China Residencies is proud to present our first exhibition, MEME TACTICS

in collaboration with the Center for Media at Risk & Cuchifritos

featuring the works of Amy Suo Wu, the Dalit Panther Archive, 覃小詩 Xiaoshi Qin, Elyla Sinvergüenza, and 丝瓜集团 Sponge Gourd Collective

curated by Josué Chavez, An Xiao Mina, Kira Simon-Kennedy, and Mikail Wright-Kwon


poster design by Jason Li


Curators' statement:

Internet memes, once thought to be fun, silly and casual, are increasingly part of a sophisticated communications strategy. While memes can and do wreak havoc in our societies, notably our electoral processes, we invite you to consider a broader definition of memetic expression that gives each person’s voice equal chance to be heard. Here, artists find creative ways to amplify, build on, and disseminate messages from underheard social movements. 

These artists and collectives, Amy Suo Wu, the Dalit Panther Archive, Xiaoshi Qin, Elyla Sinvergüenza, and Sponge Gourd Collective, craft ways to negotiate power and assert presence by defying dominant media narratives in China, Cuba, Nicaragua and beyond. The projects emerged independently and collaboratively across continents, languages and within the socio-political restrictions placed on media by governments. Despite the constraints, these artists came up with brilliant tactics to make underheard voices “go viral,” especially among those of us who might not recognize these issues as “our own” and as relevant to “our” future as it is to “theirs.”

We share these tactics with you to propagate the power of creative interventions in the public sphere. None of these projects were imagined solely as “art” to be hung on a wall: they function like our favorite memes, existing both online and offline, encouraging everyone to interact and pass them on. Deliver your own letters, publish your own zine, broadcast your own tunes, sew a patch on your own jacket. Make it fashion, make it trend and make sure it catches on.


Events:

  1. - Friday September 6th 2019 / 6 to 8 pm / NYC / 214 Broome St:
  2. Cuchifritos Opening with Performance by Elyla Sinvergüenza & after-party at Beverly's special thanks to Ming River Baijiu 
  3. - Tuesday September 17th 2019 / 6 to 8 pm / Philadelphia / 3620 Walnut St, 5th floor: Center for Media at Risk Opening with discussion with the curators An Xiao Mina, Mikail Wright-Kwon, Josué Chavez and special guest Ellery Biddle & a re-enactment of an artist talk by Amy Suo Wu ~~ RSVP ~~
  4. - Wednesday September 18th 2019 / 6:30 to 8:30 pm / NYC / 214 Broome St: "The Choice of a Translator" Re-enactment of an artist talk by Amy Suo Wu ~~ RSVP ~~
  5. - Monday September 23rd 2019 / 6:30 to 8:30 pm / NYC / 214 Broome St: Sip Tea with An Xiao Mina & Jason Li, a book-signing and conversation about comics, tactics, and internet culture ~~ RSVP ~~
  6. - Friday October 4th 2019 / noon to 2 pm / Philadelphia / 3620 Walnut St 5th Floor: Curators' walkthrough
  7. - Wednesday October 16th 2019 / 6 to 9 pm / NYC / 214 Broome St: BYOM Bring Your Own Meme with BUFU! ~~ RSVP ~~
  8. - Friday October 18th 2019 / 5 to 7 pm / NYC / 214 Broome St: Meme Tácticas - Spanish language curator's talk with Josué Chavez
  9. - Monday October 21st 2019 / 5 to 9 pm / NYC / 214 Broome St: Patch, Dye, Mend with Laura Kung & Melanie Hoff, a sewing & natural dye workshop to spread feminist manifestos and create more pockets.
  10. - Saturday November 30th 2019 / 11 - 6 pm / NYC / 40 Wooster St: Meme Tactics @ Internet Yami-Ichi with internet-ish objects by Amy Suo Wu, Feminist Joy, Shanghai Community Radio, meltingwang, Jason Li, An Xiao Mina, Diane Zhou & Sponge Gourd Collective ~~ RSVP ~~
  11. - February 2020 / Philadelphia / Elyla Artist Talk

  1. + more to be announced! 

Please reach out to nihao {at} chinaresidencies.com if you'd like to collaborate on events around the exhibitions themes and any of the participating artists and writers. And here's a Press Release with more information! 

Artist Bios:

Amy Suo Wu - "Thunderclap" & "Hutong Whispers" was born in China, grew up in Australia, and lives in The Netherlands as an artist and teacher. Since 2015, Amy Suo Wu has explored steganography, a form of secret writing that conceals information within public information.  https://www.chinaresidencies.com/news/17


Elyla Sinvergüenza (Fredman Barahona) - "Cartas Mojadas"is a transdisciplinary artist from Nicaragua who uses performance art as the fundamental resource of their artistic practice, constantly moving through photography, video, relational art, installation, radical activism, travestismo as political action in Central America, and site-specific performance workshops. https://www.chinaresidencies.com/news/169


Xiaoshi Qin - "When Songs Are Flags" lives and works in Guangzhou, China. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of art gossip magazine Ruthless Lantern and has done residencies at Artistas X Artistas in Havana, Cuba, and  Spring Workshop, Hong Kong.


The Dalit Panthers Archive - “Dalit Panthers Vachanalay (Reading Stall)” is an independent collective that documents and traces the history, politics, literature, and art of the Dalit Panthers: a community of writers, novelists, and poets who used self-publishing as a tool to condemn caste atrocities in Indian society.


Sponge Gourd Collective - "Nothing Ever Happens Here" 《这里无聊》is an art and research collective that make zines, short films, and host events that focus on the impacts of urban transformation in contemporary China. They aim to complicate modern conceptions of China while exploring Chinese futurities.

Further Reading: 

This exhibition is initially inspired and based on the foundational research in An Xiao Mina's "From Memes to Movements: How the World's Most Viral Media Is Changing Social Protest and Power" {buy it from a local bookstore near you, or buy online in paper book or audio book directly from the publisher Beacon Press, or get it from your local library!}



People find creative ways to get their messages across all over the world. Tag your #memetactics to add to the map!


With Thanks To:

It takes a lot of people to create exhibitions! The curators extend their endless thanks to:

Barbie Zelizer, Emily Plowman & Joanna Birkner at the Center for Media at Risk for inviting us to conceive of this exhibition, Jodi Waynberg for all her insights and support at Cuchifritos and the Artists Alliance Inc, Heidi Ratanavich for building the zine library, John for expertise and stories about art handling, Shami Tomita and Shira Feldman for help installing in Philadelphia, Jared Lowe for helping us get the news out in the world, American Picture Framing (3821 Powelton Ave, Philly) for wonderful frames, New Concept Sign (37 1/2 Allen St, NYC)  for their excellent vinyl decals, Eliz Digital (77 Elizabeth St, NYC) and Lux Lab (133 Chrystie, NYC) for lightning fast photo printing, Leo's Backyard BBQ for feeding us fantastic food, and the many Chinatown bus operators for getting us between Philly and NYC swiftly!

Additional thanks to the Center for the Study of Contemporary China, the Center for Digital Culture & Society at the University of Pennsylvania and Art Asia Archive for their support, and to all of China Residencies' board members and individual donors for making all of our projects possible. And to you, for reading all of this!