Independent Curator, Founder of HATCH Series
For this project, I met Minna on two occasions. First, she welcomed me in her sunny home, where she talked me through the objects she brought with her when she moved to NY from Taiwan. On the second occasion, we met at Spaces in Long Island City where she curated show Nearly There: Point(s) of Reference - Hatch Series. The show arranged quirky objects stood in contrast to the Scandinavinan furniture in Spaces.
Vintage Porcelain & Perfumes
The yellow cake platter I got at the Salvation Army has never actually been used for cakes. I actually have few plates from there since I lived a few blocks away. Over there you can get them for couple of dollars, and then you would go to the Brooklyn Flea and they will be about 10 times the price [laughs].
Those scissors are supposed to be nail clippers, but I use them to cut my basil and rosemary plants, because it gets in there really well to cut the stems. I cook a lot, so it is always nice to have fresh herbs around the house.
Most of these are sample perfumes that I have collected.
For the past year I have been wearing the Chloe perfume, but every time I go out, strangers will asks me if I am wearing it. That started getting a little bit weird. So I feel like I need a little change.
My grandma passed away when I was very young, but I have a very vivid memories going down the south and visiting her. We would go back every year during the Chinese New Year, and I can still remember the trip … the weather would always been so hot and sticky compared to how cold it was in Taipei. This is the only thing that I have after her . My apartment got broken into once and they stole everything. I wear this ring a lot, but sometimes I leave it at home. Luckily, that day I decided I want to wear it, and they stole everything else that I had. For some reason everything that is important to me I kept on my body that day.
Like lot of people who travel, I have always collected postcards. The one with the cat I got in Taiwan the year I was leaving for college, it says drink coffee until the apocalypse. Then there is the Taiwanese beer – we grew up drinking a lot of that beer. The postcard with the two people dancing I got over here. And then there is the Tin Tin poster. When I was learning French my brother bought me the Tin Tin book and I got this postcard the first time I went to France. I look back at them and remember number of different things.
Klimt has always been relatively sentimental for my parents. I guess this goes to the fact that we have lived in Vienna for some time. In Taiwan, our house has been adorned with Klint pictures, and I remember growing up amongst them.
My aunt was moving from Delaware to Seattle and she had a ton of old stuff that she was getting rid of. This is one of the few things that I picked up and kept. It was not in the best shape when I got it. It was held with a masking tape, and definitely was a fire hazard.
When my grandpa passed away, my family got his coffin made out of a very specific wood. The tree itself has been under environmental protection laws so a lot of people that have the timber hold onto it as it’s increasingly rarer to find. The remainder of wood got turned into prayer beads that every member of the family has. The beads have a very specific scent, almost like sandal wood. Those are the ones that my mom has been using for the past years, and the more you touch it, the more the beads hold onto the scent.
The last time I went home, my mom gave it to me with this prayer book of the “Jing Gang Sutra” 《金剛經. It’s a Buddhist text on Enlightenment. When my mom gave it to me, she also knitted a pouch to go with it, to protect those ‘sacred items.’ While I’m not particularly religious, I’ve always seen spirituality as part of the culture in Taiwan.
A lot of people in Taiwan have it. If you go there, you will see that all taxi drivers will have it hanging on the mirror. There is usually a bit of jade in them or other semi-precious stones, and specific knots that you tie that together is supposed to protect you from accidents. I don’t drive myself, but this somehow ended up in my suitcase.
I have been finding that my half easily creeps into his half. I have a couple of mom’s old clothing there, and I think she was about thee same age as me when she was wearing these. The black skirt is a traditional Viennese skirt. My parents lived in Vienna for something like 10 years. They had my older brother there. Both of them are musicians, so my mom used to wear it when she would on the stage and perform. She gave it to me and then we cut it a little bit short. She would always tell me how they always had to look their best when going to class- never just jeans and a T-shirt.
Handmade Bag from Thailand
When I was living in Taiwan we used to go to Thailand a lot. Either there or to Japan. We always used to go to Bangkok, but when I had left for college my parents started visiting Chiang Mai. I went with them one Summer I went home. It is not as metropolitan as Bangkok, so there were a lot of artisanal shops. There was this shop with all different antique fabrics that they took from all different sources and recycled them into these bags. I have been using it a lot this week, because it is finally springtime, and it is so nice to wear something that’s not my usual black on black.
I used to have another record player but that one broke when I moved. I left my records in my old apartment over the summer and most of them warped because of the heat. My brother left this one when he went back to Taiwan along with his record collection.
The white ones in the bathroom were sent to me by my boyfriend for Valentine’s day years ago that had dried out. We were living in different states at the time. The other ones is lavender and eucalyptus. The smell of lavender reminds me of summer, and our trips to Italy. The eucalyptus plant has lasted a lot longer than I had expected and fills the room with a really nice scent. Apparently your memories are really closely linked to your sense of smell. I believe that.
When my granddad was getting really sick all of my aunts took up knitting. Since then my mom has been knitting a lot of socks, and every Christmas she would give my boyfriend and me knitted socks. Last time she gave us a pair of matching socks. Every time we videochat she would show me the progress and she would have them ready for me to bring back to New York them regardless of the season. I also tried to take up knitting, and now I have about five or six scarfs that I never finished. I don’t think I have much patience for it.
I have cases and cases of books; most of them are still at my cousin’s house. I can’t give them away. I would take them back to the shop, but I feel there will always be the moment when I will need it. I probably have about six different copies of Walter Benjamin’s ‘Camera in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ amongst these books. [laughs] Since my boyfriend has moved in, it has become ‘her and his bookshelf.’ My boyfriend is in the finance industry, and you can definitely see which book belongs to who. You can see that there is a difference in our personalities.
The entire knife is made out of steel and it has the guy’s name and stamp inscribed. It was made in January 2014 in Shilin. I used to have those crappy dollar store knifes that would break cutting apples. My dad bought me this one as a replacement.
I think it is a really warming thing to see in the house. One of the first things my parents still ask when they pick up the phone is whether or not I’ve eaten yet. In Taiwan it’s generally the first thing people ask when they see you- right after saying hello. Food is a huge part of the culture there and a lot of social practices revolve around it. Growing up, we always had a lot of kitchen soup. As a child I hated breakfast and I would only eat chicken soup with noodles. Since it worked as a steamer to make soup, I brought it here to NY with me when I went to college, along with other Taiwanese things; random things that my mom thought I would need.
Fish in a flask
I have no idea how they got the fish carcass to look like that. My cousin got it for me when we visited this random store in Taiwan. There is also a coffee stain on it that I don’t know how it got there. It is creepy, but funny.
HATCH Series x Spaces
HATCH series was started by myself and Nana, who is back at Taiwan now. We saw that there was a lack of opportunity for a lot of the talented creative people and artists that we knew and that would also not other have met. She did her masters at Columbia, I studied at Pratt and we felt there was no overlap in our social circles, and we felt that we met by chance.
The two of us are also interested in unconventional ways looking at artists and their process. We felt that it was worthwhile to look at things through interdisciplinary lens, rather than specifically through predetermined categories, whether that be medium or artist’s background.
How it works is that there is a general theme for an each exhibition. Each curator is then responsible for finding 3 artists and those artists are then asked to find 1 - 3 artists who speak to the this theme. Our process was implemented with the idea of bringing together artists’ circles that wouldn’t otherwise meet. At this point we have done 3 exhibitions in NY and we just had one in Taiwan.
Part of what we try to do as Hatch is we want to create a show where people feel comfortable going to, even if they have no background in art. We have pushed to find non-conventional, “white box” spaces to show the work as a means to mediate that. In past we have shown in lofts, and we have felt that people were more encouraged to have conversations about the pieces and less intimidated to approach the artists and curators. When we curated this place, we thought a lot about how coworking spaces have become prevalent in New York because of how culturally and socially the contemporary worker’s conditions have become increasingly nomadic. The show that is currently on display speaks to globalization and capitalism that feeds into this phenomena of shared workspace as well as the many ways in which it feeds into artist’s practices and experiences.
'Nearly There: Point(s) of Reference'
Michelle Carolina Levie
Dutch-Colombian photographer Michelle Carolina Levie’s series “Orange Sands” presents the landscape of La Guajira, Colombia-the most northern point of South American. Looking towards the natural world as a source of inspiration, her work questions the intrusion of modern industrialization as it encounters remote and “off the grid” locations. Focusing on the sustainability of these places that are not dependent upon contemporary technology and seemingly suspended in time, this documentation of a fading way of life brings forth the hidden possibilities of alternative modes of living.
Eduardo’s interactive poster deals with Colombia’s social struggles. His general work and practice primarily concerns itself with the role of language within culture and meditates on the socio-cultural circumstances of his home, Colombia. The piece shown in this exhibition particularly focuses on the rampant corruption the country faces and adoption of americanization as a way of social progress.
Interested in examining the social structure of contemporary cultural exchange, Ta-Wei Huang is curious to explore the social and cultural boundaries of human perception. He questions the boundaries of so-called ‘Taiwanese commonality’ and the process of negotiating with this psychical and physical framework.
The phenomenon of co-working spaces is arguably a consequence of the current work environment and a solution for the nomadization of the contemporary worker. Along with the popularity of startup culture, the hybrid space of work and play has become trendy, challenging the traditional office experiences. Parceled out throughout the exhibition space, we present the work by the design collective Pinkhouse. With a consciousness towards the psycho-social impact of design, their furniture pieces aim to provide a new way of understanding the concept of “utility” in design. Through these pieces they are able to pose the question of productivity in a workplace within a highly competitive global economy, and instead turn the working space into space of playful stimulation, aimed to spark creativity and innovation.
Other artists included in the show: Jess Wu-Ohlson, I-Hsuen
Thank you Minna for fun two days!