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“Our bodies are also occupied territories. Perhaps the ultimate goal of performance, especially if you are a woman, gay or a person ‘of color,’ is to decolonize our bodies and make these decolonizing mechanisms apparent to our audience in the hope that they will get inspired to do the same with their own.” -Guillermo Gómez-Peña

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Sexed Asian Machines: On the Communicability of Multimedia

Sexed Asian MachinesA Brown Bag Lunch Talk with Jian Chen

September 20, Monday
12:30 to 1:45 pm

Jian Chen, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, NYU

Prior to the multimedia convergence initiated by mass digitalization, documentary and pornographic film/video offered the experiences of communicability and interactivity now attributed to “post-cinematic” multimedia. Pornography and documentary are arguably anti-cinematic forms that work through communicative relays between viewers and film/video, rather than immersive spectatorship, and through visible technological mediation, in contrast to aesthetic signatures or spectacle. Whether through claims to authenticity or the pleasure of fantasy, these two genres also initiate the kinds of cross-cultural contact celebrated more belatedly, and with more polished veneer, in global Hollywood cinema. Chen’s talk will focus on semi-documentaries on sex work and mainstream online pornography, which feature Asian feminine subjects. Chen contends that these docu/porn forms make potentially explicit the paradoxical relationships between autonomy and control, enjoyment and labor, shaping image consumption and cultural visibility within transnational neoliberal capitalism. And Chen’s talk will explore the racial, sexual fantasies that support the imagined free-flow circulation of images and information within multimedia public spheres.

41-51 East 11th Street, Room 741
between University Place and Broadway
(wheelchair access at 85-87 University Place, between 11th and 12th Streets)

Part of the Brown Bag Lunch Talk Series — bring your own lunch and we’ll provide beverages and dessert!

Jian Chen is Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. Chen’s current research explores new demands made on cultural consumption, representation, and politics, with the transnational circulation of sexed racial and ethnic images in post-cinematic film and media. Chen’s work brings into conversation the areas of queer and transgender critique; film, new media, and visual cultures; East Asian diasporas; and comparative racial politics. S/he received a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine in 2009 and B.A. degrees in Ethnic Studies and English at the University of California, Berkeley. Chen’s article “Sex Without Friction: the Limits of Multi-Mediated Human Subjectivity in Cheang Shu Lea’s Tech-Porn” is forthcoming in the electronic journal Postmodern Culture.

Co-sponsored by the NYU Asian/Pacific/American Institute.

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