Ferments, Family, Kinship, Home

June 28 ,  11:00 am

 —  11:00 pm

All times are listed in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

Kimberly Ho, Diana Bang, Samuel Kiehoon Lee, E Edreva, Paul Wong, TJ Shin, Jamie Ross, Leo Williams, Max Horwich, Ashley Jane Lewis, Katya Rozanova, Emily Saltz

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Curated by Lauren Gabrielle Fournier

 

Fermentation is a slow process of transformation by microbes like bacteria and yeast that requires the factors of time, space, and care. As a biochemical process, it embodies preservation and change simultaneously, which makes it a ripe metaphor for a range of concepts. It was this tension that first had me approaching feminism through fermentation in the ongoing Fermenting Feminism (2017–present), with my asking what should be preserved from histories, and what needs to be transformed as we move toward more just and reparative futures?

 

Through queer kinship, multilingual and extra-rational archives, and trans-species becoming, the artists in this program reimagine what constitutes family, belonging, and home through the radically patient practices of fermentation and knowledge-sharing from their respective lives.

 

In How To Make Kimchi According to my Kun-Umma, we follow documentarian Samuel Kiehoon Lee’s Kun-Umma (“Big Mama”) or aunt Bong Ja Lee in the process of making kimchi, which she explains is central to every meal in Korea, while also getting a glimpse into the rapport between the artist and his aunt. Paul Wong’s Mother’s Cupboard records the artist’s mother and Chinese-Canadian elder, Suk-Fong, as she shows her son her collection of Chinese medicines, herbs, and ingredients while detailing their uses.

 

What is lost in translation? E Edreva’s Cooking with Grandma emerges from the artist’s experience trying to read family recipes. While she can read Bulgarian as printed text, she cannot discern it in handwriting, and so she must use Google Translate as a technological aid. With Google translation on “pause,” she moves for a period outside of the register of legibility and into the haptic.

 

“I am looking for a new form,” reads the text in TJ Shin’s M is for Memoir. If language itself ferments, it also has to find vessels within, to take shape over time. As language and grammar ferment, material bubbles. Shin’s intimate observations of the land on which they’re working come through in their art, made in residence at Wave Hill in the Bronx, at a time during the pandemic when they were also volunteering with local composting initiatives.

 

This residency of Shin’s closely followed their Gut Feelings residency/exhibition at Recess Session in Brooklyn, where Shin practiced Korean Natural Farming (JADAM) to ferment lactic acid and inject it into the soil of a greenhouse in the gallery, to respond to the loss of native intestinal gut bacteria that Asian immigrants to the US experience within the first year of arrival.

 

A slow circularity of movement orients the viewer in Kimberly Ho’s and Diana Bang’s In fermentation. Ferment can refer to being worked up, which is what Ho and Bang explore here. Disorderliness comes in when a drinking vessel falls, smashing to the ground.

 

Jamie Ross’s work is part of his ongoing project on the 606 Club in California, a secret drinking spot for LGBTQ+ that was breached by police in a very public raid in 1914. Ross’s process includes ongoing conversations with queer elders, land-based “psychic sensing” at the site in California, and placing the spit of queer elders into vessels from the 606 to try and revivify the historical yeasts as a way of making visible the embodied histories of queer life and death.

 

New Mexico-based artist collaborators and partners E Edreva and Leo Williams’ Family Jewels brings a queer and trans approach to who or what can constitute one’s children—including worms of vermicompost, and the living cultures in yogurt and kefir. After all, these are the living beings that the artists tenderly care for each day—the future in which they’ve invested. 

 

In Bread Symphony: Sonified Sourdough, collaborators Max Horwich, Ashley Jane Lewis, Katya Rozanova, and Emily Saltz create a speculative sourdough choir—a transspecies composition that makes audible the distinct lifecycles of the microbes that exist in a sourdough starter. Performed at Slow Movement Computing and the NYC Electroacoustic Improvisation Summit, the work asks audiences to listen deeply and attune to a gradually unfolding song.

 

— Lauren Gabrielle Fournier

 

Content note: This program contains mentions of alcohol and intoxication, and discussion of family-making.

In fermentation

Kimberly Ho & Diana Bang
CANADA | 2020 | DIGITAL | 3 MIN 
ENGLISH 

 

In fermentation is an experimental short film that explores the disorderly cycle of rest and unrest. Within the absurd charms of contradictions, we jostle and swing between states of turbulence and relaxation towards alchemical transformation.

 

This work was commissioned by fu-GEN Theatre Company for the NAC's Transformation Project. This project showcases works from the country's most innovative artists, responding to a provocation by playwright David Yee: "What would it take to transform our society for the betterment of all?"

 

— Lauren Gabrielle Fournier

 

How to Make Kimchi According to My Kun-Umma

Samuel Kiehoon Lee
CANADA | 2002 | DIGITAL | 18 MIN 
KOREAN/ENGLISH (WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

 

Fun, Family, and Food are the focus of this witty yet informative look into Korean culture. Bong Ja Lee is the filmmaker’s Kun-Umma (auntie) and she makes for a delightful subject in this documentary short. The film delivers not only a recipe for kimchi, but also tells the story of an immigrant woman juggling with being a grandmother, a leader in the Korean-Canadian community, and an aunt to her pestering nephew attempting to document her life.

Cooking with Grandma

E Edreva
USA | 2022 | DIGITAL | 5 MIN 
NO DIALOGUE

 

Cooking with Grandma demonstrates how a severance from ancestral language is also a severance from familial and cultural foods. The video moves between English and Bulgarian using Google Translate, translating a published Bulgarian cookbook written in English and a family recipe-book handwritten by my grandma. Since I can only read typed Bulgarian, this work asks what it means for my cells to contain the memories of generations of family cooking, but for me to need (faulty) technological mediation in reading their recipes.

Mother's Cupboard

Paul Wong
CANADA | 2020 | DIGITAL | 13 MIN
TOISANESE (WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

 

Suk-Fong Wong, a Chinese-Canadian elder, intimately takes us through her treasured collections of Chinese medicines, herbs, and ingredients found in her cupboards.

 

Recorded in 2012, Suk-Fong speaks in her first language, Toisanese (Cantonese), and describes what some of her homemade elixirs and compounds are used for. This includes "loik doy dew", a deer bone alcohol-based elixir used for adding to soups. Most of the ingredients shown can be readily found in Chinese herbal stores.

M for Memoir

TJ Shin
US | 2020 | DIGITAL | 14 MIN
ENGLISH

 

The “M” in M-theory that unifies all superstring theory stands for “membrane”, “mystery”, “magic”, and “mother”. M for Memoir follows a single leaf mould microorganism waking up from dormancy and returning back to the soil, to find a new host, back to its mother. The fermenter–the artist–facilitates a community of indigenous leaf mould–created from decomposed leaves–embodying the role of the witch, the scientist, and the alchemist, and from it, looks for possibilities of animacy and deep time.

 

There's Room Enough in Paradise

Jamie Ross
CANADA | 2022 | DIGITAL | 5 MIN
ENGLISH

 

There’s Room Enough in Paradise documents the teaching of faggot folk song across the generations.  Three episodes of an ongoing oral history project undertaken by artist Jamie Ross on communal rural land projects in North America at seasonal ritual gatherings before the COVID-19 pandemic, the short video features auto-ethnographic material of faggot elder friends teaching younger queers songs from the Stonewall uprising and leftist Gay Liberation folk songs from the 1960s and 1970s.


 

Family Jewels

E Edreva & Leo Williams
USA | 2018 | DIGITAL | 7 MIN 
NO DIALOGUE

 

Family Jewels depicts fermentation as a queer parenting practice. In the video, a queer couple tenderly nourishes the microscopic life forms that nourish them. The work is a response to “biological” arguments that demand the existence of the gender binary and of sexual reproduction as family-building requirements. As a couple who exists outside of those ideas, we seek to show, celebrate, and cradle life forms that wriggle out of boxed-in conceptions of gender and reproduction.

Bread Symphony: Sonified Sourdough

Max Horwich, Ashley Jane Lewis, Katya Rozanova, & Emily Saltz
CANADA | 2021 | DIGITAL | 14 MIN
ENGLISH

 

Bread Symphony is an active cross-species collaboration meant for material and spiritual nourishment. Seeing bread-making as a form of engaging dialogically with other species, the collective behind this work aims to document and make audible the lifecycle of the organisms that ferment the bread as we accompany these oft-unperceived organisms in sonic unison. Bread Symphony allows participants to collectively listen, respond, and produce sound that forms a new part of this emergent more-than-human symphony.

  • Diana Bang is a collaborator and maker of things and stuffs.

  • Kimberly Ho 何文蔚 is an interdisciplinary artist, collaborator and performer based in so-called “Vancouver”. In their artistic practice, they seek to explore their Hakka diaspora through the physicalbody and food culture, framing new media as a dimension of queer futurisms, and immersive art as a site of liberation.

  • Samuel Kiehoon Lee's parents escaped North Korea as children and immigrated to Toronto as adults in order to give birth to Samuel. After making numerous short films, Lee produced the feature film GYOPO in Seoul, 2019 (NNNN from NOW magazine and winner of best directorand best cinematography at VAFF).

  • E Edreva is a Bulgarian artist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Their work employs sound, video, scent, fiber, interactive workshops, storytelling, and play to invite people into deeper individual and collective embodiment. They hold a B.A. from the University of Chicago and are working towards an M.F.A. at the University of New Mexico.

  • Paul Wong is a media-maestro making art for site-specific spaces and screens of all sizes. He is an award winning artist and curator who is known for pioneering early visual and media art in Canada, founding several artist-run groups, leading public arts policy, and organizing

    events, festivals, conferences and public interventions since the 1970s. Writing, publishing and teaching have been an important part of his praxis. With a career spanning four decades he has been an instrumental proponent to contemporary art.

     

  • TJ Shin is an interdisciplinary artist working at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and speciesism. Inspired by decentralized ecologies and queer sociality, they create living installations and imagine an ever-expanding self that exists beyond the boundaries of one’s skin. Shin is a 2020 New York Community Trust Van Lier Fellow and 2020 Visiting Artist Fellow at UrbanGlass in Brooklyn. Shin has exhibited internationally at the Queens Museum, Lewis Center for the Arts, Wave Hill, Recess, Doosan Gallery, Klaus Von Nichtssagend Gallery, Cuchifritos Gallery, Knockdown Center, and Cody Dock, London. 

  • Jamie Ross (1987, Canada) is a visual artist, filmmaker, city gardener, and educator. In recent films, Radical Faerie elders help young people memorize the chants sung in 20th-century Queer street battles with the police; Pagan men incarcerated in Canadian federal prisons regale their chaplain with stories of intimate encounters with the divine, and in another, the portrait of a sheep farm run by witches on a remote hill in the Appalachians is centered on the flow of autumnal viscera and liquids. Jamie’s video works have been screened and installed in exhibitions in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, England, France, Haiti, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Sweden, the United States, and throughout Canada. Recent work was presented at the Plug In ICA (Winnipeg, Canada), Lugar a Dudas (Cali, Colombia), and the Momenta Biennale (Montréal, Québec). Ross has been awarded grants and prizes from the Canada Council for the Arts, Les offices jeunesse internationaux du Québec, the Conseil des arts et lettres du Québec, and a Fulbright Scholarship. Jamie works between Montreal and Los Angeles.

  • Leo Williams is an artist and writer from Miami, Florida. They currently attend the University of New Mexico, working towards an MFA in Creative Nonfiction. Outside of writing, they’re interested in food, fermentation, oral histories, graphic design, and collaborative multidisciplinary art projects. Their writing is forthcoming in The Florida Review.

  • Max Horwich is a musician, designer, teacher and creative technologist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. To the extent that his work has a prevailing theme or unifying concept, he is interested in approaching New Media as a contemporary form of Folk Art. When he’s not using his computer to make things, he’s teaching other people how to use their computers to make things. When he’s doing neither of those things, he’s playing with his dog.

  • Ashley Jane Lewis is a new media artist and creative technologist with a focus on interactive installations, bio art, social justice and speculative design. Her artistic practice explores black cultures of the past, present and future through computational and analog mediums including coding and machine learning, digital and physical fabrication, data weaving, microorganisms and live performance. Her practice is tied to science and actively incorporates living organisms like slime mould, mycelium and food cultures to explore ways of decentralizing humans and imagine collective, multi-species survival.

  • Katya Rozanova is a Brooklyn and Berlin-based learner, artist, designer, and educator. Her work and research center on the social imagination and therapeutic play. Katya makes sound objects that exhibit agency and can be collaborated with. Relying on randomness and other human and nonhuman agents, she often positions her sound installation work to live independently, authoring itself and serving as a reflexive instrument.

    Katya also makes sculptures from found, discarded objects. She meditates on the power structures that move us through these irreverent combinations of sculptural and everyday materials, often with a sense of humor.

     

  • Emily Saltz is an LA-raised, Brooklyn-based UX researcher and sound artist. She hosts the weekly "Discobog" show on WFMU, which mixes bog field recordings with experimental ambient and electronic music. As an artist, she creates digital experiments to explore digital culture through an ethnographic lens, drawing on a background in human-centered design and linguistics in works such as "Super Sad Googles," which curates a selection of sad Google searches into a custom autocomplete site. She has a Master's in Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University, and her work has been featured at venues such as Eyeo Festival, Radical Networks, Gray Area, Science Gallery Detroit, the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose.

     

Co-presented with

  • Whippersnapper Gallery

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