We drove out Friday afternoon and headed to our airBNB in Maryland. On Saturday, Jan 21st, we woke to our alarms at 7am and drove to Washington D.C. to rally then March with over a million other women to march against Trump and his hateful rhetoric which now that he is president is more real and scary than ever before. The most amazing thing is that this started at the grassroots level and people didn't need much convincing to show up. They felt compelled to act and do something NOW, TOGETHER.
The threats that Trump has made against many minority groups has elicited the unity of women and marginalized people worldwide in joining forces to support each other in the fight for our rights. Women's health and healthcare in general is under threat under the Trump/Pence administration and many artist organizations have been throwing shows to raise funds for Planned Parenthood. The "Nasty Women" show at Knockdown center sold out completely and raised $50,000 for the cause include curated parties all weekend with an amazing line up of live performances and women DJ's. I took these photos as a volunteer for the Friday the 13th Benefit Marathon curated by Hannah Daly featuring performances by Earth Eater, Fluct, and Ahsh Eff. The things we can do when we come together!!
Below is our statement for our show at Satellite Fair during Art Basel Miami Beach.
“[W]hatever they have not pounced on like many eyed birds of prey,does not appear in the language you speak. This is apparent precisely in the intervals that your masters have not been able to fill with their words...[I]n all that which is not a continuation of their discourse, in the zero, the O, the perfect circle that you invent to imprison them and to overthrow them.”
- Les Guerilleres, Monique Wittig
What if worlds were actually run by women and queerfolk? How do we see and materialize the existence of such a reality? In order to defeat the entities we now confront, we require new systems of every kind. We must decide how to rebuild from the ground up, and provide models to celebrate this process. Rin Johnson, Shaina Yang, Sarah Wang, Jordannah Elizabet, Sessa Englund, Dava Frog Wing and Shanti Latita, provide propositions, celebratory ephemera and meditations for the rebuilding of a society which has been dismantled and has crumbled around their feet. Disclaimer Gallery is proud to present, 'Destroy & Conquer' a 4 day exhibition at Satellite Art Fair in Miami Beach.
I always have to go back and re-read my sentences to delete all the exclamation marks I punctuate every sentence with. I fear it will make me look crazy though that's how I’m actually speaking in my head. The stars aligned in a way that gave me this enthusiasm from birth. When I was younger, the kids in my neighborhood gave me the nickname of HaHa because I laughed and smiled so much. I’d say I still laugh and smile more than the average person but definitely less now. When I first moved to New York, I got called out on it a lot. New Yorkers aren’t so outwardly happy all the time. I guess no one is? I think one day I will become a happiness coach. I know the key to happiness. Of course it is different for everyone but there is a general formula. When asked what I wanted to do with my life, my answer was always, “to be happy”. I have achieved my goal and I want to help others. I will start a church, the church of happiness.
Film photos taken on a $5 plastic camera from the months of August- September
I started in a grad program about two weeks ago and we have been getting assignments everyday! One of my favorites was going on a Derive or french for walk to two different locations. In class we flipped two coins over a New York City subway map and where ever we landed on was where we would explore. We landed on Flatbush, Brooklyn and Bowling Green in Manhattan. Our group decided to take photos of an inanimate object like a fire hydrant or phone booth. I picked trash cans which I feel like have such personalities of their own!
Besides Mardi Gras festivities, I wanted to check out some of the different neighborhoods in New Orleans. Although Katrina was almost ten years ago, the damages from the flood are still very apparent in neighborhoods such as the Lower 9th Ward. Homes here were submerged in up to 30 feet of water. A local thrift store owner reports that the neighborhood is quickly becoming more expensive to live in because insurance companies now charge more to insure homes in the area. New Orleans is very high risk for flooding because the whole area used to be swamp land and is still under sea level.
Some friends of mine, Zon and Paloma purchased a school bus and announced that they were moving down to New Orleans with all their belongings in it. I had always wanted to see New Orleans and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to not only document a once in a life time bus trip but to finally see the city I've only read about. The photos below chronicle parts of our journey!
Getting off at my usual stop at E Broadway on Canal and Essex Street, I passed by a father and son working on piling snow into a bordered off square shape. The "big" snow storm had just passed so there was plenty of fresh snow on the ground. I snapped some photos and went along my way, assuming they were just getting snow off the sidewalk for pedestrians around their storefront. On my way back to the subway station I saw that the snow pile had transformed into a snow man! After posting a photo of the snowman on instagram, another instagrammer informed me that the father son duo build snowmen as often as it snows! Its a tradition they keep which the neighborhood gets to enjoy! For more pictures of their snowmen, past and present just search the hashtag #chinatownsnowman. Last photo courtesy of Joseph Pinlac @istillheartnewyork.
Frog and I visited Ta Cheng with Dongba Shaman Priest, He Xiu Dong. Ta Cheng is a remote mountain town with very high altitudes, so high that it gets hard to breathe as you walk through the winding dirt roads that lead to neighbours houses. We arrived in the night time and stumbled in the dark past crops towards He Xiu Dong's childhood home. We arrived to an empty house, his father wasn't home. The kitchen was a humble room with a fire pit as the centerpiece like that in most Naxi homes. We started a fire which dimly illuminated the room with its light furnishings and kitchen utensils.
We brought vegetables to cook for dinner and Frog suggested we eat some of the cured pork meat hanging from wooden beams on the ceiling. I looked up and cringed. I am usually pretty enthusiastic about trying weird foods but this meat looked like something out of a horror movie. It was covered in grey and black mold, hanging amongst oil blackened spider webs and god knows what else. There was a whole pigs head which had been spliced in half and covered in webs, fuzz, and mold. I really doubted I could stomach to swallow, ingest, or put that meat anywhere near my mouth. Frog assured me that she had it before and it was perfectly safe to eat, even a sort of delicacy. I let her take over the prepping and stood around dumbly with my camera. She burned the outer layer of skin in the fire to kill the bacteria that had grown all over the meat. After she thought all the germs had been sufficiently burned she scrubbed the next layer of fat in a tub a water. She then cut the meat into thin strips and we stir fried everything in a wok with vegetables. I guess if it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger?
This past Friday I participated in my first career day with Kendreana. She is interested in the arts and wanted see how an art space functioned. I invited her to check out and assist in our opening group show called "Natural High" at City Bird Gallery. She took photos and video of the event and talked to different artists along the way. After the show I gave her a tour of another art space in the Lower East Side, Conartist Collective. Conartist is a shared studio space and gallery that has helped foster the growth of many artists worldwide. I'm so happy I got to share a bit of my world with her. In answering her interview questions I had the chance to reflect on all the experiences that brought me here.
On my last day of the residency program at Lijiang studio, Frog asked me to do a photo shoot of her as a swan as well as a female Dongba (shaman priest). She is being trained by a top shaman in the indigenous Naxi Culture, the tradition of practicing shamanism. In one photo she poses with all the tools for her practice. In earlier photos she poses as a swan, a costume made by the villagers to celebrate an annual tradition that is no longer being practiced by the younger generations.
There have been many nights of walking down Ludlow Street and discovering a variety of free things laid out on the same sidewalk around the same hours. The items range from clothing, shoes, kitchenware, books, and sometimes even gum or Tylenol all neatly arranged in a row. Sometimes there are signs telling you how much of each item you are allowed to take, an attempt to curb our inherent greed. I've run into Vicky, the woman behind the Free Free Store as my friends and I like to call it, a couple different times and thanked her for her work. On this particular night Vicky allowed us to tag along in her scavenging adventures. The tenement museum had just thrown out heaps of trash bags filled with treasures. We found brand new cans of spray paint, unused film rolls, wall paint, and many other usable knick knacks! Vicky lugged her stash back to the free store located on 149 Ludlow St between Stanton and Rivington while we carried our new art supplies to the studio. The free store is open from 9pm to 1am daily and has served many needy wanders of the night.
Heres an article on Vicky and her work: http://thevillager.com/2012/06/14/recycling-and-community-building-through-free-stuff/c
I bought a tye-die kit from Artist and Craftman for no apparent reason this past summer. While packing for the China Residency I decided to take it as a project to potentially do with the kids in the host family. I knew they had two young sons. Turns out the kids were already pretty grown, one boy had gone off to college and the other boy was going to high school in the city and only came home on weekends. We asked the younger brother to invite his friends over on the weekend to partake in the tye-die project.
I showed the boys four different patterns they could create on the T-Shirt. Being high schoolers and striving for perfection, they were extremely meticulous in laying out their pattern. They folded and unfolded their tees until they got it just right. Below are the results! Click the photo to view the gallery
In the mountain town of Ta Cheng, Yan JianHua makes paper for the local Dongbas (Shamans in the Naxi tradition) as well as the Dongba Research Center in Lijiang City. Dongbas use the paper in books that record the stories of their belief.
Yan JianHua, a Dongba himself, uses bark from a particular type of tree in his region and soaks it for up to 6 months until it is ready to be put through a machine several times and made into pulp. After the pulverizing process, the pulp is squeezed and formed with the hands into a ball the size of a tennis ball. The ball is then put into a tube like cylinder and loosened with a stick that has a flat end. The wet pulp is then dumped into a rectangular box which has a screen on top. After the pulp is swished around and evenly distributed the screen is taken to a wooden board and pressed down upon to squeeze all the excess water out. The board is laid out in the sun to dry and wallah we have paper!
In dumpling crits, my partner Shaina Yang and I take an artist to a local Chinatown dumpling house (the dinkier, the better) for a critique of their artwork by the dumpling house ladies and/or men. We act as facilitators/interpreters for both parties.
Shaina got the idea for dumpling crits for "Content" a zine published by the Conartist Collective located in the Lower East Side. Combing her love of dumplings and art, Dumpling Crits are a chance for an artist that is a part of the collective to interact with the people of the restaurants they frequent. It is an interesting exchange that is completely new and maybe a little unnerving for both parties!
The artist of the work is only revealed at the end of the critique. Sessa Englund (below) is the first artist to participate in the dumpling crits. She is so touched by the dumpling ladies honesty and enthusiasm that she gifts her painting to the ladies at the end.
One of my projects at Lijiang Studio was giving each member of the neighboring family a disposable camera. The residency is located on the property of local farmers. When approached by the founder of the residency with the idea of hosting artists, the grandpa of the family agreed. He thought it would be a really great avenue for cultural exchange, especially for the kids in the family. Before I left for the residency I wanted to bring them a gift, something related to what I was doing so I came up with the idea of giving everyone a disposable camera! Since I was photographing locals through my lens, I wanted to give them a chance to take pictures through their own. Being that I was a foreigner and they locals, their photos were bound to be different somehow, maybe more intimate and personal in nature than my own. At the end of my residency I was to bring back the cameras, get the pictures developed and send them back to the family. Part of the fun in using film is getting to see the photos later and re-discovering the moments you experienced. Below are some photos taken by Er Ge, the father in the family.