The two-day spotlight on Richard Fung offers viewers the opportunity to revisit some of his most influential work, and includes talks by visiting scholars and a roundtable discussion that addresses some of the key themes Fung has tackled in the last 30 years.
It is certainly a timely opportunity to continue these discussions about representation and freedom of cultural expression through media arts in an increasingly global context. Over his career as an artist, activist, and academic, Fung has made a substantial impact on the discourse around politics and art in Canada. There is no doubt that the media arts landscape would not be what it is without him. Recent international events show how the voices of filmmakers continue to be aggressively silenced, and are an alarming reminder of the fragility of freedom of expression, highlighting the importance of hearing Fung speak about his work today.
Orientations (1985) was groundbreaking documentary that gave voice to queer Asians for the first time on screen, and features interviews with 14 lesbians and gay men who speak about sexuality, activism, and cultural expression in the context of a predominantly white gay community. From his very first work, which he describes as an “educational tool,” we see that Fung’s sensitive style does not oversimplify his subjects or limit their contradictions. This acknowl- edgement of how the individual’s identity is shaped by a spectrum of influences is fundamental to understanding the human experience.
Sea in the Blood (2000) is a moving personal documentary about living with illness. It profiles Fung’s sister Nan, who struggled with a fatal hereditary blood disease, and his life partner, Tim, who lives with HIV/AIDS. Sea in the Blood could be described as one of Richard’s most moving and personal videos, a beautifully crafted, dreamlike essay that seamlessly melds together historical footage and medical documents with home movies and poetic interpretation.
In Rex vs. Singh (2008), Fung and his collaborators Ali Kazimi and John Greyson deconstruct a court transcript from 1915, part of a 20-year period where an inordinate number of men tried for sodomy in Vancouver were Sikhs. Staging scenes from a trial four different ways, first as a period drama, second as a documentary investigation of the case, third as a musical, and fourth as a deconstruction of text, the video reveals not only a history of systemic homophobia and racism in Canada, but also how one moment in time can be explored and interpreted from a wide range of angles.
Richard Fung is a Toronto-based video artist, writer, theorist, and educator. He holds a degree in cinema studies as well as an MEd from University of Toronto, and is Associate Professor in the Integrated Media program at OCAD University. His work comprises a series of challenging videos on topics ranging from the role of the Asian male in gay pornography to colonialism, immigration, racism, homophobia, AIDS, and his own family history. Fung is a public intellectual who has advanced the debates about queer sexuality, Asian identity, and the uneasy borderlands of culture and politics. He is the recipient of the Bell Canada Award for Lifetime Achievement in Video as well as the Toronto Arts Award for Media Art.
Richard Fung Art Exhibition | OCADU Gallery | 49 McCaul Street | 416 977 6000 | Free Admission
Jehad in Motion 2007
Screening | 4:00pm–6:30 pm | Innis Town Hall | Free Admission
Orientations 1985 | 56:00
School Fag 1998 | 16:35 | dir. Richard Fung and Tim McCaskell
Screening | 7:30pm–8:50 pm | Innis Town Hall | Free Admission
My Mother’s Place 1990 | 49:00
Sea in the Blood 2000 | 26:00
Islands 2002 | 9:00
Screening | 2:15pm–3:15 pm | Innis Town Hall | Free Admission
Dirty Laundry 1996 | 30:30
Rex vs. Singh 2008 | 29:25 | dir. Ali Kazimi, John Greyson, Richard Fung
Roundtable | 3:30pm–5:30 pm | Innis Town Hall | Free Admission
Kass Banning - Lecturer in Cinema Studies Institute, University of Toronto
Roland Sintos Coloma - Associate Professor of Humanities, Social Sciences and Social Justice Education, OISE, University of Toronto
Ramabai Espinet - Sessional Lecturer of Caribbean Studies, University of Toronto; writer and critic
Lisa Lowe - Professor of English and American Studies, Tufts University
Monika Kin Gagnon - Professor and Interim Chair of Communications Studies, Concordia University
Chair: Rinaldo Walcott - Associate Professor Humanities, Social Sciences, and Social Justice Education, OISE, University of Toronto
Screening | 7:00pm–9:00 pm | Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
506 Bloor Street West | 416 637 3123
Dal Puri Diaspora 2012 | 80:00
Remarks by Takashi Fujitani, Dr. David Chu Professor and Director in Asia Pacific Studies, Asian Institute, University of Toronto
Q&A with Richard Fung, moderated by Takashi Fujitani Tickets: $11. Buy tickets at bloorcinema.com