Wish You Weren't There
The video consists of a thread of unsettling texts/messages that I have received from strangers and loved ones, who are bewildered, fascinated, frustrated by who I am from only looking at photographs of me. I explore how my femininity, ethnicity and sexuality have been presented in my photographs, and perceived in the viewers eyes. Having experience of working as an Asian model, I constantly wonder the reason why I am or am not cast. The reasons might have been that I look ethnic, or sometimes I am not ethnic enough, or I am too Asian, or sometimes I am not the “type of asian” that they are looking for. I created this video as an extension of my investigation into what people see when they look at me and the reasons behind. The repetitive mentions of my “luscious lips” in the text messages from different people always lead to another “compliment” which is that I am sexy. It makes me curious about the missing relation between lips and sexiness. Sex should be consensual but it is not the case at all when it comes to sexualization, especially when it is through the medium of images, it is always arbitrary because the subject in the photographs is objectified already. So obviously I was sexualized; however, in the video I document the triggers as I wonder why I was sexualized. Layering with graphical symbols (such as sailor moon), I appropriate their intended meanings and challenge the existing interpretation of them. Sailor moon is not simply a role model for girls anymore, although it was created as one. Just like many other female anime characters, it has been inevitably sexualized by a large amount of audience and fan groups as time passes. The video is also an attempt at looking back at the viewers (literally). It is not a call for lamentation or comfort; however it is intended to be personal and provocative. Harassment is often sugar coated as a compliment, and only when I tear them out of context and reconstruct them have I been able to reify the damage.

Winner of the BARON PRIZE 2020.