The symposium Gender/Queer Sexualities and Digital Activism looks at emerging technologies of feminism and queer activism in and around digital media and social networks. It invites international and local scholars and activists to present critical views about the role of media and technological innovation in experiences with sexuality, gender and social activism. Technology is understood as a wide range of tools and media practices embedded within cultural environments. When social media in the greater Chinese regions and globally are increasingly owned by corporate networks and prone to government censorship and surveillance, how do people creatively navigate strategies of identity, pleasure and activism? The symposium presents local and transcultural modes of activism and cultural technologies that have greatly impacted sexuality, sexual identity and sexual politics.  The symposium was a part of the International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA) 2016 and took place at Art & Culture Outreach on 17 May 2016.

Panel 1: Sexually Explicit Imagery and Gender Politics in the Hong Kong Media Sphere

Through its development in urban entertainment and popular culture, sexually explicit media have become a wider range of industries to be viewed, interpreted and sexually enacted by performers and audiences. At the same time, the body image of commercial porn has been shifting away from its obsession with pure femininity or masculinity, as younger “edgier” models and matured-aged entrepreneurs have set up their businesses. The panel will show how pornography and the body image are adopted and reinvented by performers and audiences and debate feminist visions and “hateful” patriarchal responses within the expanding pornosphere.

Speakers: Prof. Donna Chu, Prof. Yau Ching, Prof. Katrien Jacobs, Sonia Wong, Dr. Christopher Patterson

Panel 2: Feminist Stirrings & Social Media in Mainland China

This panel looks into body politics and technologies of sexuality in mainland China as they are developed by netizen communities and specifically by young feminists and emerging queer movements. What are the technologies of resistance and survival such as body art, theater and online writing or photography? How do activists and artists navigate political sensitivities and the politics of representation?

Speakers: Xiao Meili, Holly Hou, Featured Guest, Prof. Angela Wong (Moderator)

Panel 3: Ethnography of Gay Eroticism and Activism

This panel will focus on a socio-anthropological analysis of online gay sex culture while contemplating political perspectives on contemporary pornography versus a subversive queer body.  Francesco Palmieri’s talk will explore Bears as gay male subculture and on-line gender performance through contextualizing definitions of new masculinities.

Speakers: Francesco Macarone Palmieri a.k.a WARBEAR, Prof. Travis Kong.

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