A short video essay that takes one of the world-building tics of white science fiction — gratuitous signage in Asian languages — to consider its utopian potential and dystopian applications.
Upcoming and recent exhibitions, screenings, presentations, projects.
A virtual haunted house of the horrors of D.E.I. in cultural institutions where we examine some of the horrific and harmful practices, while making a case for better ways to approach this necessary work.
A SIEVE FOR INFINITY
The works gathered together abstract, fragment, and accumulate: A murmuration of paint drops, a trussing of horsehide and metal, a tapestry chronicling genesis and apocalypse.
SF Chronicle on 2022 Artadia Awards
“Bay Area visual artists Miguel Arzabe, Gregory Rick and Astria Suparak are the three recipients of the 15th annual San Francisco Bay Area Artadia Awards for 2022.”
Variable West on Asian Futures, Without Asians
“It was as if Everything Everywhere [All At Once] took all the things that make sci-fi films insufferable and racist for Asian people, and banished them to another universe. Asian Futures, Without Asians showed us a map of where they were embedded, awaiting their destruction. In their own way, both are defiant, which made it cathartic, brilliant.”
T: New York Times Style Magazine
“Ms. Guo describes it as a statement show. […] a second installment of The Hearing Trumpet, with work by the video artist Astria Suparak, the ceramicist Heidi Lau and others, opened Saturday.”
An installation that collages white men outfitted in “Hawaiian shirts” while vacationing in future foreign lands.
The 21-foot long mural Tang Rainbow is an array of non-Asian actors outfitted in Chinese-influenced costumes across 50 years of science fiction cinema and television.
South China Morning Post on For Ornamental Purposes
“Astria Suparak’s For Ornamental Purposes (2022), a three-channel video, used scenes from films that cast Asian women only to be desired and conquered, pointing to the harm made possible by fantasy. […] ‘With Her Voice, Penetrate Earth’s Floor’ carves quiet moments like these to express how it feels to be broken.
Imaginary Worlds on Asian Futures, Without Asians
“It was an eye-opener for me because I had seen most of the movies and shows she referenced, but I was suddenly seeing them in a whole new light. Apparently, a lot of people feel that way after seeing her presentation.”
Walker Art Center: Peggy Ahwesh & Astria Suparak
“Peggy Ahwesh and Astria Suparak offer inventive perspectives of Western influences on Asian cinema and and Asian influences on Western cinema.” Two-week run at The Walker.
The Hollywood Reporter on Asian Futures, Without Asians
“Asian Futures, Without Asians illuminates the lopsided nature of one Hollywood genre and critiques the way media is concepted to guide audience empathy. Suparak’s [installation] investigates how artificial intelligence is coded in film, and the ways in which sympathetic robots and cyborgs, who are often white, are designed”
MoMA: An Evening with Astria Suparak
Two-week run of “Asian futures, without Asians” at MoMA, NY. Followed by a conversation with Xin Wang and Theodore Lau.
SYMPATHETIC WHITE ROBOTS
An installation that “compiles stills from films that marshal empathy for AI agents who are coded as white and humanized through their association with whiteness […] Suparak’s media archaeology interrogates imaginaries of AI”
Short looping video that collages footage from 30 years of futuristic sci-fi movies and television shows that employ a fetishized tropics trope.
WHY ARE THEY SO AFRAID OF THE LOTUS?
Published by the Wattis Institute & Sternberg Press, distributed by MIT Press. Newly commissioned texts and an edited selection, taking the work of Trinh T. Minh-ha as its point of departure and driven by the question “What are we learning from artists today?”
ASIAN FUTURES, WITHOUT ASIANS (presentation)
Part critical analysis, part reflective essay and sprinkled throughout with humor, justified anger, and informative morsels, this illustrated presentation examines over 50 years of American science fiction cinema through the lens of Asian appropriation and whitewashing.
HELMET TO HELMET
Collage of the Philippine salakót (roughly translates from Tagalog to “native helmet”); how it was worn by Filipinos and Spaniards in the occupying Spanish army; then adapted into the pith helmet, since deployed by every white colonial power.
SEEDY SPACE PORTS & COLONY PLANETS
Visual essay and collage on the history and (sci-fi) future of the ancient Asian technology, the conical hat.
ASIANS HAVE BEEN HERE LONGER THAN COWBOYS
Billboard created for For Freedoms by Stop DiscriminAsian, on view in Los Angeles.
New York Times on Virtually Asian
“Countering invisibility is at the heart of a short film by Astria Suparak titled ‘Virtually Asian.’ It splices together scenes from science fiction movies in which urban landscapes are filled with stereotypical ‘Asian’ signifiers, but the actual characters are almost exclusively white.”
KQED review of Virtually Asian
“Suparak’s piece is immediate and her voice, narrating the words, is melodic and compelling. The over-dubbing of her acerbic observations on blockbuster films is a compelling prelude to other iterations of her work that will appear in fragments across digital platforms.”
Short video essay that looks at how white science fiction filmmakers fill the backgrounds of their futuristic worlds with hollow Asian figures—in the form of video and holographic advertisements—while the main cast (if not the entirety of their fictional universe’s population) is devoid of actual Asian people.
MATCHING MINORITIES//DOUBTFUL DOUBLES
“This is a pretty interesting experiment in real-time […] It’s heartening to see such a keen and engaged audience. Lee, Suparak, and Delos Reyes have set up a really successful platform for exchange.” – Hyperallergic
ASIAN FUTURES, WITHOUT ASIANS series
Series of projects, presentations, and texts on how white filmmakers envision futures inflected by Asian culture, but devoid of actual Asian people. A visual analysis of 50+ years of American science fiction cinema.
THE MUSEUM IS NOT ENOUGH
Co-published by Centre Canadien d’Architecture and Sternberg Press, this book is a result of collective reflections on architecture, contemporary social concerns, institutions, and the public.
WILD PARROT PLAYGROUND
A giant playground for the feral parrots that live in cities.
Art21 conversation with Stephanie Syjuco
In a special extended interview, Syjuco and Suparak discuss the roles of speech and protest in contemporary art.
EXPANDING THE FIELD: Sports & Politics Discussion Series
Three-part series with journalists, academics, and cultural producers covering topics like athletic protest, concussions and health issues, and labor and exploitation.
A NON-ZERO-SUM GAME
This year-long series of art exhibitions, film programs, discussions, commissioned projects, and other events took place in galleries, cinemas, sports bars, bookstores, and on rooftops from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.
INCITE Journal of Experimental Media: SPORTS
The first volume of its kind, this double issue examines the intersections of sports, performance, popular culture, and experimental media. Features 41 contributors including artists, writers, critics, scholars, historians, and athletes.
“Queer Threads is not just an exploration of fiber art and crafts, but also a celebration of the creativity, diversity, and vibrancy of contemporary queer culture.”
Joanie 4 Jackie
The complete archives of the influential underground film network for female filmmakers has been acquired by The Getty and is now viewable online. A selection of videos is available on the Criterion Channel (2020-Present).
WOMEN INC. LEXICON
A lexicon of neologisms coining new words for a new age, one marked by advances in omnipresent technology and mass surveillance; a privatization of art, culture, and education; as well as a continued struggle with intersectional issues.
PIGEONS ON THE GRASS, ALAS: Contemporary Curators Talk about the Field
Published by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, this is a book of interviews with curators talking about their influences, aspirations, and challenges.
This exhibition provides a view into the passion and diversity of the punk feminist movement Riot Grrrl, and highlights how these ideas have broadened, evolved and mutated in the work of contemporary artists.
WHATEVER IT TAKES: Steelers Fan Collections, Rituals, and Obsessions
The first major gallery exhibition to present sports fanaticism as a significant form of cultural production, bridging the assumed gap between sports and the arts.
KEEP IT SLICK: Infiltrating Capitalism with The Yes Men
The first major exhibition of the internationally renowned culture-jamming group. Dubbed “the most prescient show of the year” by Paper City and “a timely acknowledgment of the work of […] the great social satirists of our time” by Art Papers.
Ocula on For Ornamental Purposes
“Suparak’s three-channel video For Ornamental Purposes (2022) zooms in on the holographic koi fish sometimes used in Western sci-fi to signify a more global future.”
FOR ORNAMENTAL PURPOSES
A 3-channel video work shows us how koi are used to embellish the scenery in Hollywood sci-fi. GIF-ified, they are glitches of techno-Orientalist fantasies
MONDAY Art Journal: Lux Aeterna
MONDAY considers how technological, economic, and cultural forces shape the ways we produce, share, and experience media — and how that media in turn influences our values and aesthetics.
Media-N Journal review of Virtually Asian
“The mute virtual women of the films profiled in Virtually Asian represent a curtailing of the technologically-enhanced female body. The effect of the accumulation of echoing tropes in Virtually Asian – of repeated images of Asian women in traditional dress appearing as immaterial set dressing for white characters – is to emphasize how relentless this process of erasure is.”
NextShark, Yahoo News on Virtually Asian
“A video essay by artist Astria Suparak offers a visual critique of sci-fi and speculative fiction films that use Asian cultures as a backdrop and Asian people as props.”