Han Week 4
I am aware of what I am WEARING when I am in drag after we began this project.
I found that: yeah, it is the way I flip my wig, feel my fake boobs and this is the way I PERFORM all these objects.
Gradually, I found the opposite: As a drag operator, the questions below became tricky:
What makes me feel good when I operate all these objects? What makes me satisfied and fun?
I don’t know what makes me feel good and I’m not sure what do I satisfied with?
Is there Han or Hannah now?
In every second: they show, then gone and mix.
If Han and Hannah represent the two different sides of the gender spectrum
Am I satisfied or feeling good by flowing between these two?
Then adding more imaginations on different gender images in doing drag, wearing all these objects to get more ‘feeling good’?
After the meeting with 剛華, there is another path showed up - embodiment and possessed
The bridge between the object and the operator.
Is there a happiness that couldn’t describe in words?
Or maybe: the operator embodiment the imagination of viewers.
From the point of the difference from viewer to the operator. I tried to recall my memories.
The very first image of seeing a drag queen is threatening, attacking, and feeling unfriendly from their exaggerating look.
I feel good after I realized that kind of beauty and my drag became clear.
Two points for further steps:
First: Feeling not good.
Is there an object that can make everyone feel good? Make everyone feel related to that happiness flowing?
All the ways of wearing have the meaning of presenting a character, social state
The exploration of the “The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life”
Wave Week 4
In the past, I was a theater actor. I'm tall and have long hands and feet, so I'm always expected to play certain characters. It seems good, but odd cause the characters are mostly straight males, as if my body was meant for that. I got bored and wanted to do something else. By chance I started writing performing arts review and became a critic. For all kinds of performances, I'm always eager to learn more. I've noticed that when I watch drag shows, I often feel happy. I wondered, what attracted me to the "drag show"? Where does the pleasure of watching a drag show come from?
I was confused, so I chatted with Han a.k.a. Hannah, who has been doing projects of drag in his daily life for a while. He insisted that he had to do all the stuff by himself. For him, using fabrics, metals, plastics and other materials to create his own ideal look and present it to the audience can build up self-confidence and joy in the process. I found that how to wear the objects on the body is the core of whether the drag show can attracted. Therefore, we proposed the "feel Good(s)" project in this residency, trying to talk about drag and objects. When I asked why he started doing, the answer was that he could make money. For him, drag is a tool, and he cares about the relationship between drag and commerce, consumption and commodities.
Drag requires a lot of objects. Most of these objects are standardized products, like fake boobs, wigs, eyelashes. It shows people's consistent pursuit of a beautiful body. Drag uses objects to reinforce this pursuit and explore the limits and possibilities of people's gender, sexuality, and desire. How is desire repeatedly commodified to influence people's imagination of the body? What makes lust so different yet so similar? He proposed that we can imagine the project as a manufacturer which produces pleasant goods. Under the framework of online & onsite residency, we arranged live streamings and invited pleasure consultants. We wanted to chat about the pleasure that is implied in goods. I feel a little stuck because we become looking for the pleasure of objects, but that's not necessarily there.
Later, there was feedback from an online viewer. She said that when we touched, held, grabbed objects with our hands in the webcam, she had a lot of imagination. It reminds me of two things. First, when we met with our facilitator, Kang, he shared his observations on drag shows around the world. The development of drag is likely to be related to the regional structure, the tourism industry and to whom the show is to be seen. How people "perform objects" and then imagine drag may be something we can think about. Furthermore, Han insists on drag by himself, reflecting the relationship between the operator's hands and the objects in the performance. Therefore, we change the direction, and the second live streaming no longer looked for formed products, and how to perform is the focus of our interaction with objects. We discuss the use of objects in our daily life, while responding dynamically through our hands and the constantly deforming clay. In the meeting with Kang, it occurred to me that the feeling of objects between performers and audience should not be independent. The two form an interactive sensory experience in the relationship.
I once wrote in my journal: "Clay not only leaves traces in real time, but also records conscious or unconscious hand movements, and it has also become a medium for our continuous transformation of consciousness and discussion. In the kneading process, the continuous change of color and shape is always the focus of our attention. Therefore, we link together objects that may not be related.” When I asked him why he made a costume with the idea of yellow watermelon, he said he liked green, and he just want to do it. I found that the arrangement of costumes and performances is difficult to explain with clear logic at many times, and there is no need to explain more. Flashy, meaningless, exaggerated connections and expressions are sometimes the key elements that make drag performance groundbreaking, provocative, and blurring the established order. Maybe that's why drag performance attracts me? I'm not sure. However, I feel that the creation of drag is like playing the clay. Drag will always show unknown interest and meaning in the process of constant change.
Our facilitator, Kang, believes that the clay does embody certain ideas of our project, and he senses the queer language. But he‘s curious about the connection with clay and "feel Good(s)". We still don't understand, but while kneading the clay, we accidentally learn that Art Administrative Assistant (AAA) Li-Hong is a manicurist. From the performance of objects to the conversation of clay, we focus on the discussion of objects and hands. I thought why not invite Li-Hong to play. So, we asked her to live-stream and do manicures on my hands. I lived with the manicures they did for two weeks, which was my first experience. Although it's not drag, I have noticed a lot of changes in my hand movements, and there are significant differences in the attitude of others towards me. Hands play an extremely important role in many human contact moments in life, such as having meals, work, communication, and the use of mobile phones. In order to protect the nails from damage, my hand movements have become more detailed and careful. I always have my nails face up and often watch and show. Therefore, whenever I operate, take various objects, or communicate with people, I seem to have another kind of life, as if I am "possessed". Nail art not only changed my look, but gradually changed the way I behaved, even the way I saw myself.
Later, we and Kang talked about the two-way "possession" between the body and objects. Drag is not just the performance of objects as we thought before. The reason why drag shows are attractive is that when people put on the objects, they can show the flowing soul. At the same time, they also give the audience different imaginations of the objects. More importantly, in the state of "possession", the self is not as good as before, but closer to the side that desires to be known. In other words, this project we want to discuss is more likely to be ourselves than external objects. The body is like a piece of unshaped white clay. The color and shape should be fluid and changeable, not fixed. As Han wrote in his journal: "How to wear specific objects or even can , he is giving me the implementation and practice of the role I can have under this social structure and the mode of daily life. The whole day is a ballroom game." I especially feel the same way about the journal.
The residency is close to the end. I haven't yet figured out how the pleasure of watching a drag show comes about. However, I think, from performing objects to thinking about how objects "possess" performers, and even exploring the experience of being possessed or micro-dressing in daily life, it must be an important change and gain during the residency. It seems that the "feel Good(s)" project is just about to start.
（Photo provider｜Thinkers' Studio、Photographer｜TshioTiô / CHIOU Chuei-Jen 影像提供｜思劇團、攝影｜邱条影室 / 邱垂仁)