Pickle Bar Presents: Hairpin Beneath 钗之后
Zishi Han and Wei Yang
Free. RSVP required: https://eventbrite.nl

Emerging from Zishi Han and Wei Yang’s ongoing collaborative research project into historical Chinese homoerotic literature, Hairpin Beneath is an evolving performance that intertwines multiple narratives to explore queer existences in China and the Chinese diaspora. The point of their departure is a Ming dynasty anthology of homoerotic stories, ‘弁而釵’ (‘Biàn ér chāi’). The title of the book implies the scene of a man taking off his ceremonial headgear and putting on a woman's hairpin. Structured around a set of excerpts from the book, they loosely interpret its storylines and draw on a variety of Chinese historical and contemporary cultural practices, such as poetry, Chinese Opera, literati landscape painting, Danmei literature, pop music and reality TV shows.

Oscillating between live reading and video projection, they assemble formally distinct but correlating components of the performance to dwell amidst the blurry boundary between the fictional and the biographical. Live reading texts are drawn from ‘Biàn ér chāi’ (bai hua version), translated into written vernacular Chinese by 执迷 (Zh. m.), published in instalments on 书香门第 (Shū xiāng m.n d.). Excerpts are edited and translated into English by Zishi Han and Wei Yang.

Zishi Han (b. Beijing, lives and works in Frankfurt am Main) probes masochistic attachment to power structures through installation, sculpture, video and drawing. Drawn to forms that hold and let through, he constructs possessed and perverted apparatuses to dismantle previous relations and incubate unexplored desires.

Wei Yang (b. Liuzhou, lives and works in Frankfurt am Main) explores human beings as a geographic subject in diasporic spaces. He layers collective memories to create hybrid images through myths, history and personal landscapes, which serve as sites of resistance against grand narratives and archival neglect.