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Hanes Visiting Artist Lecture Series: Astria Suparak
October 27 at 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Registration Link (available until start of event).
NOTE: This lecture will not be available later as a recording.
Asian futures, without Asians is a new multimedia presentation by artist and curator Astria Suparak, which asks: “What does it mean when so many white filmmakers envision futures inflected by Asian culture, but devoid of actual Asian people?”
Part critical analysis, part reflective essay and sprinkled throughout with humor, justified anger, and informative morsels, this one-hour illustrated lecture examines nearly 60 years of American science fiction cinema through the lens of Asian appropriation and whitewashing. Using a wide interpretation of “Asian” to reflect current and historical geopolitical trends and self-definitions (inclusive of East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Asia, Central Asia, North Africa, and the Pacific Islands — the latter two of which are not Asia), this research-creation project examines how Asian cultures have been mixed and matched, contrasted against, and conflated with each other, often creating a fungible “Asianness” in futuristic sci-fi.
The performance lecture is interspersed with images and clips from dozens of futuristic movies and TV shows, as Suparak delivers anecdotes, trivia, and historical documents (including photographs, ads, and cultural artifacts) from the histories of film, art, architecture, design, fashion, food, and martial arts. Suparak discusses the implications of not only borrowing heavily from Asian cultures, but decontextualizing and misrepresenting them, while excluding Asian contributors.
Astria Suparak is an artist, writer, and curator based in Oakland, California. Her cross-disciplinary projects address complex and urgent issues (like institutionalized racism, feminisms and gender, colonialism) made accessible through a popular culture lens, such as sci-fi movies, rock music, and sports. Over the last year, Suparak’s creative projects have been exhibited and performed at MoMA, ICA LA, and The Walker Art Center. She’s curated exhibitions, screenings, and performances for The Liverpool Biennial, Museo Rufino Tamayo, The Kitchen, and Expo Chicago, as well as for unconventional spaces such as roller-skating rinks, sports bars, and rock clubs. Suparak is the winner of the 2022 San Francisco Bay Area Artadia Award.
An endowment established in 1983 through the generosity of Nancy and Robin Hanes supports the Art Department’s Visiting Artist Series. This important program brings both established and emerging artists to campus to discuss their work in public lectures and to offer individual critiques to our M.F.A. students. The Hanes Visiting Artist series greatly enriches both our academic programs and our outreach to the wider community. All lectures are free and open to the public.
Image: Cropped slide from an Astria Suparak presentation given at MoMA in 2021, the theme of the slide is Arches. Courtesy of the artist.