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ISSUE 36 : Be Queer, Be Positive
Queering My Oblivion: With/Out 2017 & Loo Zihan’s Poetics of Archive
January 22nd, 2018Type: Performance
Author: Hsu, Fang-tze , 戚育瑄 (翻譯) Editor: Rikey Tenn
Note: If we are to understand "reenactment" and "archive" as the core of Loo Zihan's practice in the context of "the contradiction of illiberal pragmatism," with particular reference to the reenactment performance of "With/out 2017" collaborated with Janice Koh, it is evident that "reenactment" as a creative approach that revisits history translates beyond the generally romanticized interpretation of "[The work of art] is offered to the innumerable mass of the dead." mentioned by Jean Genet. The poetic agency embodied in Loo's "With/out 2017" further reveals the daily life of a survivor in structural violence for an openly gay male Singaporean.
With/Out (2017) was commissioned/presented by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Singapore for The Studios 2017. Photo Credit: Tuckys Photography
With/Out (2015), presented at M1 Singapore Fringe Festival. Photo: Kelvin Chew (劇作家Haresh Sharma於2015年重演版朗讀劇本)
With/Out (2017) was commissioned/presented by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Singapore for The Studios 2017. Photo Credit: Tuckys Photography
Production Still from 'Completely With/Out Character' (1999) by The Necessary Stage. Photo Credit: The Necessary Stage
[1] Gever, Martha, Pratibha Parmar, and John Greyson, eds. "Homosexuality as Dissent/Cinema as Subversion: Articulating Gay Consciousness in the Philippines," Queer looks: Perspectives on lesbian and gay film and video. Psychology Press, 1993. p395.
[2] See: (retrieved on 2019/6/1)
[3] Dolven, Ben. "Paddy Chew Comes Out of the Closet and Helps Give AIDS a Human Face,” Far Eastern Economic Review Vol. 162, Iss. 22, (Jun 3, 1999): pp38-39. Hong Kong.
[4] Huat, Chua Beng. "Liberalization without." Southeast Asian responses to Globalization: Restructuring Governance and Deepening Democracy. Singapore: ISEAS, 2005: 57.
[5] This interview is an excerpt from a two-hour interview with Loo Zihan after the performance of With/Out, 2017. The interview partly publishes in “Queering My Remembrance: A Conversation with Loo Zihan” on the website of No Man's Land.
[6] About the details of “The Artists' General Assembly The Langenbach Archive” please refer to my article in Artco Magazine Vol.255: “Xin Jia Po De Yi Wen Shi Jian Yu Zheng Zhi She Hui De Xiang Hu Qi Ju [Coliving in Singapore: The symbiotic relationship between art practice and political society].”
[7] See the excerpt of digital archives made by Loo on Youtube: (retrieved on 2019/6/1)
[8] Lehmann, Hans-thies. Postdramatisches Theater. Routledge, 2006.
[9] According to Legislative Council Secretariat of Hong Kong: Parliament of Singapore is made up of Members of Parliament (MPs) from three sectors – elected members, non-constituency members (NCMPs) and nominated members(NMPs). The so-called NMPs are those suggested by the special select committee which is chaired by the speaker of the Parliament of Singapore and will nominate up to 9 suitable candidates who are excellent in various fields without joining any political party to the President for an appointment. Janice Koh was appointed as a nominated member representing the field of cultures.
[10] Excerpt from the interview with Loo in Holland Village, Singapore on April 21st, 2017.
[11] Love, Heather. Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2007.
[12] Crimp, Douglas. "Mario Montez, for shame." Regarding Sedgwick: Essays on queer culture and critical theory (2002): pp57-70.
[13] See: (retrieved on 2019/6/1)
[14] See: (retrieved on 2019/6/1)
[15] Yue, Audrey. "Trans-Singapore: some notes towards queer Asia as method." Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 18.1 (2017): pp10-24.
[16] The detailed excerpt is as follows: “The British artist Rod Dickinson, who has staged many reenactments, explains, ‘Re-enactment seems, as a form of representation, strangely well equipped to address moments of collective trauma and anxiety... Almost as if, taking a Debordian turn, that the re-enactment operates as the uncanny of the spectacle. A live image, in real space and real time, but simultaneously displaced.’ The displacement created by the abstracted representation of a traumatic history can be dramatically similar to that of memorials.” See: Blackson, Robert. "Once more... with feeling: Reenactment in contemporary art and culture." Art Journal 66.1 (2007): pp28-40.