ANDREW THOMAS HUANG


I N T E R S T I C E

Directed by Andrew Thomas Huang

       Demon-chasing was the purported reason for lion dances, as explained to me during my childhood whenever the spectacle took place at large clan reunions in the crimson and gold community halls of LA's Chinatown. The mechanics of eradicating evil, according to my naive understanding, occurred somewhere between me, the spectator, and the gyrating anatomy of the beast itself; between the action of the dislocated limbs of the half-hidden dancers and the trailing silk veil that obscured them.

       Nostalgia for this tradition spurred me to craft my own contemporary filmic ritual centered around a veiled dance. In my attempt to appropriate signifiers from my own ancestry, however, I found myself resorting to orientalizing tropes that merely romanticized my own heritage. The tension of a veiled dance conjures other more familiar images, such as the "Dance of the Seven Veils" from Oscar Wilde's Salome. This western depiction of a seductive "eastern" dance reveals itself as hackneyed and problematic in its design to exoticize the concealed body while teasing mystic access to some hidden divinity. The danger of this artifice raises the question whether or not seeking embodiment through one's ancestry is possible without romanticizing it? How can we who are culturally displaced invent tools and rituals to exorcize from ourselves the illusions projected onto us?

       Probing the illusive boundary itself, Interstice presents the veil as a self-contained magic trick: a shapeshifting second skin loaded with potential energy to manipulate identities and temporal-spatial dimensions that would otherwise be rendered immeasurable in its absence. Interstice is an attempt to pass through the veil that obscures our collective vision to reach a space in-between. An interstitial space.



[ Installation at Milk Gallery, NYC ]