work in series of video, zine, sheet, live performance
How to... is a series of work explores the censorship within a rising internet subculture in China called Danmei(耽美). Often produced by females and consumed by the females, Danmei is a genre of work that illustrates an ideal romantic relationship between physically attractive male figures. Since LGBTQ in China is still a taboo, a danmei work can only be circulated through the internet under strict censorship.
The video work “How to cook a Danmei fiction” tries to examine this power dynamics of gender and censorships through a staged cooking lesson. Through metaphorical approach in the cooking process, such as pouring “pure love” into the Danmei paper, putting the eraser into the pot and filtering the paper, the cooking process of the fiction demonstrates each stage of producing and publishing a Danmei fiction in reality, where female get to control the rules within Danmei fictions and the content of Danmei fictions are censored. Even the form of the video is presented as a “lesson”, the artist is trying to raise questions regards about this subculture rather than trying to educate the audience about the subculture.
The other work is in the form of writing sheets and a video. The work “How to learn a Danmei Vocabulary” explores the power dynamics of Danmei through manipulating the form of text and form of learning. Inspired from the action of altering the adult content in Danmei works upside down and turning them into an image, the artist chose thirty Danmei-specific terms (including Chinese, English, and numbers) and assign a new rule set to them. Breaking down each character into multiple strokes, tilting each stroke 90 degrees at a time and repeat, each term has been flattened from its original meaning into a graphical image. Through further distancing the already-unfamiliar text to the general audience, the artist manually raises the boundary of understanding just as the self-censor action that Danmei creators and readers do.