”Our Bones are Made of Starlight”

23 Mar 2018 – 6 May 2018

1a space

Hong Kong, Hong Kong


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1a space proudly presents Our Bones Are Made of Starlight, a contemporary art exhibition curated by Justin Hoover (胡智腾), the 1a space 21st Century Art Incubator – Open Call for Curator curatorial recipient.


Our Bones Are Made of Starlight features contemporary artists Desiree Holman, Fernanda D'Agostino, Fang Lu, Ranu Mukherjee, and art group Mail Order Brides (MOB), consisting of Reanne Estrada, Eliza Barrios, and Jenifer Wofford. 

Our Bones Are Made of Starlight

Exhibition Opening: 23 March 2018, 6:30pm
Exhibition Period: 24 March – 6 May 2018
Time: Tuesday to Sundays 11 am – 7 pm; closed on Mondays
Address: 1a space 
Unit 14, Cattle Depot Artist Village, 63 Ma Tau Kok Road, 
To Kwa Wan, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Enquiry: 25290087/ info@oneaspace.org.hk
Facebook: 1a space
Instagram: 1a_space

1a space proudly presents Our Bones Are Made of Starlight, a contemporary art exhibition curated by Justin Hoover (胡智腾), the 1a space 21st Century Art Incubator – Open Call for Curator curatorial recipient. Our Bones Are Made of Starlight features contemporary artists Desiree Holman, Fernanda D'Agostino, Fang Lu, Ranu Mukherjee, and art group Mail Order Brides (MOB), consisting of Reanne Estrada, Eliza Barrios, and Jenifer Wofford. 

This exhibition presents the work of seven female new media and performance artists from San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Beijing. The work range in media to include multi-channel video installation, hybrid-film animation, social practice, and hand-made objects. Together, these works question the gender biases in folk lore and capitalism, investigate cultural evolution in terms of inclusion/exclusion, redefine the rituals of love and loss, and re-envision the fantasy of technological utopia.

To reinvent our cultural mythologies is to express the inequities of our current global order. Layered with humor, surreal locations, and fantastical costumes, these works use the discontents of global capitalism as creative fuel. According to the exhibition curator, “Our Bones Are Made of Starlight reframes the hopes of a generation who were promised a technological utopia yet received nothing more than the trauma of collapse.” This exhibition is about speculative fiction; it is about creating new stories that rewrite our threadbare folk narratives, our misogynistic mythologies and our technological expectations. 

Next, the viewer is presented with the work of Mail Order Brides/M.O.B. (or M.O.B. for short.) M.O.B. (Jenifer K Wofford, Eliza Barrios, Reanne Estrada) is a trio of Filipina-American artists engaged in an ongoing conversation with culture and gender. Wofford, one of the founding members, was raised in Hong Kong; much of her work deals with the intersection of multiracial identity encompassing feminist narratives and gender politics.

The exhibition Our Bones Are Made of Starlight features “Manananggoogle,” a new performative installation featuring M.O.B. as the mythical folk-nightmare leaders of a globalized tech corporation monolith presenting a new corporate “on-boarding” experience.

M.O.B. has engaged in multiple projects with an entrepreneurial bent: they are currently working as a fictitious group of bloodthirsty corporate executives, managing and leading the fictitious and shadowy tech-giant Manananggoogle (a portmanteau of “manananggal” and Google). The manananggal is a mythical, vampire-like creature of the Philippines-- a malevolent, human-eating, blood-sucking female demon capable of severing its upper torso and sprouting huge bat-like wings to fly into the night in search of its victims. It is also a story that Illuminates the deep roots of misogyny, and how injust suspicions of strong women are perpetuated through seemingly innocuous traditional folktales. M.O.B. adapts this mythology to transform their identities into more predatory, dominant, alpha executives. In a sort of corporate culture drag, these three artists present domineering, murderous and hilarious personae that lead company “on-boarding” trainings as performances, lectures, and other industrially related activities. MOB is presenting an installation with photo, video and web components related to this theme.

Ranu Mukherjee, an American of a mixed-heritage, presents the work Extracted Trilogy, a film originally commissioned by the Asian Art Museum, consisting of three individual chapters Breach, Elixir and Oracle Bones. This work in total is a fifteen-minute hybrid animation inspired by the Chinese historic text the Classic of Mountains and Seas or 山海经 . In addition, the work layers in the complex history of the American Government’s Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 in which the US banned Chinese immigration the US for 63 years. This film interweaves visual elements from this ancient text along with elements of the histories of immigration by Chinese to America during the time of the Gold Rush period at the height of political tensions surrounding the Chinese Exclusion Act. This work destabilizes our shared origin stories and creates new narratives of otherness and creolization. 

Finally, the exhibition will present the work Sea of Silence, a 29-minute film by Chinese filmmaker Fang Lu, with dialogue in Cantonese and Mandarin and with English and Chinese subtitles. Sea of Silence is a work in three chapters centered on the idea of speaking about love as a form of action. Shot in the Israeli desert in 2015, three female protagonists, as three distinctive individuals, talk to the camera about their specific events and experiences encountering love. They are situated in a remote desert with elements of home life and living accommodation detailing each scene. These domestic elements such as cups and saucers, housewares, beds and the like, are positioned unprotected and uncovered in the untamed environment to establish new habitats as new spaces and forms of living.

This exhibition includes a participatory social practice project that asks the audience to draw a picture of gender equity and add it to the exhibition. Space and tools to create these pictures will be provided in the gallery and all participation will be included. This social practice project is an educational element to explore the audience’s perspectives around equity, gender and current events. The project asks, “What does gender equity look like?” 

About the Curator:
Justin Charles Hoover (胡智騰), is the founder and principle of Collective Action Studio, an art and curatorial practice company based out of San Francisco and the Curator of the Chinese-American Museum, Los Angeles. Hoover works with the visual arts to explore issues of displacement, liminal languages, and cultural disjuncture. His work spans media from performance and video, to sculpture, installation and public art. His heritage is Chinese-Russian-American, and his work seeks to engage communities and develop collaborative and educational projects. Hoover began his curatorial career in 2004 with the founding of The Garage Biennale, and experimental art space in San Francisco and has worked with museums, festivals, fairs and cultural centers across the world. Hoover holds bachelor’s degrees in Peace Studies and French Literature from Colgate University, a master’s degree in New Genres Fine Art from the San Francisco Art Institute and a master’s degree of Public Administration of International Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.

Collective Action Studio (CAS) produces artwork, curates exhibitions, and develops educational projects. We work in collaboration with artists, communities and institutions to develop access, equity, and positive learning outcomes. Our goal is to advance social justice, to bolster resilient communities and enable the public to engage with the arts. 

Founded and directed by Justin Charles and Chris Treggiari, Collective Action Studio includes an evolving cast of artistic collaborators. Projects are often co-developed with strategic partners and include a wide range of artists non-profits, cultural centers, museums, arts commissions, art galleries, art fairs, festivals and more.

About 21st Century Art Incubator
1a space aims to provide emerging artists and curatorial talents a platform for conceptual and experimental art to fill the gap between larger public institutions and commercial ventures. Aiming to continuously rethink and re-examine the scope and the boundaries of “space,” 21st Century Art Incubator solicits and supports ideas for projects that take innovative curatorial approaches and experimental formats.
About Open Call for Curator
The Open Call for Curator aims to promote arts in Hong Kong to the international arena and energize the Hong Kong Art Scene by encouraging international collaboration. The project offers one conspicuous curator/curatorial team from Asia Pacific the necessary time and resources to realize and agitate new frontier in cultural discussions and project with the aim of encouraging inter-cultural exchanges, curatorial research and exhibition planning, and time to collaborate with the creative community and art network in Hong Kong. 1a space provides allowance for flight tickets (for non-Hong Kong curator(s) only), accommodation (for non-Hong Kong curator(s) only), exhibition space and production fee to the curator(s), who produces an exhibition in 1a space in March-April 2018 with at least 1 related public programming. Also, selected curator(s) will be awarded a $20,000 HKD honorarium. 

All applications submitted will be considered final and treated as such. Applicants will not, under any circumstances, be permitted to add or edit an application once it has been submitted. All incomplete or duplicate applications will be immediately disqualified. All the submitted plans and materials will be entrusted confidentially.

About 1a space
1a space, founded in 1998, is an independent, non-profit making contemporary visual art organization and art venue founded by a collective of Hong Kong artworkers.
It moved from its original location an old government warehouse at Oil Street, North Point, to the current location at Cattle Depot in 2001. 1a space aims to promote the making, experimentation, exchange and dissemination of contemporary art both in Hong Kong and in the international arena. 
Over nearly two decades, 1a space has developed into one of Hong Kong’s leading contemporary art organizations. It has produced more than 130 exhibitions and activities, and has been active in international exchanges, cultural festivals, participatory community art, as well as art education and publication. The operation funding of 1a space has been supported by the grants and donations, while its administration cost is partially supported by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.


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