Celine Wong Katzman


Inherit, Yield, Regenerate

June 5, 2024

I curated Inherit, Yield, Regenerate for NEW INC's DEMO Festival, which opened on June 5, 2024 at WSA in New York. This exhibition brings together the work of seven artists and collectives who have been in community with one another for the past nine months as members in NEW INC’s Creative Science track.

Chando Ao, Craftwork, MORAKANA, OUTOFSEAM, Martha Poggioli, Tao Leigh Goffe, and Iz Nettere utilize natural and synthetic fibers, fungi, plant matter, malleable surgical grade plastics, electromagnetic waves, and various states of material transformation. The experimental works on view actualize and propose a surpassing of scientific boundaries through vibrant, evolutionary forms of mutation, superpowers, and magical knowledge passed between ancestral generations.

Ao’s foot becomes a vessel for flowering life, while our hands become ultrahydrophobic, like lotus leaves, with the application of his engineered particles, suggesting a medium that might make us amphibious again. OUTOFSEAM’s plant-dyed fabrics carry their origins in family and colonial histories. Goffe’s fermentation and pickling processes join global diasporic traditions and anti-imperialist struggles at a singular banquet. Nettere bridges biological, chemical, photochemical, and digital processes to fix the latent nature of non-fruiting mycelium.

MORAKANA imagines an organism’s future phylogenetic adaptation to the electromagnetic spectrum to find nourishment in persistent and ever-present 5G wifi waves, which may exist long after human life on earth. Poggioli transfigures surgical grade plastics into messy, organic compositions inspired by biomorphic shapes encountered during medical procedures. Craftwork absorbs and illuminates the viewer’s voice within a tapestry of encoded histories inspired by Incan Quipu and Underground Railroad quilt ciphers.

The qualities and concerns shared and divergent between the Creative Science track members, who are assembled as ever by chance, speak to transformational and chemical reactions of making and regeneration.

Photos by Dario Lasagni

Rhizome Presents: CyberPowWow

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

Wet Networks

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.

Shirley Sound

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.

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.


Outside the Palace of Heavenly Purity

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.


The Pointer

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.

Read Kent Szlauderbach's interview with Kuo about The Pointer on BOMB.