“‘I touch myself’ is a love note to our bodies in isolation. As we find ourselves deprived of con-nection through touch, we grapple with the grief of physical loneliness. This is especially felt amongst queer folks, and people of colour, whose already marginalised existences are further challenged by the distance from our chosen families.
‘I touch myself’ is our ritual of self-love and self-celebration during this pandemic. We tune in-to, and give thanks to all the energies and sounds in our bodies, that continue to carry us through survival.
This work was made through a series of Zoom screen recordings, where we encouraged participants to connect with their bodies in their own way, in their own time. Through reframing the idea of connection in isolation as a greater engagement with the self, we can imagine that when we touch ourselves, we are sharing touch with the world.”
I Touch Myself
by Cindy Jiang, Francis Cao, James Emmanuel Mckinnon
Artists: Cindy Jiang (creative direction, text), Francis Cao (video, editing), James Emmanuel Mckinnon (sound).
Featuring (in footage): Ari Tampubolon, Euna Marie Catampongan, Senuri Chandrani, Ella Tabilog, Cindy Jiang.
About Cindy Jiang, Francis Cao, James Emmanuel Mckinnon
Cindy Jiang is a Chinese writer, performer, and theatremaker. Her writing has been featured in Right Now, Myriad Magazine, and The Australian Multilingual Writing Project. She is drawn to hybridity and mess-making, in both art and life.
Francis Cao is a young Vietnamese-Australian writer, film-maker and photographer. Their creative ethos explores intersectional expression, the human experience and pushing creative boundaries.
James Emmanuel Mckinnon is a Filipinx producer, arts organiser, and educator. His intersectional practice is inspired by the power of narrative in theatre and music. His academic interests include the relationship between music, race, sexuality and politics, as well as the power of holistic education in empowering young emerging artists in their communities.
‘I Touch Myself’ is the second collaborative project for Cindy, Francis, and James. Their first project was ‘Safe Word: Our Asian Sexploration’ (2019), exploring queer Asian sex and sexuality, which enjoyed a sold-out season and a nomination for the Best Experimental award at the Melbourne Fringe Festival. In their individual and collaborative artistic practices, the trio share a passion for diversity in the arts, for experimentation and play, and for the radical pride of Asian excellence.
Image credit: Photo by Francis Cao.