Queering Asian American Media

Howard Diep | 10209864

In last week’s class we focused on Queer Asian America and Media. We screened a lot of video’s and clips that helped supplement our readings for the week. One piece that we focused on in detail was the reading and screening of PIRATED! by queer Vietnamese American filmmaker Nguyen Tan Hoang. When I first read the text, I found it okay to follow, but some parts didn’t really make sense, probably because I hadn’t seen the film beforehand. After screening it in class, the readings became a lot clearer and I could understand the context that Mimi Nguyen was focusing on in the different forms and styles of media. I think the biggest thing that I enjoyed from PIRATED! Was how Nguyen Tan Hoang highlights the escape experience of refugees and juxtaposing these images with images of gay nautical sex.  I found that in my own creative final project trying to juxtapose two different concepts to be harder than it seemed. I found that the different technical transitions and overlaps that Nguyen Tan Hoang uses, is interesting in the sense of the different ways you can interpret the images and messages.

After screening PIRATED! We then looked at different clips. Some clips that caught my attention was “Our Cosmos, Our Chaos”, “Who is Jiro”, and a Mail Order bride Frankenstien clip. Our Cosmos, Our Chaos interested me because I found the clip to have a sense of darkness and eeriness. It was a bit unexpected and ghastly when the class was watching it. It is a 20-minute stop-motion animation that explores the connection between mystical practice and social resistance. As with this clip, the same as PIRATED! Without knowing the context ahead of time, watching the clip could’ve been confusing and scary like I found it because there is so many interpretations that could be made throughout the clip. Overall I found it to be one of the more creative works that touches on a topic I am somewhat familiar with.

Who is Jiro? Was a fun clip that we also got to watch in class. Made by Queer Camp Productions, it focused on Queering one hystorical moment of Japanese Internment. I had learned the Jiro was a Japanese American who was placed in the internment camps and lived his life there, but was gay. Mr. Jiro had also possessed a handful of bodybuilding magazines and the clip to me explored a deeper message of what was it like to be a gay man living in the interment camps at that time? It was a different perspective to pick up and learn about and I found that to be very insightful and valuable. One aspect of the clip that I enjoyed was when Denise Uyehara placed bread loafs through her arms to make herself seem more masculine. I thought that part was pretty funny because I wasn’t expecting that.

The clip that gained much of my attention was a Mail Order Bride clip that focused on a man ordering mail order brides and putting them together or giving them live, referencing Frankenstein. When I first watched this clip, I found myself to react very angrily at the beginning scenes of the man picking out certain features and body parts that he wanted his mail order bride to have. And to think that issue still exists today, I find it to be very disheartening. However as the video went on, it began to add in some comic relief and humor and with that I thought it overall produced very well and memorable.

Also watching Professor O’Brien’s clip at Tuesday Night Project was awesome as well! The notion of performing masculinity and gender are still things I contemplate about a lot in my mind and by watching the disruption of what is normal only opens my eyes to the different structures that we’re living in.


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