Worlding Hands

Worlding Hands by Future Host and Heidi Lau

December 17, 2020

Held virtually

On December 17, Shandaken: Governors Island residents Heidi Lau and Future Host (Tingying Ma and Kang Kang) will introduce their new, three-fold project, “Scriptures,” “Mountains,” and “Seas,” in an online presentation entitled Worlding Hands. In this multimedia experience inspired by their time on Governors Island, “Mountains” is concerned with ceramic-making as the worlding of a matrilineal cosmos. “Seas” continuously unfolds over a series of somatic practices and performances to agitate yellow bodies against neo-orientalist, technocratic capture. “Scriptures” is an in-progress book of speculative fiction that reincarnates the tales in Shanhaijing.

"To whom does the earth belong?" asks the artists. "What does planetary flourishing look like to precolonial eyes? We return to Shanhaijing (The Books of Mountains and Seas), an ancient Taoist classic of primitive geography, cosmology and ecology that registers a world where all species are provided with resources for undifferentiated flourishing. In the midst of the global pandemic, our shared epistemic entrapment and sensory deprivation leave very few alternatives to quarantine governance by racism, nationalism, and surveillance capitalism. Shanhaijing’s inexhaustible knowledge and absolute plurality offer a mythical space for living in the present."

The evening’s presentation will include a reading and screening of a video on the Goddess Nvwa who propagates the human race by molding mud. The video uses the five elements in interchangeable forms: fired ceramic toys, water, clay, baby reptiles, and a performing body, reenacting the genesis in primordial cosmology. Readings will be selected from “Scriptures,” in which a diminutive bee-bird creature Qinyuan assassinates and sexes its way out of the mythological landscape. The next iteration of the project will be shown at Para Site, Hong Kong in the summer of 2021. Please RSVP for the free Zoom link for this presentation.

Future Host (Tingying Ma and Kang Kang) is an artist duo searching for alternative forms of subsistence and resistance. They consider the world as emotive and sentient that can only be processed through epistemic inquiries. Espousing the perspective of post-socialist realist emotional mismanagement, they write and make performances with readiness and ecstasy.

Heidi Lau grew up in Macau, and currently lives and works in New York. Lau’s highly textured and expressive ceramic work is modeled after tokens of remembrance—ritual objects, funerary monuments, and fossilized creatures—which are infested, deconstructed, and rebuilt by hand. Reconfiguring fragmented personal and collective memories, she makes collections of symbolic artifacts and zoomorphic ruins as materialization of the archaic and the invisible, taking inspiration from colonial architecture and tenement houses in Macau that have been demolished or gentrified beyond recognition. Her work has been exhibited in local and international institutions including the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; the Bronx Museum of the Art, New York; the Museum of Chinese in America, New York; and the Macau Museum of Art. Her practice has been supported by numerous residencies and awards, including the Emerging Artist Fellowship at Socrates Sculpture Park, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Process Space, the Martin Wong Foundation Scholarship, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptor Grant and the BRIC Colene Brown Art Prize. She currently represents Macau at the 58th Venice Biennale.