Mimi Nguyen and John Paul Ricco

September 22, 2007 at 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Noon - 4pm
“Showing Shame: Shameless Showing” screening program curated by Robert Summers (see description below)
JJ Chinois music video and selections by Mimi Nguyen
Presentation by Mimi Nguyen (see description below)
Performance by Eleanor Kaufman and John Paul Ricco
Presentation by John Paul Ricco (see description below)

Showing Shame: Shameless Showing
curated by Robert Summers
Lee Adams, Porca Miseria (2007)
Hoang Tan Nguyen, Forever Bottom (1999)
Vaginal Davis & Billy MIller, Tom Cruise Loves Women (2005)
SUPERM (Slava Mogutin & Brian Kenny), “TBA” (2007)
(New video by SUPERM will be its US premiere)

The selected videos show various enactments of the artists and/or their friends performing themselves in acts of shame. With regard to “queer” subjectivity and shame, I draw on the work of Eve Sedgwick who argues that shame can be understood in relation to “queer” — as she pointedly states, “queer” is a term that “might usefully be thought of as referring in the first place to [persons who are tied to shame] … those whose sense of identity is for some reason tuned most durably to the note of shameā€¯. But, I argue that even though there is shame there is also the shameless, it is never far behind, which I think is important to examine in relation to “queer/-ness” — which would push Sedgwick’s argument. Indeed, I see no reason to disconnect shame from shameless — after all they are but a suffix apart. All in all, I hope these films show something valuable: I hope they show something shame/less.

MIMI NGUYEN’s presentation will focus on technologies of the self and of
the star (assembling a desirable commodity body), using the work of JJ
Chinois — the transgendered persona of artist Lynne Chan. As an aspirant
to celebrity, JJ Chinois critiques and appropriates the pleasures of pop
stardom in global culture in the early 21st century and does so by sexing
up Bruce Lee’s star image in ways that we haven’t seen before. Overall
Nguyen’s presentation will explore the circuits between star and fan, and
issues of performance, embodiment, and identity.

JOHN PAUL RICCO’s presentation will draw from Jean-Luc Nancy, Gilles
Deleuze, Judith Butler, and Leo Bersani, to focus on “the event of
mutually-shared exposure”: the separating-connecting spacing that exists
between, amongst, and around any one or more bodies, in varying degrees of
intimacy or closeness. He will look at the ethical and political
questions this provokes, involving social bonds formulated through a
“non-identitarian narcissism”: a space, cutting transversally across the
circuit of voyeurism and exhibitionism, in which one performs neither
solely for oneself nor for some objectified other, but for any number of
other ones in the virtual-corporeal networks of distance and connection.

Mimi Thi Nguyen is Assistant Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Previously, she was a Mellon Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Rackham School of Graduate Studies and Assistant Professor in Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan. She earned her PhD. in Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, with a Designated Emphasis on Women, Gender, and Sexuality. She is currently completing her first book, Representing Refugees, which examines the historical production and mobilization of refugee affect for varied political and cultural projects (such as commemoration, humanitarianism, consumption and multicultural nationalism).

She continues to situate her work within transnational feminist cultural studies with her next project, focusing on fashion, citizenship and transnationality. She is co-editor with Thuy Linh Tu of Alien Encounters: Pop Culture in Asian America (Duke University Press, 2007) and author of multiple essays on Asian American, queer, and punk subcultures, digital technologies, and Vietnamese diasporic culture, published in academic collections, on-line publications and popular magazines.

John Paul Ricco is a theorist, curator and performance artist, and is Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art, Media Theory, and Criticism at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. He is the author of The Logic of the Lure, and a number of essays on contemporary artists. Currently, he is organizing a three-part exhibition of contemporary queer video, to open at V-Tape in Toronto in January 2008, and working on his next book: The Decision Between Us: aporetic aesthetics and the unbecoming community. For “Showing,” Ricco is premiering a body-based performance installation and artist talk, on narcissism and the space of bare naked exposure.

Eleanor Kaufman is a professor of Comparative Literature at UCLA specializing in twentieth-century French philosophy and literature. She has published on thinkers and writers such as Deleuze, Foucault,
Bataille, Blanchot, Lacan, Derrida and Badiou. She thinks a lot about the relation between poetry, philosophy, and inertia.