In Search of Miss Ruthless : Public Programmes
Jul 02 – Sep 10, 2017
In Search of Miss Ruthless sets the stage for a public persona from the future. This series of public programs reflects on diasporic communities and pageant infrastructures through discussions, screenings, performances, and workshops. Public programmes are developed and co-produced with the generous support of Spring Workshop. Additional support was provided by the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art.
For more information about the exhibition, click here.
Miss Ruthless: A Press Conference
July 2, 6:30 pm – late
3/F Remex Centre, 42 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
A performance in the style of a pageant press conference with participating artists as contestants—whether they appear as themselves or send representatives—hosted by Ruthless Director of Communications Xiaoshi Vivian Vivian Qin. Followed by a party celebrating this debut with Eternal Dragonz, featuring x/o (producer of Miss Ruthless theme song), V Kim (producer, co-founder of Eternal Dragonz), and T0C1S x Tsalal (Absurd Trax/ HKCR).
Miss Ruthless With A Smile
July 9, 4:00 – 7:00 pm
Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
798 Art District, No. 4 Jiuxianqiao Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China 100015
“Pageantry as Curatorial Method,” discussion between Hera Chan, Alvin Li, and David Xu Borgonjon; lecture performances by Eisa Jocson and Dachal Choi, screening by Ma Qiusha
In a world where friends are available for hourly rentals, where happiness is a business model, and where means of escape are harder to find by the day, we invite you to a rewarding afternoon framed by the idea of Miss Ruthless, a fantasy figure from the future.
Heavy Lifting With Miss Ruthless
August 12, 11:00 – 5:00 pm
3/F Remex Centre, 42 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
Disposed to Add
performance with Joseph Lee and King San Lo
directed by Jes Fan
Muscle as Medium
body building workshop taught by Siufung Law
An assembled silicone barbell lies in the center of the room. Two performers approach the modified equipment, unscrewing the weight plates from the bar. Holding opposite ends of the barbell, the performers make a hasty departure from one another, a duo who’ve lost their trust. This is repeated five times. These instructions for a contact dance were written by artist Jes Fan, to describe an intimacy governed by tension. Heavy Lifting With Miss Ruthless is thinking about genderfluid and trans bodies in control. Muscle as a medium of form in addition to strength. In August 2011, renowned bodybuilder Kai Greene opened an exhibition of self-portraits. At the exhibition, he said, “As a professional bodybuilder, I’m a master sculptor. The art show made me realize that I’ve always been an artist. My medium is the human physique.” In the spirit of mobilizing notions of the body as an in-process project and subverting the format of beauty pageant preparations, we invite you to a tripartite day-long event framed by the idea of Miss Ruthless, a fantasy figure from the future. Heavy Lifting With Miss Ruthless is part of the public programming of In Search of Miss Ruthless, an exhibition at Para Site (Hong Kong) curated by Hera Chan and David Xu Borgonjon, on view from June 30 to September 10.
This programme will open with a workshop with artist Jes Fan and biohacker Mary Maggic called Feminine Essence. Exploring biology as craft and looking at the effects of hormones (estrogen and testosterone) on the human body, Fan and Maggic will work with attendees to create estrogen from the urine of former beauty pageant contestants. Following, there will be a performance directed by Fan with Hong Kong-based dancers Joseph Lee and King San Lo called Disposed To Add. The dance is focussed on the relationship created between the two dancers as mediated by Fan’s silicone weight-lifting equipment (now on view at Para Site as part of In Search of Miss Ruthless). Lastly, trans* and genderqueer bodybuilder Siufung Law will lead a workshop called Muscle As Medium comprised of an intimate sharing of experiences followed by a dynamic workshop session. Law has competed as a female bodybuilder since 2015, is the ambassador of the Gay Games Hong Kong 2022 bidding team, and has been awarded several champions in local and international contests.
tide.hong kong : in transit
August 20, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
tide.hong kong : in transit is based on sensations of the sights and soundscapes of Victoria Harbour. The seashore platform in Whampoa is punctuated by holes which produce harmonic tones that shift with the tides. Lee’s works of art are derived from the intersection between installation and performance, and draw on a practice of listening to the world. In this site-and-time specific performance, the composite of the sound-making objects and human voices narrates subtle changes in environment and the prototypical experience of Hong Kong in transit.
This performance will be followed by "The Metamorphosis of Hung Hom," a tour led by Walk In Hong Kong 活現香港. Once a centre of heavy industry, the neighbourhood has in recent years transformed into a mixed residential and commercial area. This tour will survey the old streets and stories of Hung Hom. The walking route will include cinemas, temples, factories and piers that form part of the history of Hong Kong.
Born in Hong Kong, Fiona Lee obtained her Bachelor of Arts majoring in Critical Intermedia Laboratory from the School of Creative Media at City University of Hong Kong. Her works of art are derived from the intersection between installation and performance. Her recent art practices and inspirations have come from the feeling of particular moments in her daily routine, which she explores as if it were a world of adventure. Her recent work focuses on the relationship between sound frequencies and electromagnetic fields.
August 26, 3:00 – 5:00 pm
Reading of an adapted play by Hương Ngô
“Gossip is a fearful thing,” wrote Ruan Lingyu in her suicide note. A star of Shanghai’s leftist cinema in the 1930s, her fate was eerily prophesied by her last movie, “New Women.” Nine years later in 1944, seminal Vietnamese playwright Vũ Đình Long published Đàn bà mới or New Women, the story of a writer who is preyed upon by the male publisher of a women’s magazine. This cautionary tale links the pursuit of a career and modernist ideals of independence and self-determination to her downfall and disgrace.
These early 20th century stories give us an opportunity to reexamine today how the creative and intellectual labor of women interacts with patriarchy and capitalism. In this dramatic reading, Hương Ngô has adapted the play by omitting all of the male voices. This process leaves behind blank spaces and long pauses, opening the text to a contemporary reinterpretation. The reading will take place within a sculptural set fabricated by Ngô, using geometric costumes that Ngô designed.
The adapted play will be read by La Chiquitta, Claudia Jim, and Jes Fan.
September 10, 3:00 – 5:00 pm
Screening curated by Alvin Li with works by Wang Haiyang, Tao Hui, Evelyn Taocheng Wang, Shen Xin
Closing Reception and Unveiling of the Crown
September 10, 5:00 – 7:00 pm
July 23, 2:00 pm (English)
August 19, 1:00 pm (English)
August 26, 1:00 pm (Mandarin)
September 10, 1:00 pm (Cantonese)
RSVP essential for all public programmes, to firstname.lastname@example.org
About Miss Ruthless
Miss Ruthless is a fantasy figure of popular support that can represent “our beautiful Hong Kong up on the world stage,” as sung in Hong Kong Our Home. The search for Miss Ruthless began at Para Site in the summer of 2017. Drawing on the depths of diasporic souls and taking pageantry as method, Miss Ruthless is international and her presence is writ in universal history. Following poet Helene Cixous, we ask of Miss Ruthless: What if she were alive? What if, in looking at her, we animated her?