September 23, 2023
I moderated a discussion following Jitr จิตร: extended gong ensemble, an audiovisual live code and collaborative sound making performance by elekhlekha with guest performers easterner, and Luisa Mei Bressan, which took place at CultureHub.
Jitr จิตร extended gong ensemble is a performance rooted in Southeast Asian Indigenous cultural practices and tuning systems with a MIDI network of gongs that connects the performers. As in traditional gong ensembles, the audience is invited to join the performance by making sounds with found objects, creating a communal, hybrid sound.
Photo by Dan Gorelick
April 5, 2023
I'm honored to share that with my work at Rhizome, I'm one of 39 curators and curatorial teams throughout the United States to receive a grant as part of the Teiger Foundation’s inaugural Call for Proposals.
Our grant will support the presentation of archived born-digital works from the 1980s to today. Works will be restored and preserved as part of ArtBase, Rhizome's archive, and shared online with curatorial context, including social media packages, curatorial texts, artist interviews, and archival materials, all designed to bring the stories of the people and communities behind these works to life. The initiative aims to support an equitable historical accounting in the field of digital art.
December 10, 2022
With scholar Mikhel Proulx, I co-organized Rhizome Presents: CyberPowWow, the first major U.S. museum exhibition of CyberPowWow which opened on December 10, 2022 at the New Museum.
Rhizome Presents: CyberPowWow is a restaging of one of the first major online exhibitions, a project that was first launched in 1997 by Nation to Nation, a First Nations artist collective co-founded by Skawennati, Ryan Rice, and Eric Robertson. Described as "an Aboriginally determined territory in cyberspace," CyberPowWow presented works by Indigenous artists—sometimes in dialogue with settler artists. This presentation took place at the New Museum in New York City, which sits on unceded Indigenous land, specifically the homeland of the Lenape peoples.
CyberPowWow took place from 1997-2004 in a graphical chat software called The Palace, on the web, and in more than twenty cultural centers internationally. At these "Gathering Sites," community members convened together to eat, talk, and to have some of their first experiences of the internet.
To experience CyberPowWow, a viewer would dress their digital avatar according to their whim to traverse and interact within vibrant and multifaceted, artist-made virtual rooms. These environments, representing an expansive range of artist styles, collectively express, from a distinctly Indigenous perspective, a familiar excitement for possibilities of connection on the early internet. Recurring themes include self-portraiture, archival photography, geographical maps, and natural landscapes. These leitmotifs transpired through technological, artistic, and semantic identities of the exhibition curators and participating artists. The uniqueness of the overall aesthetic and collection of innovative, intimate artworks mark CyberPowWow as a landmark exhibition in the history of net art.
Rhizome Presents: CyberPowWow utilizes legacy computer environments to display restored versions of the four roughly biennial exhibitions as well as ephemera from the Indigenous Art Archive, video documentation of the works, and a remake of the CyberPowWow logo illustration. In the spirit of CyberPowWow's in-person community gatherings of that time, the freshly restored versions were shown alongside potted plants, with food and drink to share as viewers experienced CyberPowWow together again. Today, CyberPowWow is ripe for reconsideration as an early example of Skawennati and her collaborators' vision for an Indigenous future.
Photos by Cameron Kelly McCleod
May 19, 2022
I participated as a speaker at Computer Art Study Day at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art in Washington D.C. This convening of scholars and cultural workers from across the U.S. focused on the first decades in which artists began to incorporate emerging computer technologies into their practices. Computer Art Study Day explored how to collect, preserve, and make available key archival collections documenting the medium’s history.
May 14, 2022
I commissioned The Longest Whistlegraph Ever (so far), a composition by the artist collective Whistlegraph, which debuted in New York as a live performance at the New Museum on May 14, 2022.
Whistlegraphs are audio-visual digital artworks performed manually by drawing and singing. Every whistlegraph results in a poetic image through the performance of a reproducible score.
Video of a subsequent performance, recorded in Ashland, Oregon, was published online alongside materials from the composition process, including manuscripts, recordings, and a full graphic score. In addition, I worked with Whistlegraph to develop and administer online workshops for children, where participants learned about computer software and art history while creating their own artistic compositions. Reflections and documentation from these workshops are viewable on Rhizome.
Alex Freundlich, Camille Klein, and Jeffrey Scudder draw, sing, and make videos together as Whistlegraph. Since forming the group in 2020, they regularly share their work on their TikTok account, @whistlegraph, where they have over two million followers. Over the past few years, they have honed a distinctive style and practice that speaks to embodied cognition, art education, and experimental composition for live performance.
October 30, 2021
I curated Wet Networks in the Queens Museum’s Watershed gallery which houses The Relief Map of New York City’s Water Supply System. The exhibition presented artifacts and commissions from an experimental residency at artist Shu Lea Cheang’s Catskill farm, located near the Pepacton reservoir, which feeds New York City. I facilitated the residency for artists Tecumseh Ceaser, Nabil Hassein, Melanie Hoff, Christopher Lin, Jan Mun, and TJ Shin, setting up camp and meals, authoring a community agreement, and inviting teachers: a local mycologist and the Founder of the Center for Algonquin Culture. Beyond the desire to highlight the educational artifact, The Relief Map, I wanted to discover how living and learning with artists impacts the outcome of an exhibition. The artist commissions provided encounters with images, sculpture, soil and living matter, databases, and Algonquin history, that illuminate the relationships between new technologies and traditional ways of knowing, the challenges of collective care, and how land and water shape and are shaped by us.
Wet Networks was presented in partnership with Rhizome and CycleX and was on view October 30, 2021–January 30, 2022 at the Queens Museum.
Photos by Dario Lasagni.
September 10, 2021
With Michael Connor, I co-curated Shirley Sound, an interactive audiovisual installation by Ryan C. Clarke which will premiere at Boiler Room Festival on September 10, 2021 at the Knockdown Center in New York.
Shirley Sound considers what is lost in Black music as a result of its digitization and compression. Using a crossfader, listeners may alternate between, one one channel, uncompressed Black sound spanning 100 years; and on the other, the audio that is removed from these tracks when they are compressed using the MPEG-1 Audio Layer III (MP3) codec. Produced using the acoustic methodology of the late Ryan Patrick McGuire, Ph.D., the latter channel allows the listener to hear, in a sense, what the MP3 erases.
Read more on the Rhizome blog.
August 30, 2021
I will be Mentor-in-Residence for NEW INC's 2021-22 Art & Code track, a collaboration between Rhizome and NEW INC, now in its second year. I'll be facilitating monthly seminars, providing individual guidance, and organizing an exhibition of work by track members at the end of the residency period.
Read more about the impressive Year 8 cohort on the Rhizome blog!
August 2, 2021
I interviewed prolific digital painter Katherine Frazer. We spoke about productivity software, ikebana, and her artistic process.
February 24, 2021
Christopher K. Ho and Daisy Nam invited me to contribute a letter to Best! Letters from Asian Americans in the arts, available to order on Paper Monument's website.
This collection of seventy-three letters captures an unprecedented moment in politics and society through the experiences of Asian-American artists, curators, educators, art historians, editors, writers, and designers. The form of the letter offers readers intimate insights into the complexities of Asian American experiences, moving beyond the model-minority myth. Chronicling everyday lives, dreams, rage, family histories, and cultural politics, these letters ignite new ways of being, and modes of creating, at a moment of racial reckoning.
With Contributions By:
Aily Nash and Sylvia Schedelbauer, Ajay Kurian, Alexander Lau, Anicka Yi, Anne Anlin Cheng, Anoka Faruqee, Aruna D’Souza, Asad Raza, Brendan Fernandes, Brian Kuan Wood, Byron Kim, C. Spencer Yeh, Candice Lin, Cathy Park Hong, Celine Wong Katzman, CFGNY, Chitra Ganesh and Sung Hwan Kim, Chris Wu, Christine Y. Kim, Dawn Chan, Furen Dai, Hera Chan, Herb Tam, Holly Shen, Hồng-Ân Trương, Howie Chen, Hyperlink Press, Iftikhar Dadi, J Fan, j.p. mot, Jean Shin, Jen Liu, Jesse Chun, Jessica Hong, Jia Tolentino, John Tain, John Yau, Josh Kline, Ka-Man Tse, Ken Lum, Kenneth Tam, Kim Nguyen, Luke Luokun Cheng, Lumi Tan, Maia Chao, Marc Handelman, Marci Kwon, Margaret Lee, Martha Tuttle, Martin Wong, Mary Lum, Matthew Shen Goodman, Megha Ralapati, Mel Chin, Michelle Lopez, Mimi Wong, Mo Kong, Naeem Mohaiemen and Yara El-Sherbini, Pamela M. Lee, Patrick Jaojoco, Patty Chang, Paul Pfeiffer, Philip Poon, Prem Krishnamurthy, Ralph Pugay, Sarah McCaffery, Zheng Sheng-Tian, WangShui, Sreshta Rit Premnath, Tausif Noor, Vinay Hira, Yayoi Shionoiri, and Zulfikhar Bhutto.
December 16, 2020
consider the scallion is a risograph anthology I co-edited with Diane Zhou that features a constellation of reflections on the elusive, intricate nature of the scallion. We have always been fascinated by scallions as cultural artifacts with long roots (haha) stretching across cuisines and experiences. Since many of us have been staying at home and cooking more often as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, scallions have become a precious culinary resource. Growing in our windowsill gardens, they have emerged as a symbol of self-renewal, grounding us with the reassurance that time is indeed passing and that we can still find ways to flourish together.
Each edition of one hundred includes a special bleached paper made from scallions by artist Tim Simonds. Other contributors include Luke Luokun Cheng, Matthew Shen Goodman, Anton Haugen, Christina Yuna Ko, Mo Kong, Vivienne La, Fei Liu, Kevin Lozano, Larissa Pham, Stephanie H. Shih, Tiffany Jaeyeon Shin, Son Kit, Sprechgesang Institute, Jia Sung, Taehee Whang, Rose Wong, Jasmine Yeh, Diane Zhou, and me!
This project was made possible with the generous support of the Brooklyn Arts Council and Asia Art Archive in America.
You can purchase a copy of consider the scallion here.
May 3, 2020
I'm offering an online artist statement class with the School for Poetic Computation starting on June 1st, 2020. There will be 5 sessions, 3 hours each.
Enrollment is open to anyone including artists, designers, creative technologists, engineers, architects, and others whose practices are difficult to define.
Much like a user guide helps non-technical readers understand a system, an artist statement introduces an unfamiliar audience to the artist’s practice and informs them about the references, questions, and thought processes behind the artist’s work. We will consider the artist statement as a practical communication tool (for grant and residency applications) as well as a more intimate map for guiding the direction and values of one’s practice.
☆ give thoughtful presentations of their own work and feedback to others
☆ participate in writing exercises and one-on-one editorial meetings
☆ read and discuss texts written by artists
☆ engage in group discussions about the challenges of maintaining an honest practice
☆ imagine alternatives to capitalist institutions as the context for our creative work
By the end of the class, students will cultivate clear and compelling artist statements.
November 7, 2019
I am a participant in Asia Art Archive in America’s annual Leadership Camp, a four-part closed seminar that addresses the complex subject of Asians in America, and the even more complex subject position of Asian-Americans, a term that encompasses diverse histories, languages, and ‘home’-country politics. This year's session, “Model Minority and Model Majorities,” is facilitated by Furen Dai and Christopher K Ho.
We were invited by SVA's masters program in curatorial practice to present a series of propositions responding to the strangeness of Asian and Asian-American lived experience in relation to historical meta-narratives and notions of “home”—country politics, history, and language. The event will take place on Thursday, November 7 at 7 pm and is free and open to the public.
October 30, 2019
The Eyebeam Center for the Future of Journalism and The Nation invited me to collaborate with artist Angela Washko to produce an interactive article about the research behind her project The Game: The Game, building upon our conversation in Rhizome in 2017. The Game: The Game is a choose-your-own-adventure style video game in which a player navigates a female protagonist through a bar attempting to meet a friend. In order to advance, the player must interact with pick-up artists blocking her way and deploying the manipulative strategies that gained them notoriety. The article contains text written by me, a Twine game made by Angela and data visualizations she made in collaboration with Aman Tiwari.
Read it on The Nation.
May 31, 2019
I interviewed artist Tiri Kananuruk whose practice explores the manipulation of sound in the context of technological consumerism, examining human relationships through the use of transmitted signals and machine learning, natural language, and bodily movement.
April 3, 2019
I will be a guest lecturer at Bard College for two seminar classes in Asian American Art History and Asian American Literature taught by Tom Wolf and Dr. Nathan Shockey, respectively. The courses explore a range of artistic and literary works associated with the contested category “Asian American” and consider the ways in which these works are inextricable from historical context; the experience of exclusion, internment, war, (post)colonialism, and political activism.
March 28, 2019
I will be moderating an artist panel on March 28, 2019 at Outpost Artist Resources which will take place as a part of Travels Through the Unreal, a video screening curated by Ann Haeyoung featuring artists Morehshin Allahyari, Frank Wang, Everest Pipkin, and Chen Wang.
The VR viewing and video screening will begin at 7PM. Afterward, Frank Wang, Everest Pipkin, and Chen Wang will join me for the panel at 8PM.
January 31, 2018
I have two texts published in Rhizome's The Art Happens Here: Net Art Anthology. The 435-page catalogue accompanies the exhibition The Art Happens Here: Net Art's Archival Poetics, on view at the New Museum through May 26, 2019.
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.
July 26, 2018
I organized Black Stroke White Fill, a conversation between American Artist and Ryan Kuo at bitforms gallery. The artists will discuss their complementary approaches to critiquing whiteness in the digital realm. Black Stroke White Fill will take place during The Pointer, a commissioned solo project by Kuo for the bitforms gallery office.
In The Pointer, Kuo utilizes “well intentioned” white interfaces such as Keynote, the macOS UI, and first-person game space—seamless, easy to accept at face value—and folds them back on themselves in order to reveal the whiteness that drives these platforms and social production. Kuo compares his approach to a “model minority” identity politic, in which the tools are accepted as a given and either successfully made one’s own, or enforce further assimilation into whiteness.
Artist’s recent body of work titled Black Gooey Universe examines the history of the computer interface and the establishment of whiteness as a “neutral” blank canvas for virtual innovation. Artist’s sculptural works consider an alternative Black screened device that has yet to materialize, and references an Afro-pessimistic logic for engaging with an interface that positions itself as inherently white.
June 7, 2018
Outside the Palace of Heavenly Purity, a group exhibition I co-curated with Diane Zhou and Son Kit, presents narratives that complicate the prevailing idea of globalization as a force emanating directly from privileged Western centers. Artworks by Ho Rui An, Jen Liu, Ingrid Zhuang, Zheng Bo, and O Zhang engaged a variety of speculative models to explore emergent networks of Chinese power within the global landscape as well as 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 was on view June 7 - August 5 at bitforms gallery in New York.
June 7, 2018
I commissioned and curated The Pointer, an exhibition by Ryan Kuo featuring three new software artworks addressing the construct of whiteness and its involvement in technological aesthetics and productivity. Kuo’s approach wryly follows the American “model minority” identity politic, in which the tools are accepted as a given and either successfully made one’s own, or enforce further assimilation into whiteness. The Pointer was on view June 7 - August 5 at bitforms gallery in New York.
April 24, 2018
For the past two weeks I’ve been ruling centuries of kingdoms in Reigns: Her Majesty, reincarnated as queen in perpetuum. The iOS game succeeds its king-centric predecessor, Reigns, in which the player makes choices to advance the narrative by swiping left or right on cards, as in Tinder. Reigns: Her Majesty is not simply a version of the original game with an almighty female head of state, but is instead a complex examination of the contradictory obligations and impossible choices for a woman in (proximity to) power.
April 23, 2018
I will be a returning guest lecturer in Michael Stewart's advanced English class, Digital Non-Fiction, at Brown University. The class examines how digital environments and platforms enrich as well as challenge traditional narrative strategies.
March 24, 2018
I organized a conversation between artists Casey Reas and Jeffrey Alan Scudder at bitforms gallery. The artists will explore the intersecting histories of drawing, animation and coding systems. In addition to highlighting notable crossovers from computation, cinema, painting, and music, they'll be demonstrating a few of their own works from recent years, with ample time for discussion and questions from the audience.
This presentation is a part of Make Pictures, a collaborative pop-up exhibition that I facilitated between bitforms gallery and GIPHY Arts. Make Pictures features four web-based drawing and animation tools commissioned by GIPHY Arts: Sketch Machine by Casey Reas, Extinctr by Harm van den Dorpel, Eyemall by Withering Systems, and Boopy by Andrew Benson.
February 18, 2018
I organized a performance at bitforms gallery on February 18 featuring four artists who I greatly admire: Maria Chavez, Akiko Hatakeyama, Caroline Park, and Asha Tamirisa. Their sound-based practices span electroacoustic improvisation, audiovisual composition, and the construction of experimental controllers and software for performance.
July 17, 2017
I interviewed Angela Washko about her art practice and ongoing projects challenging misogyny in both virtual and IRL gaming cultures. In particular, we discussed her most recent project The Game: The Game, a choose-your-own-adventure style video game in which a player navigates a female protagonist through a bar attempting to meet a friend. In order to advance, the player must interact with pick-up artists blocking her way and deploying the manipulative strategies that gained them notoriety. I asked Washko about her frustrating experiences interacting with the pick-up community, developing counter-strategies for game, and how we, as women, can treat the well-being of these men as a feminist issue while practicing self-preservation.
June 19, 2017
opensignal is a collective of artists based in Providence, Rhode Island concerned with the state of gender and race in experimental electronic-based sound and art practices. I spoke with them about carving out space for traditionally excluded voices in a creative field dominated by homogeneity.
June 5, 2017
I co-authored an essay with Son Kit to accompany the presentation of Samsung by Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries in Rhizome's Net Art Anthology. We discuss globalization, South Korean corporate culture, and the complex nature of Samsung—its existence not only as an economic entity but also as an emotional phantom, reaching its incorporeal fingers into relationships, daydreams, and fantasies.
March 6, 2017
I will be a guest lecturer in Michael Stewart's advanced English class, Digital Non-Fiction, at Brown University. The class examines how digital environments and platforms enrich as well as challenge traditional narrative strategies.
September 22, 2016
I wrote about the group show, Respectability Politics at OUTLET which asks how identity shapes participation in the art world and determines the parameters of acceptable behavior. The transgressive energy in these works serves as a reminder of norms of decency in the art world and beyond, prompting a reflection on who gains from flouting them, and how.
December 7, 2015
I wrote about John Russell's hypertext fiction, SQRRL. The text is structured along two trajectories, allowing the reader to toggle between a narrative poem and a series of footnotes. Moving fluidly between contemporary theory and futuristic narrative, the reader of Russell's text finds that this cynical and beautiful vision of a future society, in which a person's consciousness may be distributed among seven lizards, has strong echoes of the present.