curated exhibition

RaceCraft

Slow. Sustainable. DIY. Green. Local. Anti-mainstream.
These are the ideals that drive the popularity of the contemporary craft movement. But what is rendered invisible in the celebration of craft as a means of social change?
 
Where and how does race intersect with craft practices and craft discourse?
 
The artists and writers in this exhibition foreground alternative practices and genealogies. They make visible the neoliberal underpinnings of the contemporary craft movement. They reveal how craft is marked by race, heteropatriarchy and colonization, and they challenge an environmental politics founded on sustaining whiteness.
 
In RaceCraft, being “crafty” is not just aptitude and a lifestyle choice. It is artful subterfuge in the face of racial constraints.
 
Co-curated by Marie Lo and Sarita Echavez See.
 
Contributors’ works are published in staggered waves from late October to mid-November 2015, and the whole exhibition is archived permanently here on CA+T’s website.
 
Contributors include Kimberly Alidio, Aram Han, Kiam Marcelo Junio, Bovey Lee, Kang Seung Lee, Marie Lo, Tim Manalo, Alfred Marasigan, Do Ho Suh, Stephanie Syjuco, Namita Wiggers, and Kristina Wong. 
 
Special thanks to Jan Christian Bernabe for curatorial guidance; Martina Dorff and Gian Dionisio for research and clerical assistance; and the California Institute of Contemporary Arts for fiscal support.
 
Fall 2015

Some/One

Do Ho Suh

Sep 01, 2001 - Oct 11, 2015 Stainless steel military dog tags, nickel plated copper sheets, steel structure, glass fiber reinforced resin, rubber sheets Dimensions variable © Do Ho Suh, Courtesy of the Artist and Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York and Hong Kong

contributor

X

Do Ho Suh

b. 1962

Do Ho Suh is an internationally renowned Korean artist. Suh constructs site-specific installations and meticulously crafted sculptures that question boundaries of identity, conventional notions of scale, and space in both its physical and metaphorical manifestation.

Suh studied oriental painting at Seoul National University in the 1980s, and in 1991 he moved to the United States to study painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and sculpture at Yale University School of Art. He settled in New York in 1997, where he lived and worked until relocating to London in 2010. He currently maintains studios in London, Seoul, and New York.

Suh represented South Korea at the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001 with his iconic work Some/One, constructed of military dog tags exploring individual and collective identity. Solo exhibitions of his work have been presented internationally, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art at Philip Morris, New York, 2001; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, 2002; Serpentine Gallery, London, 2002; Artsonje Center, Seoul, 2003; the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, 2005; Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York, 2010; DAAD Galerie, Berlin, 2011; Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Singapore, 2011; Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, 2012; Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima, 2012; 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, 2012–13; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, 2013; The Contemporary Austin, Austin, 2014; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, Ohio, 2015.

Suh’s work has been prominently featured in major group exhibitions and biennials worldwide, including the Istanbul Biennial, Turkey, 2003; Psycho Buildings, Hayward Gallery, London, 2008; Your Bright Future, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2009; Liverpool Biennial, 2010; Venice Architecture Biennale, 2010; Gwangju Biennale, 2012; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 2013; Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2014; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2015; and Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, 2015. His work is included in numerous museum collections worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Tate Modern, London; Leeum Samsung Museum, Seoul; Artsonje Center, Seoul; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, among many others.

location

X
  • Born: Seoul, South Korea
  • Based: London, England, UK

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Metal Jacket

Do Ho Suh

1992 - 2011 3000 dog tags on U.S. military jacket fabric liner 60 in. x 50 in. x 15 in. © Do Ho Suh, Courtesy of the Artist and Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York and Hong Kong

contributor

X

Do Ho Suh

b. 1962

Do Ho Suh is an internationally renowned Korean artist. Suh constructs site-specific installations and meticulously crafted sculptures that question boundaries of identity, conventional notions of scale, and space in both its physical and metaphorical manifestation.

Suh studied oriental painting at Seoul National University in the 1980s, and in 1991 he moved to the United States to study painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and sculpture at Yale University School of Art. He settled in New York in 1997, where he lived and worked until relocating to London in 2010. He currently maintains studios in London, Seoul, and New York.

Suh represented South Korea at the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001 with his iconic work Some/One, constructed of military dog tags exploring individual and collective identity. Solo exhibitions of his work have been presented internationally, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art at Philip Morris, New York, 2001; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, 2002; Serpentine Gallery, London, 2002; Artsonje Center, Seoul, 2003; the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, 2005; Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York, 2010; DAAD Galerie, Berlin, 2011; Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Singapore, 2011; Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, 2012; Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima, 2012; 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, 2012–13; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, 2013; The Contemporary Austin, Austin, 2014; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, Ohio, 2015.

Suh’s work has been prominently featured in major group exhibitions and biennials worldwide, including the Istanbul Biennial, Turkey, 2003; Psycho Buildings, Hayward Gallery, London, 2008; Your Bright Future, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2009; Liverpool Biennial, 2010; Venice Architecture Biennale, 2010; Gwangju Biennale, 2012; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 2013; Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2014; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2015; and Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, 2015. His work is included in numerous museum collections worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Tate Modern, London; Leeum Samsung Museum, Seoul; Artsonje Center, Seoul; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, among many others.

location

X
  • Born: Seoul, South Korea
  • Based: London, England, UK

comments

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Sewing Station

Kiam Marcelo Junio

2013 Video documentation of performance art Duration: 5 min. Courtesy of the artist

contributor

X

Kiam Marcelo Junio

b. 1984
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Kiam Marcelo Junio is a multidisciplinary artist living in Chicago, IL. He works in multiple media, including photography, video, printmaking, installation, burlesque, and performance art. His research and artwork center around queer identities, the Filipino American diaspora, post-colonialist Asian American tropes and stereotypes, and military and civilian power dynamics. Jerry Blossom is Kiam’s alter-ego, a genderqueer Filipino femme-presenting persona who hails from an alternate post-queer, post-colonialist utopia. Kiam served seven years in the US Navy. He was born in the Philippines and has lived in the US, Japan, and Spain. He is also a registered Yoga teacher.

I am, among many things, a Filipino immigrant, a U.S. Navy veteran, an Asian American, a male-bodied, gender-non conforming, queer artist. My work explores the intersections between these identities and the fluid borders in between. My research into queer theory, Western colonialism, and occupations throughout Asian and Filipino history guide and inform my interdisciplinary art practice. I believe in creating a conceptual ecosystem in which my works function in myriad ways and inform one another. The pieces I make through screenprinting, garment design, and sculpture transform from art objects into charged, performative tools which I use in videos, staged photography, and live performances.

location

X
  • Born: Quezon City, Philippines
  • Based: Chicago, IL, USA

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Sewing Station (detail)

Kiam Marcelo Junio

2013 Photographic documentation of performance art Courtesy of the artist

contributor

X

Kiam Marcelo Junio

b. 1984
image description
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Kiam Marcelo Junio is a multidisciplinary artist living in Chicago, IL. He works in multiple media, including photography, video, printmaking, installation, burlesque, and performance art. His research and artwork center around queer identities, the Filipino American diaspora, post-colonialist Asian American tropes and stereotypes, and military and civilian power dynamics. Jerry Blossom is Kiam’s alter-ego, a genderqueer Filipino femme-presenting persona who hails from an alternate post-queer, post-colonialist utopia. Kiam served seven years in the US Navy. He was born in the Philippines and has lived in the US, Japan, and Spain. He is also a registered Yoga teacher.

I am, among many things, a Filipino immigrant, a U.S. Navy veteran, an Asian American, a male-bodied, gender-non conforming, queer artist. My work explores the intersections between these identities and the fluid borders in between. My research into queer theory, Western colonialism, and occupations throughout Asian and Filipino history guide and inform my interdisciplinary art practice. I believe in creating a conceptual ecosystem in which my works function in myriad ways and inform one another. The pieces I make through screenprinting, garment design, and sculpture transform from art objects into charged, performative tools which I use in videos, staged photography, and live performances.

location

X
  • Born: Quezon City, Philippines
  • Based: Chicago, IL, USA

comments

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A Mend: A Collection of Scraps from Local Seamstresses and Tailors (Chicago)

Aram Han Sifuentes

2011 - 2013 Jean scraps and gold denim thread 14 ft. x 10 ft. x 4 ft. Courtesy of the artist Photo credit: Hyounsang Yoo

contributor

X

Aram Han Sifuentes

b. 1986
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Aram Han Sifuentes is a social practice fiber artist and works closely with Chicago-based non-profit organizations, community centers, and public schools to facilitate workshops for immigrant communities. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. Her solo exhibitions include “A Mend” at Hollister Gallery in Wellesley, MA, and “73,000 waiting” at Chicago Artists Coalition in Chicago, IL in October 2015. Her workshops include “Immigrant Takeover” at the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design in Ashville, NC, and “US Citizenship Test Sampler” at the Smithsonian Institution. She is a City of Chicago DCASE grant and Puffin Foundation Ltd grant recipient. Han earned her B.A. in Art and Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008, and her M.F.A. in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013. She is currently a Lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Sewing is a time-based practice. Fiber as a medium speaks a language of accessibility, intimacy, and time. From its inception, it has been touched. To sew, the hand, armed with a needle, pierces the cloth, pulls the needle up, pierces the cloth, and pulls the needle down. Each sewn thread creates an indexical line of invested time, gesture, and rhythm. As an artist I use this needle and thread to mine from my experiences as an immigrant to address issues of labor and identity politics. I try to unpack these complex labor and immigrant histories by engaging with people through long term projects utilizing varied social practices. At the root, is a research-based practice revolved around collecting materials: oral histories, data, commissioned artifacts, handmade objects, and remnants of handwork. I then invest in the materials with my own hands with time and labor in order to create large-scale installations and meticulously labor intensive works. However, being about invisible and Sisyphean labor, my works rarely suggest finality. The needle is a political tool. It pierces and binds membranes together. The thread that it steers is tied off and remains while the needle continues to bind and mend. In my art practice, I use that needle to stitch together various histories and discourses revolving around the simple act of sewing. However, this act is anything but uncomplicated. The creation of each stitch engages sewing’s complex histories and politics of traditional, industrial, feminist, immigrant, and artist labor.

location

X
  • Born: Seoul, South Korea
  • Based: Chicago, IL, USA

comments

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A Mend: A Collection of Scraps from Local Seamstresses and Tailors (Chicago)

Aram Han Sifuentes

2011 - 2013 Jean scraps and gold denim thread 14 ft. x 10 ft. x 4 ft. Courtesy of the artist Photo credit: Hyounsang Yoo

contributor

X

Aram Han Sifuentes

b. 1986
image description
  • See All Works
  • visit website

Aram Han Sifuentes is a social practice fiber artist and works closely with Chicago-based non-profit organizations, community centers, and public schools to facilitate workshops for immigrant communities. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. Her solo exhibitions include “A Mend” at Hollister Gallery in Wellesley, MA, and “73,000 waiting” at Chicago Artists Coalition in Chicago, IL in October 2015. Her workshops include “Immigrant Takeover” at the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design in Ashville, NC, and “US Citizenship Test Sampler” at the Smithsonian Institution. She is a City of Chicago DCASE grant and Puffin Foundation Ltd grant recipient. Han earned her B.A. in Art and Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008, and her M.F.A. in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013. She is currently a Lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Sewing is a time-based practice. Fiber as a medium speaks a language of accessibility, intimacy, and time. From its inception, it has been touched. To sew, the hand, armed with a needle, pierces the cloth, pulls the needle up, pierces the cloth, and pulls the needle down. Each sewn thread creates an indexical line of invested time, gesture, and rhythm. As an artist I use this needle and thread to mine from my experiences as an immigrant to address issues of labor and identity politics. I try to unpack these complex labor and immigrant histories by engaging with people through long term projects utilizing varied social practices. At the root, is a research-based practice revolved around collecting materials: oral histories, data, commissioned artifacts, handmade objects, and remnants of handwork. I then invest in the materials with my own hands with time and labor in order to create large-scale installations and meticulously labor intensive works. However, being about invisible and Sisyphean labor, my works rarely suggest finality. The needle is a political tool. It pierces and binds membranes together. The thread that it steers is tied off and remains while the needle continues to bind and mend. In my art practice, I use that needle to stitch together various histories and discourses revolving around the simple act of sewing. However, this act is anything but uncomplicated. The creation of each stitch engages sewing’s complex histories and politics of traditional, industrial, feminist, immigrant, and artist labor.

location

X
  • Born: Seoul, South Korea
  • Based: Chicago, IL, USA

comments

X

A Mend: A Collection of Scraps from Local Seamstresses and Tailors (Chicago)

Aram Han Sifuentes

2011 - 2013 Jean scraps and gold denim thread 14 ft. x 10 ft. x 4 ft. Courtesy of the artist Photo credit: Hyounsang Yoo

contributor

X

Aram Han Sifuentes

b. 1986
image description
  • See All Works
  • visit website

Aram Han Sifuentes is a social practice fiber artist and works closely with Chicago-based non-profit organizations, community centers, and public schools to facilitate workshops for immigrant communities. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. Her solo exhibitions include “A Mend” at Hollister Gallery in Wellesley, MA, and “73,000 waiting” at Chicago Artists Coalition in Chicago, IL in October 2015. Her workshops include “Immigrant Takeover” at the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design in Ashville, NC, and “US Citizenship Test Sampler” at the Smithsonian Institution. She is a City of Chicago DCASE grant and Puffin Foundation Ltd grant recipient. Han earned her B.A. in Art and Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008, and her M.F.A. in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013. She is currently a Lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Sewing is a time-based practice. Fiber as a medium speaks a language of accessibility, intimacy, and time. From its inception, it has been touched. To sew, the hand, armed with a needle, pierces the cloth, pulls the needle up, pierces the cloth, and pulls the needle down. Each sewn thread creates an indexical line of invested time, gesture, and rhythm. As an artist I use this needle and thread to mine from my experiences as an immigrant to address issues of labor and identity politics. I try to unpack these complex labor and immigrant histories by engaging with people through long term projects utilizing varied social practices. At the root, is a research-based practice revolved around collecting materials: oral histories, data, commissioned artifacts, handmade objects, and remnants of handwork. I then invest in the materials with my own hands with time and labor in order to create large-scale installations and meticulously labor intensive works. However, being about invisible and Sisyphean labor, my works rarely suggest finality. The needle is a political tool. It pierces and binds membranes together. The thread that it steers is tied off and remains while the needle continues to bind and mend. In my art practice, I use that needle to stitch together various histories and discourses revolving around the simple act of sewing. However, this act is anything but uncomplicated. The creation of each stitch engages sewing’s complex histories and politics of traditional, industrial, feminist, immigrant, and artist labor.

location

X
  • Born: Seoul, South Korea
  • Based: Chicago, IL, USA

comments

X

contributor

X

Aram Han Sifuentes

b. 1986
image description
  • See All Works
  • visit website

Aram Han Sifuentes is a social practice fiber artist and works closely with Chicago-based non-profit organizations, community centers, and public schools to facilitate workshops for immigrant communities. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. Her solo exhibitions include “A Mend” at Hollister Gallery in Wellesley, MA, and “73,000 waiting” at Chicago Artists Coalition in Chicago, IL in October 2015. Her workshops include “Immigrant Takeover” at the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design in Ashville, NC, and “US Citizenship Test Sampler” at the Smithsonian Institution. She is a City of Chicago DCASE grant and Puffin Foundation Ltd grant recipient. Han earned her B.A. in Art and Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008, and her M.F.A. in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013. She is currently a Lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Sewing is a time-based practice. Fiber as a medium speaks a language of accessibility, intimacy, and time. From its inception, it has been touched. To sew, the hand, armed with a needle, pierces the cloth, pulls the needle up, pierces the cloth, and pulls the needle down. Each sewn thread creates an indexical line of invested time, gesture, and rhythm. As an artist I use this needle and thread to mine from my experiences as an immigrant to address issues of labor and identity politics. I try to unpack these complex labor and immigrant histories by engaging with people through long term projects utilizing varied social practices. At the root, is a research-based practice revolved around collecting materials: oral histories, data, commissioned artifacts, handmade objects, and remnants of handwork. I then invest in the materials with my own hands with time and labor in order to create large-scale installations and meticulously labor intensive works. However, being about invisible and Sisyphean labor, my works rarely suggest finality. The needle is a political tool. It pierces and binds membranes together. The thread that it steers is tied off and remains while the needle continues to bind and mend. In my art practice, I use that needle to stitch together various histories and discourses revolving around the simple act of sewing. However, this act is anything but uncomplicated. The creation of each stitch engages sewing’s complex histories and politics of traditional, industrial, feminist, immigrant, and artist labor.

location

X
  • Born: Seoul, South Korea
  • Based: Chicago, IL, USA

comments

X

contributor

X

Kristina Wong

b. 1978
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Kristina Wong is a third generation Chinese American, born in San Francisco and living in Los Angeles. Her work encompasses original solo performances, comedy, personal essays, acting, short films and textile work. She was recently featured in the New York Times’ "Off Color" series that “highlight[ed] artists of color who use humor to make smart social statements about the sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious ways that race plays out in America today.” She has created five solo shows and one ensemble play that have toured throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. Her longest running touring show, Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, looked at the high rates of depression and suicide among Asian American women and toured to over 40 venues since 2006. It’s now a broadcast quality film distributed by Cinema Libre Studios. Kristina’s been a commentator for American Public Media’s Marketplace, PBS, Jezebel, xoJane, Playgirl Magazine, Huffington Post, CNN and a guest on Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” and FXX’s “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.” Her work has been awarded with grants from Creative Capital, The Map Fund, Center for Cultural Innovation, the Durfee Foundation, National Performance Network, five Artist-in-Residence grants from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, and a residency from the MacDowell Colony. Kristina has twice given the commencement speech at the University of California, Los Angeles, her alma mater. She graduated with double degrees in English and World Arts and Cultures with a minor in Asian American Studies. She is also trained as an actor at the Steven Book Studios and improvisation at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Television credits include General Hospital, Nickelodeon’s “Nicky Ricky Dicky and Dawn,” and Myx TV’s “I’m Asian American and Want Reparations for Yellow Fever.” This Fall, she is a guest professor at California Institute for the Arts in the M.F.A. Creative Writing Program. Her mail order bride site is www.bigbadchinesemama.com.

I believe that as an artist, my job is not to “fix” the wrongs of the world with easy answers, but instead, to further complicate the question by making the invisible visible, and hopefully, creating some space for public discourse. I would describe my aesthetic at its best as subversive, humorous, and endearingly inappropriate. My non-traditional, multi-disciplinary approach logically mirrors my own multi-layered identity that has been influenced by innumerous cultures, religions, political thinking, technology and post-modern performance art. My nebulous identity continues to shift within the communities I live, evolve and interact with. I see my performance work as a humorous and ephemeral response to the invisible and visible boundaries that shape my world, rather than a hermetic declaration of my identity. I’m interested in guerilla performance as culture jamming– creating performances that subvert the use of space not intended for “performance.” I experiment with interactive, improvisational performance that blurs the roles of “artist” and “audience”— recasting unsuspecting bystanders as co-stars to my performance personas -– unearthing the masks, disguises and performances hidden in the most mundane of daily life. I adore “culture jammers.” Some of my favorites are the street interventions of Michael Moore, the “identity corrections” of the Yes Men, and the feminists who crashed television beauty pageants when I was growing up. Their performances are disguised within daily life to subvert, manipulate, and explode the status quo. I also appreciate the simplicity and elegance of interactive work like Yoko Ono’s. Much of my own guerilla theater work similarly offers social commentary and bypasses theaters and galleries—staged on the internet or alternative spaces. My theater work is informed by my site specific performance sensibilities. In my theater work, I challenge my relationship as a performer to my audience. I also confront the expectations of my genre and my subject matter within the work. My stage performance work differs from the Eurocentric theater traditions of 19th and 20th Century American Realism where actors apply “realistic” emotions to pre-written scripts. I see my “characters” as archetypal extensions of my own persona. I almost always break the fourth wall and let my audiences inform the direction of the show. My creation process is very organic. Some of my shows are living ritual exercises with the audience. I find that pre-scripting my work line-by-line at my computer and then rehearsing emotion into those lines is a very confining process. I prefer to generate lists of ideas and doodles, talk them out with trusted collaborators, improvise with a mix of media during rehearsals and then string up the best moments in a logical (or illogically logical) order for public performance. Some of my scripts actually look like a set list that a stand-up comic would use.

location

X
  • Born: San Francisco, CA, USA
  • Based: Los Angeles, CA, USA

comments

X

Wong Street Journal (Archival Photograph)

Kristina Wong

2014 - 2015 Photography Courtesy of Kristina Wong Photo Credit: Jennifer Cleary

contributor

X

Kristina Wong

b. 1978
image description
  • See All Works
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Kristina Wong is a third generation Chinese American, born in San Francisco and living in Los Angeles. Her work encompasses original solo performances, comedy, personal essays, acting, short films and textile work. She was recently featured in the New York Times’ "Off Color" series that “highlight[ed] artists of color who use humor to make smart social statements about the sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious ways that race plays out in America today.” She has created five solo shows and one ensemble play that have toured throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. Her longest running touring show, Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, looked at the high rates of depression and suicide among Asian American women and toured to over 40 venues since 2006. It’s now a broadcast quality film distributed by Cinema Libre Studios. Kristina’s been a commentator for American Public Media’s Marketplace, PBS, Jezebel, xoJane, Playgirl Magazine, Huffington Post, CNN and a guest on Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” and FXX’s “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.” Her work has been awarded with grants from Creative Capital, The Map Fund, Center for Cultural Innovation, the Durfee Foundation, National Performance Network, five Artist-in-Residence grants from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, and a residency from the MacDowell Colony. Kristina has twice given the commencement speech at the University of California, Los Angeles, her alma mater. She graduated with double degrees in English and World Arts and Cultures with a minor in Asian American Studies. She is also trained as an actor at the Steven Book Studios and improvisation at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Television credits include General Hospital, Nickelodeon’s “Nicky Ricky Dicky and Dawn,” and Myx TV’s “I’m Asian American and Want Reparations for Yellow Fever.” This Fall, she is a guest professor at California Institute for the Arts in the M.F.A. Creative Writing Program. Her mail order bride site is www.bigbadchinesemama.com.

I believe that as an artist, my job is not to “fix” the wrongs of the world with easy answers, but instead, to further complicate the question by making the invisible visible, and hopefully, creating some space for public discourse. I would describe my aesthetic at its best as subversive, humorous, and endearingly inappropriate. My non-traditional, multi-disciplinary approach logically mirrors my own multi-layered identity that has been influenced by innumerous cultures, religions, political thinking, technology and post-modern performance art. My nebulous identity continues to shift within the communities I live, evolve and interact with. I see my performance work as a humorous and ephemeral response to the invisible and visible boundaries that shape my world, rather than a hermetic declaration of my identity. I’m interested in guerilla performance as culture jamming– creating performances that subvert the use of space not intended for “performance.” I experiment with interactive, improvisational performance that blurs the roles of “artist” and “audience”— recasting unsuspecting bystanders as co-stars to my performance personas -– unearthing the masks, disguises and performances hidden in the most mundane of daily life. I adore “culture jammers.” Some of my favorites are the street interventions of Michael Moore, the “identity corrections” of the Yes Men, and the feminists who crashed television beauty pageants when I was growing up. Their performances are disguised within daily life to subvert, manipulate, and explode the status quo. I also appreciate the simplicity and elegance of interactive work like Yoko Ono’s. Much of my own guerilla theater work similarly offers social commentary and bypasses theaters and galleries—staged on the internet or alternative spaces. My theater work is informed by my site specific performance sensibilities. In my theater work, I challenge my relationship as a performer to my audience. I also confront the expectations of my genre and my subject matter within the work. My stage performance work differs from the Eurocentric theater traditions of 19th and 20th Century American Realism where actors apply “realistic” emotions to pre-written scripts. I see my “characters” as archetypal extensions of my own persona. I almost always break the fourth wall and let my audiences inform the direction of the show. My creation process is very organic. Some of my shows are living ritual exercises with the audience. I find that pre-scripting my work line-by-line at my computer and then rehearsing emotion into those lines is a very confining process. I prefer to generate lists of ideas and doodles, talk them out with trusted collaborators, improvise with a mix of media during rehearsals and then string up the best moments in a logical (or illogically logical) order for public performance. Some of my scripts actually look like a set list that a stand-up comic would use.

location

X
  • Born: San Francisco, CA, USA
  • Based: Los Angeles, CA, USA

comments

X