Both Sides Now 8: Queer Realities/Virtualities | Subtitled | 65mins | Rated 15
esea contemporary is pleased to host the screening programme 'Both Sides Now 8'. Curated by videoclub and Videotage, the programme explores both real and virtual Queer spaces, with moving image works by international artists and filmmakers, including Kit Griffiths, Bassam Issa, Liao Jiaming, P1nk Poodle, Su Hui Yu, Wang Jun-Jieh, Megan Watson, Robert Yang.
'Both Sides Now 8' brings together a collection of films that explore queerness from international perspectives, which resonate between the fantastical, material, theoretical and playful. Where artists are exploring real and virtual spaces, creating and queering reality and virtuality. Using videogames, CGI, post-digital performance, and film, artists have made work exploring desire, death, cyberspace, passion and exorcism.
Megan Watson, The Air in Cyberspace, 2022, 3:20 mins
The Air in Cyberspace is a Sci-Fi animation depicting cyberspace as a parallel universe. A datascape of information seeping from the real and physical world to a geographical, abstract ocean of electric bioluminescence. Inspired by cyberculture theories, The Air in Cyberspace depicts the start of self-organising cyborg existence.
Bassam Issa, A Paradise Out of a Common Field, 2020, 5:32 mins
A Paradise Out Of A Common Field is a short animated film by Jennifer Mehigan and Bassam Issa that explores the iconography of the zombie. The origin of the zombie in general cultural history is relatively unknown, but within the confines of this film, she emerges from a lush garden and is submerged into the ocean. Playing with dream worlds that consist of feral horses and writhing flowers, horizons and image planes unfold to disorient viewers, while the audio transports you through an interpretation of the history of the Irish graveyard and its relationship to trauma.
Robert Yang, Zugzwang, 2022, 3 mins
Zugzwang is a tactical chess-like gay sex dungeon video game inspired by the history of sex magic, censorship in the US, cruising architecture, and the poetry of Emily Dickinson. As a sex angel, you must help mankind meet each other in the neon darkness. Drink deep their juices, distill their pleasure into divinity. Desire is a labyrinth. The absence of the witch does not invalidate the spell.
P1nk Poodle, Queer Theory Saved My Life, 2023, 4:20 mins
Queer Theory Saved My Life explores queerness in AI image models alongside NASA public domain footage. Typically, text-to-image AI image generation is done with visually descriptive keywords, but by inputting excerpts from queer theorists unexpected representations are created. Various cycles of feedback into the image generators, alongside other processing is used in a science fiction narrative of escape to Mars.
Su Hui Yu 蘇匯宇, The Glamorous Boys of Tang (1985, Chui Kang-Chien) 唐朝綺麗男（邱剛健, 1985), 2018, 17 mins
In 1985, two years before the end of Taiwan's martial law period, the renowned poet and screenwriter Chui Kang-Chien's film The Glamorous Boys of Tang was first screened in Taiwan. The film is a homoerotic fantasy, and was therefore not well received due to the conservative atmosphere at the time. More than thirty years later, with new funding and film technology, Su Huiyu has re-created The Glamorous Boys of Tang to call together the differently gendered bodies and subcultures of Taiwan's diverse society. The four channel piece can be seen as re-narration of the original 1985 version, or the next leg of its journey.
Wang Jun-Jieh 王俊傑, Passion 激情, 2017, 13:10 mins
Passion is a tale of a dreamer's passionate downfall in everyday life. It starts with the sudden arrival of spaceman Hal at a deserted harbor dock. Three idle sailors join, fueling the lonely pier with desires. The film draws inspiration from Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Querelle, incorporating imagery from Fassbinder, Jean-Luc Godard, and Alexander McQueen. It explores the passions of physical desire and artistic creation. When passion fades, all momentum dissipates, akin to death, leaving emptiness and decayed imagination.
Kit Griffiths, Dic Pic, 2019, 11:43 mins
Dic Pic is a vigorous, humourous and tender self-portrait exploring gender/transnarrative, the daily work of an artist, and the radical act of liking yourself.
Liao Jiaming 廖家明, Repetition Maximum 最大重複次數, 2021, 5 mins
'Repetition maximum' (RM) is a concept in weight training, referring to the most weight you can lift for a defined number of exercise movements. The artist turned his artificial body and the metropolitan surroundings into a big canvas, as in such way he expresses as well as confronts the power hidden beneath the action of image manipulation.
Both Sides Now is a tactical programme partnership between Videotage (HK) and videoclub (UK). Which uses contemporary and historical film and video work to explore developments within the culture and society of Hong Kong, China, the UK, and beyond.
Bassam Issa works across digital animation, painting, sculpture and textiles creating visions of resistance, transformation and queer possibility. He completed a BA in Visual Art Practice from Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology in 2016. Recent solo exhibitions include: ITS DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE TAKE THIS!, The Douglas Hyde Gallery(2022) I AM ERROR, Gasworks, London (2021), and De La Warr Pavilion, Sussex (2022); Dissolving Beyond The Worm Moon, Solstice Arts Centre, Navan (2019); and Illusions of Love Dyed by Sunset, The LAB, Dublin (2018). Recent group exhibitions include Queer Embodiment and Social Fabric at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (2021-2022), The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon (2021) and Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast (2020). Recent screenings include the Barbican, London (2022), Transmediale, Berlin (2021), EX-IS, South Korea (2021) and Jeu de Paume, Paris (2021). His work is part of collections in IMMA, the Arts Council and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council. In 2021 he received the Golden Fleece Award and he is currently a studio member at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios. Issa lives and works in Belfast and Dublin.
Megan Eekie Watson is a visual artist from Teesside, currently based in Glasgow. Her work is deeply influenced by Queer Ecology and Cyberculture theories such as posthumanism, cyborg ontology, and glitch feminism. Through sci-fi themes, she seeks to challenge anthropocentrism and celebrate the commonalities that unite an ecology.
Robert Yang makes surprisingly popular games about gay culture. He is most known for his historical bathroom sim The Tearoom, his homoerotic shower sim Rinse and Repeat, and his gay sex trilogy Radiator 2 has over 150,000 users on Steam. Previously he taught at NYU Game Center.
P1nk Poodle is a non-binary artist and filmmaker, at once new-born as of 2020 and at the same time bringing over a decade’s experience in the film industry. They work at the intersection of fiction and documentary/non-fiction, creating hybrid forms in mixed media, using moving image, AI art and 2D/3D animation.As a queer, neurodivergent artist they foreground inclusive and collaborative approaches to creating work. Recent screenings include: London Short Film Festival, Fringe!, The Guardian, Scottish Queer International Film Festival, and videoclub’s Night Watch. As a filmmaker they’ve worked with Tate Modern, MoMA, Science Museum, and IWM Holocaust Galleries among others.
Su Hui Yu obtained an MFA from Taipei National University of the Arts in 2003 and has remained active in the contemporary art scene ever since. The Taiwanese artist’s works are about exploring the connection between mass media, pop culture, memories of martial law, and the post-colonial history of Taiwan and East Asia.
Jun-Jieh Wang was born in 1963 in Taipei, Taiwan. In 1996, Wang graduated from the HdK Art Academy in Berlin, completing a master class (supervised by Valie Export and Heinz Emigholz). In 1984, he started working with video, and became one of the pioneers of new media art in Taiwan. Jun-Jieh Wang is currently professor and chairperson at the Department of New Media Art of the Taipei National University of the Arts.
Kit Griffiths' multimedia practice is centred on exploring and offering intimacy. Their current project, ‘Delusions of Grandma’ is a collection of redemptive family portraits, including self ‘portraits through place’ - words, film and image - revisiting locations of personal/family significance and committing to new present moments while including nuggets of the past.
Liao Jiaming (b.1992, Guangdong, China) obtained his BA in Journalism from Sun Yat-sen University in 2016, and his MFA in Creative Media from City University of Hong Kong in 2019. He now lives and works in Hong Kong.Starting from images, Liao’s creative practice expands to different media including photography, video, installation, and etc. His works usually focus on the topics of urban life, minority groups and living space, questioning the relation between the real and the virtual, as well as the subject and the object. Liao’s works have been exhibited or screened in Hong Kong, Shanghai, London, Zurich and other cities.
‘Communities in the Making’ is an ongoing series of events that unites community-led and process-driven approaches to fostering co-existence amongst diverse underrepresented cultures and communities in Manchester. Through artist-led workshops, collaborative screenings, cross-disciplinary exchanges, and roundtable discussions, we actively ponder ways of nurturing agency to lay the groundwork for community building.
Throughout the course of the programme, members of the public are invited to gather, collaborate, and contemplate with us. We believe in the inherent creativity of every individual and strive to establish meaningful connections that are reflective of our current moment, and meet the needs and aspirations of the community. ‘Communities in the Making’ activates listening, interdependency, and the cultivation of new experiences to celebrate diasporic knowledge, and ground our work in encounters and experimentations.