An anagram of “resistance”, ANCESTRIES is a layered piece that encodes the dialectics of colonialism, desexualization, desire, and resistance. An Asian is seduced by and in turn seduces a Caucasian whilst simultaneously reframing and performing two arias from Samson et Dalila by Saint-Saëns.
ANCESTRIES embodies the colonized being physically and culturally fucked by the white man. In doing so, it critiques the pretensions of high culture by reworking its material as a raw unpleasant act; juxtaposing everyday eroticism with the elevated bloodlessness of high art. At the same time, it rejects facile postcolonial discourse, contextualizing the historical and ongoing colonizations as a dialectical Deleuzean desiring-machine, an evolving exchange of fetish.
The work suggests possibilities for resistance vs. outright rejection, by having the Asian turn the colonized culture against itself. At the same time, it brackets the Western desexualization and feminization of Asian males (and high voices), while simultaneously exemplifying and subverting the stereotypes of submission. The use of male bodies also calls out the worship of hard Caucasian bodies and how LGBT history is dominated by white personages. ANCESTRIES is bookended by DELILAH JUKEBOX.
To create the work, Stephen hired an escort and spent 45 minutes of the session showing the escort his body of work, and discussing how the piece was going to be art and not pornography. The final form of the work was dictated by the constraints of a single-shot in the remaining 15 minutes and respecting the escort’s decision not to show his face or identifiable marks. It was a new experience for the both of them!
RUNNING TIME: 11:36 | COMPLETED: 04/14 | DIRECTOR: STEPHEN CHEN | DISTRIBUTOR: