In November 2011, the New Museum presented, in conjunction with Rhizome, a live performance of Wu Tsang’s Full Body Quotation (FBQ) as part of the artist’s Museum as Hub residency organized in conjunction with the Museum’s 2012 Triennial “The Ungovernables.”
Developed throughout the Tsang’s earlier New Museum performance residency “We Remember Stories, Not Facts,” Full Body Quotation brought together an ensemble of performers and sound-makers for an evening soiree hosted by the artist and joined by DJ Total Freedom. The centerpiece was a choral performance and a living sculpture, in which Tsang and the performers channeled a chorus of voices sampled from the known (and unknown) canon of transgender cinema. Voices and bodies blended together into a hydra-headed, polyglotinous beast, staring back at onlookers across the boundaries of time and space with fifteen unblinking pairs of eyes—the apotheosis of a glamorous yet terrifying new mythical reality.
Full Body Quotation was an austere interpretation of drag culture and revelry as it has been caught on camera by films and news media of past decades. In the tradition of realness, Tsang maintained a studied and irreverent relationship to the source material, calling into question the authenticity of narrative, self-presentation, and intention.
The performance became the foundation of the resulting 16mm film loop For How We Perceived a Life (Take 3), filmed in the 235 studio space and subsequently presented in the New Museum’s 2012 Triennial “The Ungovernables.”