Surface Relations: Queer Forms of Asian American Inscrutability

From the publisher: 

In Surface Relations, Vivian L. Huang traces how Asian and Asian American artists have strategically reworked the pernicious stereotype of inscrutability as a dynamic antiracist, feminist and queer form of resistance. Following inscrutability in literature, visual culture and performance art since 1965, Huang articulates how Asian American artists take up the aesthetics of Asian inscrutability—such as invisibility, silence, unreliability, flatness and withholding—to express Asian American life. Through analyses of diverse works by performance artists (Tehching Hsieh, Baseera Khan, Emma Sulkowicz, Tseng Kwong Chi), writers (Kim Fu, Kai Cheng Thom, Monique Truong), and video, multimedia and conceptual artists (Laurel Nakadate, Yoko Ono, Mika Tajima), Huang challenges neoliberal narratives of assimilation that erase Asianness. By using sound, touch and affect, these artists and writers create new frameworks for affirming Asianness as a source of political and social critique and innovative forms of life and creativity.

Duke University Press Scholars of Color First Book Award recipient