Curated by Joy Xiang
November 11-December 2, 2021
This fall, Vtape is presenting four programs developed by the 2021 Curatorial Incubator Incubatees after an extensive research phase where each of them viewed scores of potential titles to exhibit within their curatorial premise. Each program begins with a live introduction by the emerging curator or collective, followed by all the titles in their program, and ending with a live conversation between the emerging curator/collective and the artists in their program.
With her program Spirit, Feeding, Joy Xiang considers the materialization of heaven as a more just world through ghosts, desire, wishes, and speculative fiction. She asks: What does it mean to be inside or outside heaven? What if heavens were conceived of as already here on earth, being transformed in perpetuity, collapsing boundaries of heaven/hell/utopia/reality.
1. Yau Ching, I’m Starving, 1999, 13:00
An erotic tale. In a blue-hued apartment in Chinatown, New York, a ghost and a woman attach themselves to each other and languish in small intimacies, biding and binding time for an existence worth living. The ghost misses her past life and the sensation of eating, devours paper menus to echo the woman who subsists on ramen noodles and takeout. The wind blows; they make their own fortunes.
2. Guy Woueté, La liste est longue, 2007, 2:26
The artist lies prone in bed as the camera roves over his figure, voiceover describing an uncertain dream about the future. Multi-coloured texts pulled from various sources, such as protest declarations from anti-G7/G8 actions, obscure and glitch his face and body with scrolling horizontal and vertical overlays. Wishes and fears repeat and echo like a mantra.
3. Yudi Sewraj, The Weight of the Sun and the Moon, 2001, 3:00
A figure piles large rocks at the bottom of a crater, under a pint-sized spinning sun and moon. From day to night, the labourer drags, rolls, and carries these stones to form a makeshift kind of altar. Audio clips from the Apollo 11 moon landing are contrasted by earthly heavy lifting.
4. Stephanie Comilang, Lumapit Sa Akin, Paraiso (Come To Me, Paradise), 2017, 25:46
Paraiso, a ghost in the form of a drone, flies among the cold sleekness of Hong Kong skyscrapers and finds purpose in being the vessel and transmitter for Filipina migrant workers to send videos and messages home. She finds the women when their signals are strongest, gathered together on Sundays, their day off, 36 37 when they occupy and transform swathes of space in the heart of the financial district. The women create temporary structures where they meet, eat, meditate, surf their phones, away from the eye of work (by law, foreign domestic workers in HK must live with their employers). Even when the messages are transmitted, they live on in Paraiso’s cache/memory, carving out an in-between in the technological mediation between places, hopes, and desires. A “science fiction documentary.”
5. Chooc Ly Tan, New Materials in the Reading of the World, 2011, 5:20
Oublii!! Break the all-too-rational, coded rationality, of a relationship to physical laws which determine an idea of surrounding reality based on un-possibility and dying systems. What if botany was explored for its sonic potential, or words turned into spirited forces? Oubliism embraces cacophony, inverts norms, invents fragile forms. Atonal, with beatific dissonance and a collage of images, the work heralds the arrival of a cosmic and revolutionary vastness.
Read Joy Xiang’s essay in The Curatorial Incubator, v.17: On the Other Side – It’s Heaven: PUBLICATION
Image credit: The Weight of the Sun and the Moon, by Yudi Sewraj (2001)