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Asian Futures, Without Asians
Thursday, November 11, 2021,  7:30 PM
→ Ottaway Theater in the Avery Arts Center, Bard College
Asian futures
Admission Info
To RSVP, please register here.

An illustrated lecture by Astria Suparak.

Followed by a conversation between Suparak and Dawn Chan, Center for Curatorial Studies.

This event is presented by the Film & Electronic Arts program. This event will be open to both the Bard community and the greater public and is produced in collaboration with the Center for Curatorial Studies, Asian Studies, and Experimental Humanities at Bard.

Please note: This event will be held online via Zoom and those who register will receive a link on the day of the event. In addition, the event will be projected live on campus in the Avery Theater, starting at 7:30pm, should you wish to attend as part of an IRL audience.

To RSVP, please register here.

Asian futures, without Asians is a new 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 over fifty years of American science fiction cinema through the lens of Asian appropriation and whitewashing. The quick-paced presentation 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with images and clips from dozens of futuristic movies and TV shows, as Suparak delivers anecdotes, trivia, and historical documents (including photographs, ads, and cultural artifacts) from the histories of film, art, architecture, design, fashion, food, and martial arts.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.

Asian futures, without Asians was commissioned by The Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts. It’s one part of Suparak’s multipart research series of the same name, which includes videos, installations, collages, essays, publications, and other projects.

Astria Suparak is an artist, curator, and writer based in Oakland, California. Her cross-disciplinary projects often address urgent political issues and have been widely acclaimed for their high level concepts made accessible through a popular culture lens. Suparak has curated exhibitions, screenings, performances, and live music events for art institutions and festivals across ten countries, including The Liverpool Biennial, MoMA PS1, Museo Rufino Tamayo, Eyebeam, The Kitchen, Carnegie Mellon, and Expo Chicago, as well as for unconventional spaces such as roller-skating rinks, sports bars, and rock clubs. Past projects include “Alien She,” a traveling group exhibition on the impact of the global punk feminist movement Riot Grrrl; “Whatever It Takes: Steelers Fan Collections, Rituals, and Obsessions,” an exhibit that reframed sports fanaticism as a significant form of cultural production; “Keep It Slick: Infiltrating Capitalism with The Yes Men,” the first survey of the internationally renowned culture jamming group; and the “Sports” issue of INCITE Journal of Experimental Media, which was accompanied by a year-long series of exhibitions, screenings, dialogues, and artist projects. Her current research interests include sci-fi, diasporas, food histories, and linguistics.

Dawn Chan is a faculty member at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College. Chan’s criticism and journalism appear in print and online in The Atlantic, Bookforum, the New York Times, the New Yorker, New York Magazine, the Paris Review, and The Village Voice, among other venues. She is also a frequent contributor to Artforum, where she worked as an editor for nearly a decade. In 2019-2020, as part of a CCS Bard team led by Lauren Cornell, she was one of the curators of the exhibition Phantom Plane, Cyberpunk in the Year of the Future staged at the Tai Kwun museum in Hong Kong and co-presented by CCS Bard.