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21st Century Art Incubator- OPEN CALL FOR CURATOR Selected Project: Justin Charles Hoover


After the selection by the 1a space curatorial panel, we would like to announce that Justin Charles Hoover’ Our Bones are made of Starlight is selected for the 21st Century Art Incubator- Open Call for Curator. Thank you all applicants who enthusiastically joined our event and please continuously support all the updates at 1a space.

Exhibition Title: Our Bones are made of Starlight

Curator: Justin Charles Hoover (胡智腾)

Participating artists: Ranu Mukherjee, Mail Order Brides (MOB), Fang Lu, Desirée Holman

Exhibition Opening: 23 March 2018, 6:30pm

Exhibition Period: 24 March – 29 April 2018

Abstract: Four female artists interrogate global capitalism, intersectional identity and animistic ritual through folk narratives, occult mysticism and utopian fantasy in contemporary, post-modern performance and video.

Curatorial statement:

Our Bones are made of Starlight is an exhibition of time-based media by six inter-racial American and Chinese female artists. These artists riff off of the contradictions today in the world of technology, business and globalization. By highlighting the occult, the mysterious and animistic, these artists deflate the promises of technology, the utopias of various cultural revolutions, and the limitations of supposedly open and free societies. Through reinventing myth, these works of art debunk the declarations of neo-liberalism and attack the basis of today’s inequitable global economic order. By reinventing our self-identities in today’s neo-liberal maelstrom this exhibition takes post-modern ritualism and reflects our contemporary political and social shortcomings through humor and irony while poking holes at the very fabric of global capitalism and its discontents.

Through reinventing ancient rituals, recreating new forms of divination, and appropriating characters from fairy tales as stand-ins for failed leadership, the artists of Our Bones are made of Starlight reconcile the complex contradictions inherent in today’s political and global landscapes. Through time based arts, including video, performance and social practice, four female artists/artist groups provide the public with newly invented customs, beliefs and rituals that help guide our society towards a clearer understanding of who we are in society, or more importantly, who we can be. Inspired by ancient divination, ritual practices and mystical contexts these fierce female artists drive forward contemporary art practices, reassign traditional gender roles and dispel the ghosts of nihilism.

Through videographic forms of speculative fiction, all the works featured in this exhibition embody the collision at the heart of global capitalism, liberal democracy and identity politics. They look at how we continue to attempt to live by antiquated cultural norms within a cultural fabric that is fraying and increasingly unrecognizable. Individually, each of these featured artists investigates relational intersectionality, power and identity today and in the future. They look at how we describe our pasts and the ways in which we build our futures. However, their work goes much further than this. The individual bodies of work look at processes of assimilation, histories of exile, and ritualistic practices such as oracle divination, astrology, folk-horror, animism and the supernatural.

Featured works includes an immersive three-channel video projection, screen-based video works and a social-practice live performance with accompanying photographic and installation elements. These works invoke hopeful and escapist notions of the cinematic through their scale and aesthetics, but place the work in the white-cube environment to contextualize the work in the criticality of contemporary art and to encourage a more active way of seeing and experiencing contemporary art in real time.

Specifically, the exhibition begins with the work of Ranu Mukherjee, an American of a mixed-heritage, presenting the work Extracted (trilogy) which is a fifteen minute hybrid animation based off the Classic of Mountains and Seas or 山海经. 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 and during the Chinese Exclusion Act. Her work seeks to destabilize origin stories and recreate narratives of otherness and creolization as a nod to a future of increasing racial and cultural complexity.

The exhibition continues on to include the work of Desiree Holman who presents Sophont, a three-channel immersive film installation commissioned by the Performance and Film program at SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art). This work explores the iconography and aesthetics associated with science fiction and fantasy such as aura photography, occultism, mysticism and various levels of pseudo-science. Oscillating between an orange cyclorama sound stage and various outdoor utopian garden settings, racially ambiguous children, adults and the elderly, dance in ecstatic and serene situations. Perhaps the work seeks to propose an exceedingly complex multi-racial future, or perhaps the work seeks to present some form of dystopian time-traveling cult engaged in their typical behavior, but what the viewer is left feeling is an uncanny reflection of the utopian dreams of our recent past mixed with a new set of hopes of our present time.

Next the viewer is presented with the work of Mail Order Brides of MOB for short. The MOB is a a trio of Filipina-American artists engaged in an ongoing conversation with culture and gender. Jennifer Wofford, one of the primary group leaders, was raised in Hong Kong and much of her work deals with the intersection of multi-rational identity as well as feminist narratives and gender-queer politics. MOB is currently working as a fictitious group of female, elite, and blood-thirsty CEO’s for the tech-giant Manananggoogle. Traditionally, the Mananang is known to be a vampire-like mythical creature of the Philippines, a malevolent, man-eating, blood-sucking monster or witch 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 expresses the deep roots of misogyny in traditional cultures, and how these injustices are perpetuated through the seemingly innocuous routes of folktales.

Together the MOB artists use adaptive personas to transform their identities as minority women into alfa, often corporate males. In a sort of corporate culture drag, these three female artists present domineering, murderous and hilarious personas that lead corporate “on-boarding” performances, lectures, and other industrially related corporate activities. The exhibition Our bones are made of stardust would feature a new performance by the MOB as the mythical folk-nightmare leaders of a globalized tech corporation monolith presenting a new corporate “on-boarding” experience. This social practice performance would require the patrons take part in a special event. This can be part of the opening reception or designed as an ancillary program so as not to disrupt the flow of opening night. The MOB would also present photographic and installation based works related to this theme.

Finally, the exhibition will present the work Canton Novelty a 25-minute film by Chinese filmmaker Fang Lu, with dialogue in Cantonese and Mandarin and with English and Chinese subtitles. Canton Novelty is a work about “creating” miracles in our everyday life. Ruohan, Lily and Zoe, three girls who are close friends, are spending summer vacation together in the southern city of Guangzhou. They are curiously documenting their vacation with their cell phones, while simultaneously discovering each of them have latent super-power. They begin exploring the city of Guangzhou with theirs wondrous abilities mixing tropes of science fiction, fantasy and the modern super hero drama. The work is inspired by the history of the supernatural and the occult as ways of developing identity within a group, stoking fear, or providing a population with hope in an afterlife or with something beyond the mundane.

The goal of the exhibition is to showcase work by artists who are active story tellers in contemporary time-based media. Each artist here weaves complex, colorful and abstract narratives about politics, identity, power and gender. It is no coincidence that all the featured artist are also all females. This exhibition, at its core, is about advancing a feminist narrative. It is about repositioning a male-centric world as elitist, unjust and pervasive. This work therefore seeks to present alternative futures for and by women and gender nonconforming. These are often abstract, fragmented or utopian/dystopian, but they explore how we can imagine a world totally different from the one we currently live in. These works are critical of the current status-quo and provide alternative future for us to occupy, even if for only a brief moment in time.


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.

Submission Requirements:

  • Curator or curatorial team from Hong Kong and Asia Pacific

  • A no more than 10-page detailed exhibition proposal that outlines both the curatorial statement, background and plan for the exhibition

  • a short synopsis of proposed project

  • expectation and objective for joining the project

  • A preferred duration of stay and if accepted this can be negotiated according to gallery availability and schedule

  • a working timeline for the exhibition to open in March to April 2018

  • List of participating artist(s) and short bios for each

  • A completed Budget Plan with considerations for shipping and/or art production as well as artist fee

  • Curator(s)’CV

  • Portfolio of previous production.

To apply, please send us the required documents (in English) via e-mail to: or by post at Unit 14, Cattle Depot Artist Village, 63 Ma Tau Kok Road, To Kwa Wan, Kowloon, Hong Kong

For more information, please visit our website:

If you have any questions please write to:

Submission deadline: 22nd October 2017 24:00 (Hong Kong Time)

Successful applicant(s) will be notified in November 2017

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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