Porn!

Yung’s 1000 Cumshots (2003) unfolds a lightning montage of shots extracted from mainstream gay pornography. At first glimpse of Yung’s work, he uses porn images that are largely diminished in resolution and quality. According to Hito Steyerl, the poor image accelerates as it deteriorates; it tends toward abstraction (1). By losing visual substance, Yung resurrects the “political punch (Steyerl 8)” of the poor image. The hierarchical relationship between high-resolution image and poor image transforms into an analogue of the white supremacy and Asian misrepresentation. Utilizing poor image that performs against “the fetish value of high resolution” (Steyerl 7), he questions the legitimacy of only presenting white male in gay pornography. He directly illustrates the promotion of certain types of desire by letting viewers confront dreadful texts such as “GWM Gay White Male,” “No Fats Fems or Asians,” and “White Party” over the top of pornography. It is still not surprising yet unfortunate to find the same phrases on gay online dating site even years after 1000 Cumshots is made. The fast-speed barrage of images establishes a manifestation of commoditized and permeated pornography.

By juxtaposing flashing image with fast tempo heavy metal music, Yung creates a vibrate visual impact. The core value of heavy metal music is power – the timbre, value, and feel of its sound. Its call embodies in the ability of “empower” social groups that have “less valued” habitus. Yung regards the images as a political act. He creates his work as a means of taking holds of image production that conducted mainly by white men. With a closer observation on 1000 Cumshots, a distorted black-and-white video layer of a non-white male face, indistinctly in masturbation movement at times, is intergraded with the porn images and texts. It becomes a metaphor of the self as his works are often interpreted as oblique autobiography (Hoolboom 174). Counterpoising the fluidity of the poor pornographic images and the self, Yung reveals the inevitable misfortune of people in media aggregation.

Different from Yung’s direct political appeal, Richard Fung’s Chinese Characters (1986) contemplates the same subject matter more subtly and whimsically. Fung unfurls his intertextual essay by appropriations of iconographic commoditized videos and creation of a complex juxtaposition of mainstream pornography and fictions. In his landmark essay Looking for My Penis: The Eroticized Asian in Gay Video Porn (1991), Asian actors in porn are always a metaphor of passivity, they are feminized, desireless, and “desexualized Zen asceticism” (Fung). In Chinese Character, he interlaces two sets of imagery, an “oriental” stage with clichéd scenes and music; and blond-surfer-orgy footage. Both sets develop into their journeys. Within the frame of a traditional Chinese legend – search for the source of Yellow River; Fung Combines staged interviews, fantasy voiceovers, and re-enactment of classic gay porn. By juxtaposing blond and bronze white men orgy imagery and Asian protagonist’s monologue of seeking their desire and expressing their gayness within the affirmation from white gay porn, Fung exposes the problematic influence of mainstream porn on sexual self-image and self-identity of gay Asians. His work is an intervention to white mainstream pornography with a playful present of Asian characters, as Laura Marks comments, “Fung’s clever porn montages try to force gay white porn to admit Asian men as sexual protagonists and viewing subjects.”

 

 

Reference:

Fung, Richard. “Looking for My Penis: The Eroticized Asian in Gay Video Porn.” A Companion to Asian American Studies, 2007, pp. 235-253.

Hoolboom, Mike. Practical Dreamers: Conversations with Movie Artists. 2008.

Marks, Laura U. “Sexual Hybrids: From Oriental Exotic to Postcolonial Grotesque.” Parachute : [revue D’art Contemporain], 1993.

Steyerl, Hito. “In Defense of the Poor Image.” Journal #10, Nov. 2009, pp. 1-9.