TIM LO (THEY/THEM)
(PICTURED WITH THEIR S.O. DAVINA!)
"Hello! I’m Tim Lo, artist name TIM LYTC. I’m a genderqueer Southeast Asian inter-disciplinary movement artist, writer, researcher, director, producer working in theatre, film and creative tech.
My favourite thing to do is listening to Queer legends like Hayley Kiyoko, HOCC, Rina Sawayama and Mamamoo, while doing the laundry and taking care of plant babies with my SO. I’m a huge animal lover, particularly a fan of cats (though I’m deathly allergic to them). I also love animated anything, especially 2D animations such as films by Studio Ghibli.
My practice is centred on how the physical body can express, communicate, and deepen the experience of spoken language and visual performance. I am hugely passionate about bringing dance and movement to those who have had little or no contact with it, and have created performances with Knowle West Media Centre, Spike Island, Raise The Bar, Kiota, Splash & Ripple and performed at international festivals IBT and Mayfest.
My work is driven by emotions and motivated by bringing joy through movement. Listed as an influential young Bristolian by Rife Magazine, I'm actively exploring and researching how dance and movement can be integrated with different mediums, to advocate for health, race, gender and Queer issues. My short films Somebody’s Child (produced by Rife Magazine) and Shrouds Apart have been selected for Fringe of Colour Festival. I’ve also been featured on BBC Radio and across billboards in Bristol as part of the #WhoseFuture campaign. Recently, I’ve just completed a Fellowship with BristolxBath Creative R&D researching potentials of combining movement with creative technology to make spaces safer for LGBTQIA+ people."
"The different aspects and intersections of my life means that it’s tough to find other people like myself in Bristol, especially as a couple with an SO who is a cis-gender Asian gay woman. I found myself feeling fragmented in different areas of my life, it seems like I could never be my whole full self. I was either Queer, or an Asian migrant from Hong Kong, or a young person who has experiences with mental health issues, but never both and more.
But something I’m coming to realise is that being my own representation, using my knowledge and skills to show the world I exist, that Queer Asian folks and romantic relationships exist, means I have a higher chance of finding and connecting with other with similar backgrounds, heritage and experiences."
"It frustrates me that the predominant Queer culture in Bristol is still very white and predominantly cis-male (with party vibes) oriented."
"Visibility means representation, it means an opening up of possibilities. It means seeing “yes” for the first time, after being told “no” so much in so many ways throughout your life.
Sometimes all you need is that one person who presents themselves, or has experiences and lives in a similar way to you to be given a spotlight. Their existence and that you are able to see it, might be all the “yes” you need to live the life you need to and want to live. To exist in such a way that’s healthiest and happiest for you.
For me, there were many “yes’s” that helped me understand my gender and sexuality. They showed me how a different way of living to the societal heteronormative binary norm is possible, and how it can be celebratory. My first yes was HOCC (Denise Ho), the first ever female singer musician in Hong Kong to “come out” publicly. She sang about Queerness in all its glorious forms and was my introduction into the Queer world.
Then after my move to the UK, seeing Queer Asian musicians like Hayley Kiyoko and Rina Sawayama, and knowing the @QueerAsia and @BittenPeachUK folks opened up other dimensions of existing as Queer Asian people in a white dominant society."
"A vital thing we need to understand is that “visibility without power is a curse”, a trans volunteer I chatted to during my Fellowship research said that. And indeed only appearing as an image or face to tick diversity boxes in different projects and organisations might do more harm than good. And this is why we must always actively strive more a more equitable society.
This is why I admire @QueerAsia and @BittenPeachUK so much. These groups aren’t just about visibility. They give Queer Asian academics, artists, creatives and activists platforms to showcase their work, to enjoy and consider different Queer Asian perspectives, to influence and improve the varied types of work each person does. In doing so they grant agency to people like myself who lacked confidence and self-worth to even exist. There’s power in their work.
Before knowing about these wonderful folks and seeing them, I struggled to find others like myself. When I first moved to the UK, I was ashamed of being different. Not only do I look visibly different as an Asian person, I also felt “foreign” because I had migrated from Hong Kong — I was one of only two international students in my year when I first joined Bristol University, where I was doing a Theatre and Film BA. I was terrified of dealing with the Queer part of myself because it meant acknowledging another thing that is deemed to be in conflict with societal norms.
Though I must point out, my race/ethnicity and middle-class background has afforded certain levels of privilege through invisibility. Asian people are usually seen as “model minority” in this country, and indeed I tried my hardest to assimilate into a white middle-class dominant environment (which I am now making active choices everyday to go against)."
QUESTION: HOW CAN WE HELP SUPPORT YOU?
"Read about my research if you are interested in Queer bodies and spaces. I am continuing different stands of my research and always looking to work with Queer especially POC organisations and folks. Commission me to run movement workshops, create films and performances with and for Queer people. Especially trans and non-binary folks — we go through so many difficulties with our bodies, I want to bring movement to all of us as a way to have fun and heal.
You can also check out more of my work at: http://timlytc.ctcin.bio/
If you like any of what I do, you can support me with hiring practice spaces, work expenses and pay for my time through Paypal. Follow me on Instagram or Twitter as well, so you can be updated with my upcoming performances and projects!"
"One of the most difficult things about being genderqueer was realising that being given the label of a “girl” or a “woman” isn’t enough nor right for me. Being assigned female at birth, I had a hard time disentangling what ideals were forced onto me by society, and what are my genuine desires for my body. I am still figuring out which associations about my physical appearances were body image issues from years of emotional abuse of being told I was fat in ballet school, and which ones are related to my gender presentation and identity.
The best thing about being genderqueer is learning the freedom of doing whatever I like with my body, and presenting however I want to through it. I love the shapeshifter vibes I get when transforming visually and physically with clothes, accessories, hairstyles. It makes me feel like I have a super power.
Another thing is meeting other trans/non-binary people! Knowing how different all our experiences and lives are, and seeing how we are all doing our best to be our happiest and healthiest selves, absolutely gives me life!"