I Promise to Enter the Oversized Hat
The essay film “I Promise to Enter The Oversized Hat” was shot in August of 2020, at the peak of the pandemic: A gay friend was about to return to China, and the suspended future was as fuzzy as his gender. In any case, he decided to don a feather robe for the last dance in Manhattan. We say farewell to the lucky cat in a Chinatown meat shop, to the US police station that looks like Disneyland, and to the mannequins locked inside the Soho window like modern mermaids… In Ancient China, there is a myth about a fairy who has to dance for the fishermen because he took away the feather robe she needs to fly back home. But that is just a faded myth. In the real world, people live by phantom limbs. Whether it is one’s body, memory, political identity, or gender, everything can be left anywhere. Dualism is an eternal paradox, and a future full of uncertainty is like an oversized hat. However, the behemoth we feel scared of will after all attract us to step into it.
Jiaoyang Li is a poet and interdisciplinary artist currently based in New York. She received her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from Goldsmiths University of London, and MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry pathway) from NYU, where she taught undergraduate writing workshop. Her literary work has appeared or forthcoming in Blackbox Manifold, The Poetry Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books China Channel, 3:AM, Datableedzine, Harana Poetry, Chinese News Magazine, Spittoon Magazine, Enclave Poetry, Voice and Verse poetry magazine, Asymptote, Yespoetry, and elsewhere. Her interdisciplinary practices have been supported by the New York Foundation for the Arts, New York Live Arts Center, The Immigrants Artist Biennial, Performa Biennial, Milan Contemporary Art Center, Artyard Center, Surface Gallery, The Green point Gallery, Bond International Virtual Performance Festival, Latitude Gallery, Milan Contemporary Art Center, A60 Art space and more. She serves as the co-founder of interdisciplinary poetic practice journal 叵CLIP(cclliipp.com). Her work medium includes poetry, illustration, video performance, and VR installation.