° 1981

Lives in Los Angeles (United States), born in United States.

Wu Tsang is a distinctive and versatile performer and film-maker who works with the relationship between voice, character and subjectivity. He has a developed a technique he calls ‘full body quotation’, which evolved from his training in bel canto opera. It allows him to re-constitute and re-embody a text in real time, as he receives it through an invisible earpiece, but with a voice and movements that take mimicry as far as possible to defy any notion of authenticity or authorship. Wu Tsang’s work consists of many such acts that may be linguistically defined with the help of the prefix trans- (‘across’), such as transposition, translation or transgression. His own experience of being transgender underline this ‘acrossness’, but at the same time it demonstrates something else: the need to challenge the roles that language and legibility play for who is recognised as human. Wu Tsang’s art – not least the well-known feature-length film WILDNESS (2012) set in Silver Platter, a bar frequented by the Latin LGBTQ community in Los Angeles – might be seen as a re-tooling of identity politics for our times, as something we shouldn’t discard until it is safe to do so.


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