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Queering community: The affect of visuality in the Sinosphere

group of young chinese poeple. Two wearing t-shirts stating "We Want to Watch Queer Film". photo.
Shitou (far left) and Mingming (far right) on a screening tour in Nanning, Guangxi Province, December 13, 2008. ‘We Want to Watch Queer Film’ is printed on their black T-shirts. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Jinyan Zeng’ research article 'Queering community: The affect of visuality in the Sinosphere' is released in Journal of Chinese Cinemas, on 6 Feb 2024.

How do Chinese queer artists respond to the hegemony of Han-centric, patriarchal, and heterosexual norms, and how do they imagine home through a queer and activist lens? This study explores the visual representation of the queer community by veteran artist/activist couple Shitou and Mingming through an analysis of the photographs and documentaries shot by the artists and their friends since the 1990s and the author’s (auto) ethnographic interactions with them since 2004. The article articulates the construction of an affective feminist vision and its transformation into a lifestyle practice with ethics of care. It highlights three aspects of the affect of visuality: a) as an approach to autoethnographic visual work and research; b) as an illustration of a visually and epistemologically distinctive way of life for women as opposed to the reduction of women to political and social subjects within the power structure of the nation-state; and c) as a movement toward the organic organization of daily life that enables community-making without the commercialization or monetization of resources, labor and way of life, thereby rejecting the ideologies of the authoritarian state and the empire-driven logic of globalization in imagining and constructing a queer community.

The article is available here on Taylor&Francis online