Julian Yi-Zhong Hou, Bicycle Moon (Blue Light)

When Lady Boi Bangkok performs their image on the screen, we simultaneously see ourselves reflected onto the surface.

Julian Yi-Zhong Hou’s Bicycle Moon (Blue Light) weaves together themes of gender performance, Chinese and Western cultural symbolism, and fashion creating a video tapestry that challenges viewers’ sensibilities through a multiplicity of dissonances. Using the Chinese concept of yin-yang in their performance, Lady Boi Bangkok, the drag persona of James Albers, expresses an (un)conscious mirroring of selves as a way to invite us to examine our personal relationships with gender and identity.

While the video employs a binary framework, Hou nods at the duality of his own Chinese Canadian identity and Albers’s multiracial identity. In doing so, Bicycle offers a portal through which to view, embrace, and embody our multi-layered selves, queering and rejecting the notion of a singular identity. 

Originally titled Bicycle and commissioned by Markham, Ontario’s Public Art Program, the work was cancelled just before its debut, highlighting issues of censorship of queer representation in public spaces. This spurred the question: “What is the relationship of queer and marginalized bodies to public space?” By imagining new possibilities for Bicycle to persist despite its cancellation, its adaptation for the MPCAS as a moving image work not only realizes its full potential – bringing the work’s themes to life as a physically enacted performance of gender – but also platforms queer visibility in a space often dominated by consumer advertising. The work’s re-localization to the dynamic Mount Pleasant neighbourhood emphasizes the ongoing need to platform underrepresented artists and to fight against artistic censorship.

Julian Yi-Zhong Hou is an artist based in Vancouver, Canada. His multidisciplinary practice includes the fostering and organizing of productions through a fluid collaborative art, audio, publishing and apparel entity (Second Spring), as well as an ongoing artistic practice that involves the accumulation of new skills and application of personal symbolic invocations, collective meaning, and original methods of divination that probe the darker recesses of psychic awareness. His stalwart mediums are drawing, sculpture, songwriting, album production, and clothing as art.

Curated by Alger Ji-Liang 梁家傑, presented in partnership with CAPTURE photography festival