Ho Rui An

Student Bodies (2019)

Film Installation

Image courtesy of the artist

Beginning with the Satsuma students of the pre-Meiji period, who were among the first students from Japan to study in the West, Student Bodies considers the student body as a literal and metaphorical body politic which transforms through the region’s history.

The student, first imagined in Japan as the “star capitalist pupil” of the United States in the postwar period, becomes in the next moment the dead student protester on the streets. Such monstrous transformations of the student body through history is given voice in the film by a ‘ghost’ in the machine understandable only through the subtitles of the film. In following the turns of the student body as a carnal signifier, the film attends to the rhythms of the very dictates that shape the student to become both the embodiment and the contradictions of global capitalism.

Student Bodies expands on the research Ho first presented at the Gwangju Biennale 2018 in the artwork of Asia the Unmiraculous (2018– ). Like other works in Ho’s oeuvre to date, Student Bodies uses the medium of the essay film and the performance; though in Student Bodies it is the ‘machine’ rather than Ho that performs the interrogation of the historical lineages of contemporary phenomena and forms of knowledge.

Ho Rui An (b. 1990, Singapore)  is an artist and writer working in the intersections of contemporary art, cinema, performance and theory. He writes, talks and thinks around images, with an interest in investigating their emergence, transmission and disappearance within contexts of globalism and governance. He has presented projects at the Gwangju Biennale (2018), Yinchuan 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), NUS Museum, Singapore (2016), 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.


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