Oceanic Tides, Machinic Flows (2023-2024)

Oceanic Tides, Machinic Flows is a lecture-performance by Thao Ho and Charmaine Poh that engages with topics of disconnection, lost cosmologies, and marginalised bodies.

Drawing on Daoist cosmology, critical race theory and queer theory, the lecture-performance aims to re-consider binaries such as West/non-West, relationality/non-relationality, normativity/non-normativity, techno/non-techno, by way of close readings of The Gangster We Are All Looking For by lê thị diễm thúy and Charmaine Poh’s own on-going work THE YOUNG BODY UNIVERSE, a series of enactments considering the potentialities of the feminist techno-body.  

Taking lê thị diễm thúy’s work and the theoretical frameworks of Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi’s Archipelago of Resettlement, as well as Lan Duong’s trans-Vietnamese feminism as starting points, Thao will trace the historical entanglements of boat people resettlement to Orange County, CA, and Palestine, and the affective residues/cultural production of lost memories.

Grounded by Tung-Hui Hu’s concept of digital lethargy and the Daoist logic of xuan, a logic of recursivity put forth by Yuk Hui in his book, Art and Cosmotechnics, Charmaine will examine how the East Asian femme-presenting techno-body has been formed and shaped by larger philosophical, cultural, and historical forces.

Braiding these research threads, the lecture-performance asks, what is Eastern thought, especially for those who are situated in the diaspora? How can postcolonial thought be expanded beyond the “western frame”? How do we contend with these degrees of lostness, whether through the diaspora, or through the ethers of technology?

Charmaine Poh (she/they) is an artist from Singapore working across media, moving image, and performance to peel apart, interrogate, and hold ideas of agency, repair, and the body across worlds. Her current focus, THE YOUNG BODY UNIVERSE, is a series of enactments considering the potentialities of the feminist techno-body. She is also a co-founder of the magazine Jom, a member of the collective Asian Feminist Studio for Art and Research (AFSAR), and a PhD student at the Freie Universität Berlin. 

Thao Ho (she/they) is a researcher, filmmaker, activist and writer. Thao worked at the Gay Museum & Archive as a research trainee, where she focused on transnational queer movements and practices of memory. Thao is a PhD candidate at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, as part of the research project “Tales of the Ordinary Diasporic” led by Prof. Dr. Elahe Haschemi Yekani  where she examines parallels and entanglements of memory politics, artistic practices and activism of Vietnamese artists based in Sài Gòn, Berlin, and Orange County, Garden Grove, through the medium of post-war visual art, sound and literature.