Performance collage

Haruko Okano and Oliv wearing headdress
Zachery Longboy hunched in white skirt
Paul Wong in front of Winston Xin projection
Paul Wong manipulates overhead projection
Oraf lying face down

"The death of desire is the death of the individual."
- Oraf, Rubicon (1997)

The possibility of desire, especially marginal or queer forms of desire, is a theme that plays out in a number of works in this period. Desire is not figured simply as an exploration of sexual intimacy in any of these works, but instead, extends into the larger contexts of community and history. Who and how one belongs when multiple categories of difference are at play - sex, gender, race, country of origin, health status, even one's intimate longings - are key questions for these artists.

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Oraf, Rubicon (1997)

Oraf walking away from camera across pool of blood Oraf (Orafsson)'s Rubicon (1997) narrates the intersection between individual actions and the accidents of history. His symbolic river of blood speaks poignantly to love, loss and desire in the age of AIDS.

OLIV, Facets of Human Sexuality (1995)

Oliv wearing headdress, speaking into microphone, Haruko Okano in headdress looking on OLIV's cabaret, Facets of Human Sexuality (1995), featuring performances by Aiyyana Maracle, Haruko Okano, and Stephen Anthony, explores the highs and lows of life, relationships, self-expression, and the challenges of belonging in a world where gender is unfixed - with the characteristically acerbic wit of a high-fashion drag queen.

Zachery Longboy, Water into Fire (1993-4)

Extreme closeup of Zachery Longboy looking directly into camera Zachery Longboy's poetic performance Water into Fire (1993) challenges the viewer to recognize the passions of an individual caught between the competing landscapes of Aboriginal tradition, the medical establishment and gay male identity.

Paul Wong, WAH-Q (1998)

Projected image of young Asian man And in WAH-Q (1998), Paul Wong pushes the boundaries of sexual identity in a complex, multi-layered, multilingual work exploring cultural and generational differences in the "overseas Chinese" community. Drawing on the tension between surveillance and desire, identity and conformity, Wong shows how queer desires are simultaneously policed and politicized.