I am Walking is a dance documentary feature on Vogue dance culture in the underground ballroom scenes of Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Manila. This is a collaboration between dance artist-voguer Sun Phitthaya Phaefuang and dance artist-filmmaker Chan Sze-Wei, bringing together the references of the iconic queer history of the documentary, Paris is Burning, with the idiom of choreographic filmmaking.
Current guiding questions: • What are the functions of embodiment and performance as manifestations of gender, identity and identity politics? • How does the “fabulation” of alternative identities and realities create an impact in the subjects’ lives and wider communities? • How are attitudes to the body, sexual orientation and sexuality shifting in these societies? • What is the geography and hierarchy of this internationalized subculture/dance form?
Through observational footage of the dancers and their communities, interviews, and filmed choreographic segments, the documentary will track the shifting space of social norms and gender identity in Southeast Asia through the stories of the first wave of voguers in Thailand, the Philippines, and Malaysia as they create new families, spaces of expression, challenge social norms, and establish a network of transnational families among the region’s LGBTQ dancers, drag artists as well as cisgender-heterosexual women for whom this scene is a way to reclaim a fierce feminine sexuality.
The ultimate test of that constructed safe space comes when the voguers make their way to New York City to walk the iconic Latex Ball among black and latinx dancers, and their position shifts from that of avatars of vogue culture to outsiders in the world they have represented.