Fantasies of Time and Space: Queer of Colour Performance as Transformative Strategy

Hoi Ying Choi, 2016
Vol. 22 No. 7 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)

This portfolio consists of three essays and four performances. It investigates queer of colour performances that deal with fantasies of time and place as a survival tool and transformative strategy that opens up mental spaces for prefiguring alternatives. I situate this work within my own depression and the urgency for marginalized communities to find temporary respite from oppression, and spaces in between from which to prefigure alternative ways of being, and of building worlds. To this end, I propose that fantasy can work as a methodology of survival and liberation. I approach these questions from a range of angles, which put my own perspective as an artist-scholar in conversation with other queer and trans Black, Indigenous and people of colour (QTBIPOC) artists and communities. This includes reflections on my artistic practice and experience as a queer, gender non-conforming person of colour, alongside an analysis of two qualitative, semi-structured interviews with artists based in Canada, Tom Cho and Camille Turner, observations on other performances that have been done within the QTBIPOC community in Toronto. Drawing on writings on queer temporality, and insights by performance theorist Diana Taylor and queer of colour theorist José Esteban Muñoz, this portfolio argues that queer of colour performance can be used as an embodied repertoire and a transformational tool that challenges dominant archives of Canadian history, whitewashed queer activism, and heteronormative popular culture. In its place, I offer up an understanding of queer of colour bodies as archives and sites for prefiguring futures where we can all survive and thrive.