Chinese folk song, to bebop. Those musical experiments, of course, point to yet another layer of negotiation in Coco, who is first and foremost a self-conscious musical artist besides a gay vocalist.

 

As a Beijing-based stage performer, Meimei, like Coco, is not native to the metropolis, but was born and raised in Dandong, a small border city in Northeastern China (10). Meimei’s gender-bending performance, unlike Coco’s though, involves both vocal style and costuming. Shot between late 2003 and early 2005, this documentary consists of three sections. While the first section leads to Meimei’s “farewell concert” before his marriage to a man, which turns out to be short-lived, the second section revolves around Meimei’s attempt to return to performing life, which is eventually cut short by his illness, and the third section depicts Meimei’s sojourn in Dandong with his parents. While the film involves the subject’s travel between Beijing and his hometown, it notably sheds light on certain aspects of cross-dressing that are mediated by the changing geo-politics. For instance, when in Beijing, Meimei sometimes chooses to wear skirts even when he is offstage. But when Meimei leaves for Dandong, he must wear trousers instead, so as to eschew the scrutiny and gossip of the locals. Clearly, Meimei enjoys more autonomy in regard to his looks in Beijing, a metropolis, than in hishometown, a remote small city. As a small-town sexual dissident whose personal desire contradicts public expectation, Meimei could have sought relative autonomy in Beijing. However, by the film’s third section Meimei cannot help but concede to the more constricted regulatory institution of his hometown after losing his mobility due to his poor health and economic distress. Not only must Meimei give up his preferred feminine apparel and long hair, but he loses the stage for cross-dressing performance in his desired fashion. Meimei, during his protracted recovery, nonetheless starts to learn and practice Peking opera. In a broader sense, we must take into account that in Peking opera, a matrix of “formulated” (chengshi hua) skills associated with various role-types (hangdang) together with an abstract signifying system of stage installation have been developed throughout the centuries. While the gender system in Peking opera is not fully subject to the principles of “reality,” the operatic cross-dressing is also justifiable as a form of “art.” The fact that Meimei practices Peking opera while stranded in Dandong can thus be understood as an expedient through which he can moderately channel his desire for female impersonation, yet simultaneously distance himself from the negative imaginaries associated with “gender inversion.”While Coco’s jazz performance, as noted, registers a postsocialist ramification in its emphasis on personal expression and a Westernized outlook illegitimate in socialist China, Meimei’s cross-dressing performance inBeijing is likewise inflected by postsocialism on at least two levels. On one level, Meimei justifies his transvestite performance by arguing that he earns his living by his own labor (kao ziji de laoli zhuanqian). This argument acutely blends “money” and “labor” into each other, where money and labor represent two valuations most foundational to capitalism and socialism, respectively, while China’s postsocialism, as has been pointed out, is exactly marked by the uneasy coexistence of capitalism and socialism. On another level, Meimei’s rendition of Chinese pop songs from Hong Kong (particularly Anita Mui’s “Woman as Flower” [Nüren hua]) further indicates a cosmopolitan dimension in his queer subject formation that desires phantasmatic transcendence of the local by way not so much of the West (e.g. Coco’s case) as of the regional.

 

In sum, my analysis of Snake Boy and Mei Mei foregrounds the queer agency negotiated through a spectrum of gender performance, and it is played out against the parameter of temporality—namely postsocialist vs. socialist eras—and the parameter of spatiality, particularly the urban/rural divide, and the local-regional-global nexus. The subjects’ negotiation of their dissident subjectivities also brings into focus China’s postsocialist economy, as exemplified by how the subjects come to terms with such valuations as individuality vs. collectivity, and labor vs. money. Together they shed light on the intricate dynamic between queer agency and queer chronotope in a postsocialist setting. These two documentaries manifest a crucial part of the queer experience that is socially grounded yet marginalized in official discourse. With the commitment of the filmmakers and their queer subjects alike, such queer experience also becomes an indispensable dimension of the expanding alternative archive contributed by China’s New Documentary Films as a whole.

 

1. Chris Berry, “Getting Real: Chinese Documentary, Chinese Postsocialism.” In Zhang Zhen (ed.), The Urban Generation: Chinese Cinema and Society at the Turn of the Twenty-first Century. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007. 115-34.

 

3. Lu Xinyu. Jilu Zhongguo: Dangdai Zhongguo xin jilupian yundong. Shanghai: Sanlian Shudian, 2003. 14-15, 335.

 

4. For a discussion of the lesbian documentary films from China, please see my article, “Coming Out of The Box, Marching as Dykes.” In Chris Berry, Lu Xingyu and Lisa Rofel (eds.), The New Chinese Documentary Film: For the Public Record. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2010. 77-95.

 

5. Paul G. Pickowicz, “Social and Political Dynamics of Underground Filmmaking in China.” In Paul G. Pickowicz and Yingjin Zhang (eds.), From Underground to Independent: Alternative Film Culture in Contemporary China. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2006. 16.

 

6. Judith Butler, Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex”. New York: Routledge, 1993.

 

7. Judith Halberstam, In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives. New York: New York University Press, 2005.

 

8. Berry and Rofel, “Alternative Archive.” In Chris Berry, Lu Xingyu and Lisa Rofel (eds.), The New Chinese Documentary Film Movement: For the Public Record. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2010. 135-54.

 

9. Pickowicz, “Social and Political Dynamics of Underground Filmmaking in China.” 16.

 

10. For a more detailed discussion of Mei Mei along with Zhang Hanzi’s Tang Tang, please refer to my article, “Performing Gender, Performing Documentary in Post-socialist China.” In Yau Ching (ed.), As Normal As Possible: Negotiating Sexuality and Gender in Mainland China and Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2010. 151-75.