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.
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.
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
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.