HO Rui An
〈Student Bodies〉, 2019, HD video, 26min30sec , Courtesy of the artist
Student Bodies is a work of pedagogical horror that approaches the fraught history of capitalist modernity and radical culture in East and Southeast Asia through the figure of the student body. Beginning with the students of Satsuma and Choshu from Bakumatsu-era Japan, who were the first students from the country to study in the West, the work considers the student body as both collective and singular, metaphor and flesh, standing in for the body politic of the region across the successive periods of miraculous development, crises and recoveries through to the present day. The star capitalist pupil of the United States, as Chalmers Johnson said of Japan in the postwar period, becomes in the next moment, the dead student protester on the streets. In the film, such monstrous transformations of the student body throughout history are given voice by unseen ghosts whose utterances are understandable only through the subtitles.
About the Artist
Born in Singapore in 1990. Artist and writer working in the intersections of contemporary art, cinema, performance and theory. Working primarily across the mediums of lecture, essay and film, he probes into the shifting relations between image and power, focusing on the ways by which images are produced, circulate and disappear within contexts of globalism and governance. He has presented projects at the Gwangju Biennale (2018), Jakarta Biennale (2017), Sharjah Biennial 13 (2017), Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2014), Haus de Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2017), Jorge B. Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center, Manila (2017), NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (2017), Para Site, Hong Kong (2015) and Hessel Museum of Art and CCS Bard Galleries, Annandale-on-Hudson (2015). He is a recipient of the 2018 DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm. He lives and works in Singapore and Berlin.