The Romance of Transgression in Canada:
Queering Sexualities, Nations, Cinemas

by Thomas Waugh


YUNG, WAYNE, b. 1971. Videomaker, writer, curator. Edmonton-born but transplanted to Vancouver in 1994 and most recently based in Germany, the prolific Yung was the most compelling queer video voice of his generation on the West Coast. Yung’s dozen or so intense short works produced since 1994 have tended to dissect intersections of queer and Asian identity, cramming the screen with layers, captions, visual embroidery, and intertextuality gone berserk. In 1998 he produced three lessons in an over-the-top Queen’s Cantonese Conversation Course in which smarmy hostesses present basic points about Chinese grammar, culture, and vocabulary, all illustrated through witty scenes of Vancouver gay life: ways of saying “good-bye” are illustrated through a hysterical bathhouse melodrama in a which a jilted character shrieks “Get out, you slut!,” all dutifully transcribed by subtitle. That these language games are available in both English and French versions is itself fitting comment on the politics of bilingualism in a multicultural, postcolonial society. In many others of his tapes, Yung puts himself on the line as performer, for example, as the lucky protagonist in Field Guide to Western Wildflowers (2000, 6) who kisses over sixty guys in a series of busy vignette variations, each illustrating a keyed-in wildflower backdrop with an attribute, while documentary voice-over interviews each recount their “first Asian kiss.” In other works, like Peter Fucking Wayne Fucking Peter (1994) and Davie Street Blues (1999), this self-reflexive froth yields to a less-camouflaged expression of vulnerability, passion, and desire. Yung is one of the most-encountered queer Canadians at international queer and diasporic festivals.

The Romance of Transgression in Canada: Queering Sexualities, Nations, Cinemas
Thomas Waugh, Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2006, page 539.