Celine Wong Katzman

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Five Contortions

November 2–16, 2018

EST (Diane Zhou, Son Kit, and myself) curated Five Contortions, a selection of single channel video works by Dana Davenport, Valery Jung Estabrook, Shu Lea Cheang, Chang Jin Lee, and Jen Liu. Taken together, the works in Five Contortions engage the East Asian femme body as a site upon which visibility, labor, agency, and exploitation shift in dangerous flux. The relentless effort of combating sexual exotification and western expectations of “Asian-ness” troubles the notion of representation as liberatory, even as one struggles against American racism’s negation of Asian individuality, the facelessness of the exploited laborer in global industrial capitalism, and the emptiness of superficially embracing ethnic diversity. The physicality of the body is palpable in all these works, through emphasis, modification, damage, distortion, or even omission, and these unflinching treatments force viewers to confront notions of personhood in the face of dehumanization.

The exhibition is on view November 2 - 16 at the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

EST (Eastern Standard Time) is a research collective co-founded by Celine Wong Katzman, Son Kit, and Diane Zhou. EST questions the Western imaginary of Asia as a monolithic entity. While overly-expansive, orientalist definitions make it impossible to ascribe cultural, political, or geographical unity to Asia, EST is interested in its potential as a call to organize across a spectrum of experience. EST is based in New York, NY and Providence, RI.

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Outside the Palace of Heavenly Purity

June 7–August 5, 2018

EST (Diane Zhou, Son Kit, and myself) curated Outside the Palace of Heavenly Purity featuring Ho Rui An, Jen Liu, Ingrid Zhuang, Zheng Bo, and O Zhang. Outside the Palace of Heavenly Purity presents narratives that complicate the prevailing idea of globalization as a force emanating directly from privileged Western centers. Engaging with a variety of speculative models, the works explore the dynamics of emergent networks of power within the global landscape and its local permutations.

The exhibition title refers to the former location of a controversial Starbucks franchise within the Forbidden City. First opened in 2000, the cafe closed in 2007 in the wake of an online campaign spearheaded by TV anchor Rui Chenggang, who argued that its presence was a neo-colonial intrusion of Western “coffee culture” into Chinese cultural heritage.

The exhibition is on view June 7 - August 5 at bitforms gallery in New York.

EST (Eastern Standard Time) is a research collective co-founded by Celine Wong Katzman, Son Kit, and Diane Zhou. EST questions the Western imaginary of Asia as a monolithic entity. While overly-expansive, orientalist definitions make it impossible to ascribe cultural, political, or geographical unity to Asia, EST is interested in its potential as a call to organize across a spectrum of experience. EST is based in New York, NY and Providence, RI.
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