Asian futures, without Asians is the Los Angeles premiere of a 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 acerbic observations, this one-hour illustrated lecture examines over fifty years of American science fiction cinema through the lens of Asian appropriation and whitewashing. Using a wide interpretation of “Asian” to reflect current and historical geopolitical trends and self-definitions (inclusive of East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Asia, Central Asia, North Africa, and the Pacific Islands — the latter two of which are not technically Asia), this biting critique examines how Asian cultures have been mixed and matched, contrasted against, and conflated with each other, often creating a fungible “Asianness” in futuristic sci-fi.
The presentation brims with images and clips from dozens of futuristic movies and TV shows, as Suparak delivers anecdotes, trivia, and historical documents from the histories of film, art, architecture, design, fashion, food, and martial arts.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.
A conversation between Astria Suparak and writer and media creative Jason Concepcion will follow the presentation.
This event is a co-presentation with GYOPO. It is free and open to the public and features live captioning and ASL interpretation.
Astria Suparak is an artist, curator, and writer whose cross-disciplinary projects, often addressing urgent political issues, have been widely acclaimed for their high level concepts made accessible through a popular culture lens, such as the traveling exhibition on the global punk feminist movement Riot Grrrl (“Alien She”), and INCITE Journal of Experimental Media’s “Sports” issue with a series of exhibitions, screenings, dialogues, and artist projects. She has curated exhibitions and events for art institutions and festivals internationally, as well as for unconventional spaces such as skating rinks, ferry boats, sports bars, and rock clubs. Suparak’s creative and collaborative projects have been exhibited and performed at Artists Space, ICA London,SFMOMA, The Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, and as part of For Freedoms’ billboard series.
Jason Concepcion is a writer, editor, gamer, reader, and NBA superfan. He is Senior Creative at Crooked Media and the new host of the weekly podcast Takeline as well as the weekly YouTube series ALL CAPS NBA. He is best known for his work at The Ringer creating and hosting the Emmy-award winning digital series NBA Desktop, and co-hosting the popular podcast Binge Mode with Mallory Rubin, where they dissected Harry Potter, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and more.
GYOPO is a non-profit coalition of diasporic Korean cultural producers and art professionals generating and sharing progressive critical, intersectional, and intergenerational discourses, community alliances, and free educational programs in Los Angeles and beyond. GYOPO provides free public forums for intergenerational, cross-cultural, and intersectional multi-issue discourses, as well as dedicated spaces for people of the Korean diaspora.