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Wu Tsang We Hold Where Study 2017 2

We hold where study

A mesmerising film where pairs of performers dance within and between images to create a series of sensual movements flowing from creation, celebration and euphoria to devastation, grief and destruction.

Tsang’s film takes as a point of departure the question of what it might mean to produce ‘impossible’ images, or to depict life that has been deemed invisible or impossible by society. Moten and Harney’s essay posits an impossible set of images of resistance, through poetic notions of blackness (entangled with transness and queerness) as an improvisational mode of being, in common with others and the environment. This film does not, nor cannot, illustrate the essay, but instead attempts to enact it by reverse engineering its approach to making images. In this approach, images become windows into alternative ways of living together.

Technically stunning and emotionally unrelenting, this is art that makes you feel.


The video portrays two scenes, which unfold in separate projections that intentionally overlap each other, creating a third space of imagery. On the right channel, two performers (Ligia Lewis and Jonathan Gonzalez) dance in a studio and on the left, two performers (boychild and Josh Johnson) dance in an outdoor field. Within these frames, movement does not only exist as an opportunity for union, or exploration, but also as a potential moment of
hazard, or violent separation. Images continually contaminate one another and exist in a constant state of entanglement. Here, the camera no longer plays the role of an all-seeing narrator, but becomes another performer complicit in the action: bound by its limitations, spontaneity and complexities.

The film is divided into five thematic chapters derived from the essay, giving contextual pacing and form to a series of sensually mesmerising movements which seem to continually flow from creation, celebration and euphoria to devastation, grief and destruction.

Commissioned by curator Nadja Argyropoulou for Polyeco Art Initiative. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin.