Touch of The Other: Perforning the Laud Humphreys Paper

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90007

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During the 1960s, controversial sociologist Laud Humphreys studied in meticulous detail the codes and choreographies of male-male sex in public restrooms. Touch of the Other explores the aesthetics, erotics, and politics of these places, known to their users as “tearooms.” In this site-specific performance at ONE Archives, leading Tokyo-based chorographer and dancer Takao Kawaguchi and Los Angeles-based artist Deanna Erdmann explore the legacies of public sex mapped out by Humphreys while connecting these histories to contemporary practices, as well as to the policing and pleasuring of bodies today. This immersive multi-media performance registers the desire, public intimacy, and queer sociality indebted in an archive like ONE. Following the performance, Kawaguchi and Erdmann will be joined in conversation with Jonathan M. Hall, Assistant Professor of Media Studies at Pomona College and Laud Humphreys project director and dramaturg.



Deanna Erdmann is an artist living and working in Los Angeles. She received her MFA (2008) from University of California, San Diego, where she was a Russell Grant recipient, and her BA (2002) from UC Irvine. Her work has been included in exhibitions and screenings at the Hammer Museum, Luis De Jesus, Patrick Painter, REDCAT, Orange County Museum of Art, Angels Gate Cultural Center, Torrance Art Museum, Kavi Gupta Berlin and Images Festival among many others and she recently received the California Community Foundation Emerging Artist Fellowship. Erdmann’s image based work engages perception and transformation, addressing the politics of place, class and the body. She transforms image, time and sound in order to explore new strategies for viewing that challenge habitual engagement.

Jonathan M. Hall is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media Studies at Pomona College, Claremont, California. Hall has worked as a film curator, programming independent and experimental Japanese, Chinese, and Southeast Asian work. In 2004-2005, he co-curated the 5-program JPEX: Japanese Experimental Film & Video, 1955-now series, the largest overseas program of Japanese experimental filmmaking. JPEX toured six North American cities and was also screened at the National Film Museum in Frankfurt, Germany. Hall also participates as a Los Angeles-based supporting curator for the China On-Screen Biennial. Hall’s research addresses sexuality and psychoanalysis in Japanese mid-century experimental film and histories of male erotism in Japanese photography. Currently, he is editing a volume dedicated to the work of Japanese photographer Yato Tamotsu.

Takao Kawaguchi joined Dumb Type, the Japanese multi-media performance company in 1996 and performed with the group until 2008. He collaborated in the creation and performance of three pieces: OR (1997-99), memorandum (1998-2003), and Voyage (2002-08). Since then, Kawaguchi has engaged a series of personal and archive-based performance works including Di Que No Ves (2003), D.D.D.—How Many Times Will My Heart Beat Before It Stops (2004-2007), TABLEMIND (2011), true (2007-2011), and six volumes of his autobiographical performance series a perfect life (2008-now). In 2012, Kawaguchi began working with text and archive materials associated with the two most important figures in the history of Japanese butoh dance, Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno, leading to performances based on their text and video records in 2012 and 2013 respectively.


Presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative. Organized by ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries. Additional support provided by The Saison Foundation.