Katrien Jacobs is Adjunct Associate Professor in Cultural Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a research associate in the Department of Languages and Cultures at the University of Ghent. Jacobs has lectured and published widely about sexuality and gender in and around digital media, contemporary arts, and online activism. She has received several Hong Kong government-funded GRF grants and authored four books about internet culture and gender/sexuality. In 2022 she published Tit-For-Tat Media: The Contentious Bodies and Sex Imagery of Political Activism (London and New York: Routledge, 2022). The book examines the visual-sexual turn in social media discourses in the field of online activism. The study reveals how visual cultures, including gendered or sexualised imagery, are utilised to influence public perception. Jacobs is also an artist-scholar who has produced documentaries and performance art pieces alongside her academic and ethnographic fieldwork.
Lili Lai received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009. After completing a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute of Sociology and Anthropology of Peking University, she joined PKU’s School of Health Humanities in 2011. Now an associate professor of anthropology, Lai’s research interests focus on the body, everyday life, and medical practice. Lai has done extensive ethnographic and interdisciplinary research on health-related issues in northern and southwest Mainland, in both rural and urban areas. Through sensitive readings of everyday social life and analysis of the periodically erupting frictions in “Shang Village” (Henan), her 2016 book, Hygiene, Sociality, and Culture in Contemporary Rural China demonstrates that the conventional generalizations about rural people are not only wrong, but dangerous. As a medical anthropologist with expertise in the anthropologies of knowledge and the body, her 2021 book, Gathering Medicines: Nation and Knowledge in China's Mountain South (co-authored with Judith Farquhar), discusses the development of local healthcare systems in areas with minority ethnic groups to produce a work that is both historical anthropology and an ethnography of national cultural production. She also previously conducted an ethnographic study on the practice of assisted reproductive technologies, giving particular attention to the subtle ways in which expert technical knowledge is in practice blended with rather superstitious procedures that play with the uncertainty of achieving a pregnancy by any means, scientific or otherwise.
Multimedia artist Lu Yang creates fantastical images that are often painful and shocking. Blending the disparate fields of religion, philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, and modern technology, Lu’s work also references real life forms and structures taken from nature and religion. The artist’s body of work spans game engines, 3D-animated films, video game installations, holograms, motion capture performances, virtual reality, and software manipulation. Lu also collaborates with acclaimed scientists, psychologists, actors, dancers, experimental composers, music producers, robotics companies, and pop stars.
Lu, whose work has been featured internationally in major museums and institutions, received a BA and MA degrees from the New Media Art Department of the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. A participant in the 2022 Venice Biennale, Lu has held solo exhibitions at numerous venues, including the Zabludowicz Collection, London, UK (2022–23); Palais Populaire, Berlin, Germany (2022–23); ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Aarhus, Denmark (2021–22); Spiral, Tokyo, Japan (2018); M WOODS, Beijing, China (2017–18); MOCA Cleveland, Cleveland, USA (2017); Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing, China (2011); and Fukuoka Asia Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan (2011). Some of their recent works have also appeared in large-scale thematic exhibitions such as the 59th Venice Biennale: The Milk of Dreams (2022); Asia Society Triennial, New York (2021); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2020); Shanghai Biennale (2018 and 2012); Athens Biennale (2018); Liverpool Biennial (2016); Montreal International Digital Art Biennial (2016); 56th Venice Biennale, Chinese Pavilion (2015); and Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale (2014). Lu was awarded the BMW Art Journey in 2019, after which they embarked on a new digital body of work titled DOKU (2022). They are also the winner of the Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year 2022 award.
Izumi Nakayama is Research Officer/Fellow at the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of Hong Kong. Her research interests, which focus on the body, gender, labour, and technology in modern and contemporary Japan and East Asia, examine various histories, including those of menstruation, menopause, and death. Through her teaching, she addresses topics such as new reproductive technologies, bioethics, and biohacking to explore the intersecting issues of food, time, emotions, and life itself.
Denise Tse-Shang Tang is Associate Professor in the Department of Cultural Studies at Lingnan University. Tang is an interdisciplinary ethnographer and sociologist specializing in gender, lesbian sexualities, social spaces, and cultural politics in Chinese societies. Her book Conditional Spaces: Hong Kong Lesbian Desires and Everyday Life (Hong Kong University Press, 2011) maps the complex relations between personal subjectivities and spatialities as they emerge and interact with urban spaces. Her research specialises in gender and sexualities with specific focus on lesbian desires and transgender masculinities in an inter-Asian context. Tang is now working on a book about the everyday life of older lesbians and bisexual women in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. Her current ethnographic focus is on the structural obstacles and personal struggles facing trans men and trans masculine persons living in Bangkok and Hong Kong. She is the recipient of the 2023 Humanities and Social Sciences Prestigious Fellowship Scheme under the HK Research Grants Council and the Hunt-Simes Visiting Chair of Sexuality Studies at the University of Sydney. Prior to entering academia, Tang worked in NGOs for communities that included LGBTQI+ Asian & Pacific Islanders, survivors of sexual violence, and First Nations women and youth in San Francisco, Seattle, and Vancouver.
Kaspar Wan is a proud trans man from Hong Kong, his gender now designated as “X” on his Australian passport. Kaspar X—If I Had a Soul, the filmmaker’s award-winning short documentary, relates his journey of self-discovery. He also won the 2016 Hong Kong Transgender Inclusion Champion Award. Since 2015, he has run the charitable organisation that he also founded, Gender Empowerment, which supports trans individuals at different stages of their gender transition and works with various stakeholders to create social change. In the past decade, Wan has participated in various regional and international conferences and meetings related to trans issues, such as the WPATH Symposium, the Asia Pacific Trans Health Blueprint meeting, and the United Nations-organised Being LGBT in Asia regional dialogue.
Since his transition, Wan has become increasingly interested in what “gender” means to individuals and society. He looks forward to exploring more of the world from his (trans)gendered perspective. He earned his Master of Philosophy degree with a thesis that focused on the coping experiences of parents during gender transition of their trans child.
Zairong Xiang, author of Queer Ancient Ways: A Decolonial Exploration (punctum books, 2018), is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Artistic Director at Duke Kunshun University, a Sino-US joint-venture. His research draws from multiple areas, including art, literature, philosophy, religion, and sex/gender. As a member of the Hyperimage Group at Guangdong Museum of Art, he co-curated INTERMINGLING FLUX: Guangzhou Image Triennial 2021, and was later co-curator of the Experimental Film & Video Festival in Seoul (2022). He was also chief curator of the Minor Cosmopolitan Weekend at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) in Berlin, Germany (2018) and edited its catalogue, minor cosmopolitan: Thinking Art, Politics, and the Universe Together Otherwise (Diaphanes, 2020). He is currently co-curating the HKW exhibition-live event-publication project Ceremony (Burial of an Undead World) with Anselm Franke, Elisa Giuliano, Denise Ryner, and Claire Tancons. Xiang has now embarked on a second book/exhibition project that will investigate the concepts of “transdualism” and “counterfeit” in the Global South, with a particular focus on Latin America and China. He was appointed a fellow at the ICI-Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry (2014–2016) and postdoctoral fellow of the DFG Research Training Group minor cosmopolitanisms at Potsdam University (2016–2020).