Exploring family archives, self-portraits, and still life photography, William Zou's first photography project “soliloquy” interweaves and oscillates between personal past and present. By remapping queerness, diaspora, and family within new spatial-temporal relationships, the series aims to unveil identity as a fragmented experience that continually transforms. In particular, “soliloquy” sheds light on identities desired, disrupted and dismissed to consider the dilemmas of belonging and becoming.
Inspired by a range of film auteurs from Yasujiro Ozu, Ang Lee, and Edward Yang, to more recent filmmakers like Maggie Lee, "soliloquy" tries to address the so-called “Confucian Confusion” and untangle why many try so relentlessly to fit into the paradigm and looking to become the perfect archetype of family within East Asian culture. Within this context, for Zou, the truer, queerer self must be suppressed, and therefore, the notion of the "desired" becomes unstable. Such uncertainty of identity experience is further reinforced by the queer diasporic experience which is constantly fluctuating; and only comes into significance when fluctuating.
As a result, “soliloquy” employs a circuitous syntax that repeatedly poses and proposes unseen relationships between photographs taken at different times and of different subjects. Carefully edited and displayed, “soliloquy” not only questions what would happen if we stopped thinking of ourselves in terms of identity categories and roles, and envision alternative narratives that can otherwise come into existence.