Major changes are coming to San Francisco’s Chinatown as work gets underway to renovate Portsmouth Square, the always busy park at the heart of the neighborhood that serves as the de facto living room of the densely populated, low-income community. One of Chinatown’s very few public spaces, the Square will be closed to undergo extensive reconstruction over several years, including the removal of the pedestrian bridge (Dr. Rolland and Kathryn Lowe Community Bridge) that connects it to the Chinese Culture Center.
In consideration of this dramatic transformation of its immediate surroundings and the impact, both intended and unintended, on the community, Chinese Culture Center (CCC) invites eleven artists and art collectives to address urban histories and spaces in a new, multidisciplinary exhibition entitled Present Tense 2023: Perilous Playground. Guest curated by C & G Artpartment, formerly of Hong Kong, the exhibition presents innovative work in film, video, new media, sculpture, and mixed media by both local and international artists.
Present Tense 2023: Perilous Playground is the sixth iteration of CCC’s Present Tense exhibition series, an initiative to promote robust artistic dialogue around issues relevant to the community.
Weston Teruya is an artist and cultural producer based in the Bay Area who moves between individual and collective modes of practice to explore the haunting manifestations of racial inequity in the visual landscape and solidarities between communities at the edges of colonial empire. In his individual work, Weston creates sculptural installations that examine the social dynamics and histories of specific sites and communities. Weston has exhibited at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Mills College Art Museum, and the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa; received grants from Artadia, Asian Cultural Council, and Creative Work Fund; and been an artist-in-residence at Headlands Center for the Arts, A. Farm Saigon, Montalvo Arts Center, and Ox-Bow.
Wang Chau Tin Yuen (橫洲田園) started after the eviction of three villages in Hong Kong—Wing Ning Tsuen, Fung Chi Tsuen and Yeung Uk San Tsuen in April 2021. The group was formed by evicted villagers and gardeners, supporters and socially engaged artists in September 2021. Together, we continue caring for the land outside the destruction zone and grow plants and fruits, participate in farmers’ markets, make zines and posters, and engage with other villages that may be evicted by different hegemonic forces.
Walking Grass Agriculture started in 2014 as a team focuses on visual art, design and curation. The main members are Han-Sheng CHEN and Hsing-You LIU, specializing in new media art and art history. Emphasize in resident experience and observation, full of interest in learning folk arts and its migration and generation. Their research combines the topography, modernology and material culture, molding the farming experience into their own artistic methods. In recent years, they are concerned about the ecological environment, urban changes and gender issues.
Kuang-Yu Tsui has been trying to respond to the adaptation relation between human and the society from a biological point of view. He also attempts to redefine or question the matrix of the institution we inhabit through different actions and experiments that ignore the accustomed norm. His repetitive body experiments accent the absurdity of the social values and reality that people have grown accustomed to. Kuang-Yu Tsui was born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1974. In 1997 he graduated from National Institute of the Arts and has exhibited internationally since, including Venice Biennale, Liverpool Biennale, Werkleitz Biennial, Reina Sofia Museum, ZKM Center for Art and Media, Contour Biennial, Chelsea Art Museum, Mori Museum, OK Centrum. Kuang-Yu Tsui’s work is supported by The Taishin Bank Foundation for Arts and Culture.
Ting Ying Han is a Los Angeles-based interdisciplinary artist whose work delves into the realms of memory, identity, and belonging, drawing inspiration from her own experiences as an immigrant living between cultures. Through research-based practice, Han combines material exploration and meticulous research to create sculptural installations that serve as personal and collective narratives. Utilizing various building materials and everyday objects, her immersive artworks spark discussions around social and political questions, shedding light on the changing perception of place and space amidst migration, urbanization, and gentrification. Ting Ying Han holds an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and has received recognition for her artistic achievements. She has been selected for notable awards and residencies, including the Ox-Bow Artist-in-Residency, Vermont Studio Center, ACRE Residency, Sculpture Space, and the 2021-2022 Fellowship at the Kala Art Institute in Berkeley.
South Ho is a Photographer, born in 1984, athe 4th generation Hongkongese. Ho graduated from Hong Kong Polytechnic University and obtained his Higher Diploma in Social Work in 2006. In 2008, he took part in the “Imaging Hong Kong Contemporary Photography Exhibition”, a major photography exhibition in Hong Kong. His photographic series “Into Light” was awarded in the “Hong Kong Contemporary Art Biennial Awards 2009” and was adopted as a collection by The Burger Collection, Hong Kong Heritage Museum, and the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts in Japan. His personal studio was established in 2008. In 2013, he co-founded 100 ft. PARK, a non-commercial art space dedicated to providing an open platform for exhibiting and sharing art.
Post-Museum. Founded in 2007, Post-Museum is an independent cultural and social space in Singapore which aims to encourage and support a thinking and pro-active community. It is an open platform for examining contemporary life, promoting the arts and connecting people. In addition to their events and projects, they also curate, research and collaborate with a network of social actors and cultural workers.
Bukit Brown Index (2014-) is an ongoing project which indexes the case of Bukit Brown Cemetery. The struggle to conserve Bukit Brown is not read as a sentimental conservation but a struggle over Singapore’s Soul. Part of a worldwide movement, Post-Museum’s Really Really Free Market series (2009-) forms temporary ‘free’ market zones based on alternative gift economy. The project creates a temporal physical manifestation of a micro-utopia where the fundamental economic structure is altered with a structure that value acts of ‘giving, sharing, and caring heart’. Currently operating nomadically, they continue to organize and host various events and activities in different spaces.
Lucky Rabbit Pictures is a San Francisco-based independent film collective, directed by Spencer Tsang with filmmakers and best friends, Bridgette Yang and Min Thu Ta. Along with their creative community, The Rabbit Hole, beginning with CCC’s 41 Ross, they are also a movement interested in paving their own way in the media industry, and responding to the times. They are ruled by their ‘Carroting Commitments’ – among them being a strong responsibility to be the best version of yourself, to not call it work when creating because if it’s work then one is not free, and to always roam in the meadow they call their art.
Felix Quintana (b. Lynwood, CA, 1991) is a first generation Salvadoran-American artist and educator. He received an MFA in Photography from San Jose State University and a BA in Studio Art from Cal Poly Humboldt. Quintana’s multidisciplinary work spans photography, digital media, collage, writing, and teaching. Solo exhibitions include Residency Art Gallery, SOMArts Cultural Center, Cypress College Avenue 50 Studio, and Espacio 1839. Select group exhibitions include Museum of Latin American Art, Vincent Price Art Museum, Center for Photography Woodstock, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, LA><ART, Arion Press Gallery, Los Angeles Municipal Gallery, and San Francisco State University Gallery, among many others. Quintana’s work has been featured in The Guardian, Nation Public Radio (NPR), Los Angeles Times, KCET Artbound, Hyperallergic, and Art News, among others. His work is in the permanent collections of Oakland Museum of California, Altamed Art Collection, and Cal Poly Humboldt. Quintana lives, works, and teaches in Los Angeles.
Bijun Liang is a Chinese-American artist based in San Francisco, CA. Her practice encompasses interactive installations and public art. Using a unique blend of playfulness, humor, and crowdsourcing, Liang puts the voices of the community at the forefront of the art she creates. In recent years, Liang exhibited her works at The Headlands Center for the Arts, Chinatown Media & Arts Collaborative, the Chinese Culture Center, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Her recent accomplishments include creating murals like “Fufufufufu” and “Welcome to Chilltown,” as well as community-based installations such as “Facepalm” and “Omens in Chinatown.”. Liang has been recognized in art collections on SuperRare and LACMA.
Dr. Anson Hoi-shan MAK is a moving image and sound artist. Besides single channel film/video, she also does phonography sound art and web-based projects. She is especially interested in experimental ethnography, essay film and super 8 film, as well as lens-based inter-media works. Her film/video works have been shown at various festivals, including the Hong Kong International Film Festival, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, the Vancouver International Film Festival, Digital Cinema Seoul, the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, South Film Festival, Barcelona Independent Film Festival, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, etc. Her works have also been featured at galleries such as M+, 1a Space, ParaSite, Videotage, Taipei MOCA, Times Art Center Berlin，FACT Liverpool, Whitechapel Gallery London, CAFA Art Museum Beijing, CornerHouse Manchester, Crossing Art New York, White Box, New York, RockBund Art Museum Shanghai, AFIAS Spain Moving Images Festival, Madrid etc.