Saturday, December 09, 2006


i just bought the latest street and bus map for beijing. In addition to being surprisingly useful and up to date for a beijing publication, there is documentation of the most insane highway interchanges I've ever seen. I have negotiated these from the ground, and trust me, they are a total f*#king mess, but from above they are insane, yet beautiful. it's as if the civil engineer had "heard" there were such things as cloverleaf interchanges in the world and then reversed engineered it in the form of a chinese knot.

see the maps

This field guide to highway interchanges only barely explains what is going on in these images

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

spoof nude sumo

just got a tip (thanks jon campbell!) that the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party of the People's Republic of China, Xinhua News Service, has posted pics of Ho Fatso on their news website. The best part is the title which reads:

no other explanation, no photo credits, just photos of me and some friends wearing the fat suits. the images are in a photo gallery listed under the category "Odd." And is "spoof nude sumo" actually popular in beijing? i suppose if anyone would know, it would be Xinhua.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

train wreck

will be performing A Train Wreck for My Comrades, a video audio mix with my buddies Frank and Neema at D-22 in Beijing thursday (Dec 7). If anyone is in town, feel free to stop by.

too much going on since the last post. not sure i should try and summarize. suffice to say that all is good. we're in production/hibernation mode in beijing. it's cold, but we're not leaving the house unless we absolutely have to. the photo above is a bull horn i attached to an remote control car. while it was shouting "GET OUT OF MY WAY!" over and over again I promptly drove it into the abyss of the stairwell. it was an accident, i swear. luckily the entity only incurred surface wounds and is ready for another round.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

pipe dream

And now to your left, a sneak preview of The Amber Room show at the Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco.

Wang Wei is building a crazy scaffolding pavillion and corridor with a working title of You Yuan (loosely translated as 'a causal walk through the garden')

opens sept 8, 6-8pm. hope to see you there.

also, for fatso lovers, video of the Ho Fatso installation at ISEA 2006/Zero One Festival is now online. Special thanks to Joanne Dorgan, video editor extraordinaire.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


labor day is over. get out of the house. lots to see and hear this week in san francisco:

my story about Chinese American retirees going back to China was aired on KQED's Pacific Time program last week. the show is archived at the above links.

Wang Wei is part of a show at the Luggage Store Gallery called The Amber Room. There are four artists in the show, two from beijing, two from L.A. Wang Wei is building a scaffolding structure that takes over a large portion the gallery. The show opens this friday, sept 8 from 7-9, so please stop by if you're in the area.

also, good friend, radio personality, and multi-talented nguyen qui duc has an opening at the togonon gallery of his polaroid transfer prints and mixed media artwork. Exposure & Memory opens on thursday, sept 7, 6-8pm. The pieces are beautiful and as an added bonus, he's got some little robots that are funny and wacky.

hope to see you there.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


i went to my 20 year high school reunion yesterday. it was bizarre and surreal, as these things tend to be. one of the moments that kind of summed it up for me was when Maria Vourvoulias, whom I haven't seen or had any contact with for 10, maybe 20 years, said to me that she remembers we were in drafting class together and i could draw really straight lines. i thought to myself, "...drafting class?... my high school offered a drafting class?"

The whole evening was a fascinating look at how memory works, or in my case, doesn't. it was an evening of meeting familiar stangers with little or no context to understand who they are now. i was trying so hard to remember who these people were 20 years ago that when they told me what they were doing now, i was surprised. Subconsciously, i must have just assumed that they were still sitting in their cars in the parking lot, smoking pot and listening to Rush. in reality, they were out becoming things like doctors, engineers, and parents. i was taken aback only because in my mind i froze them in time and didn't realize it until they told me otherwise.

the other profound moment last night was michell okino (again, no contact for 10 maybe 20 years) telling me that she often explains to people that her high school was so white that they had an asian american (me) play Tituba (the black slave) in Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible.' Yes, it's true, and I've been mulling over this fact for several days now leading up to the reunion. But the problem isn't that the school was "white." My being cast as Tituba is already ludicrous, but what's even more bizarre is that the school was actually extremely diverse. In addition to a handful of black students who i had been in classes with since the first grade, there were black students who were bussed in from East Palo Alto. Thinking back now, i realize i had very few classes with anyone who was bussed into school. it's as if we were all at the same place, but went to totally different schools. we existed on completely parallel and unconnected universes. it's sad and strange that that actually happened, but it's even sadder and stranger that no one talked about it at the time. how extremely f#*cked up does the situation need to be when you have a school where half the student body is black, but not a single one of these students was invited to, felt comfortable enough, or had the means to audition and perform in the school play? AND just to make matters worse, an asian american was cast in the role instead. it makes my head spin to think about it. this was a failure and a lost opportunity to teach the real issues of history, race, class and gender in america. i wonder if it's different now. my senses tells me it's not.

Friday, August 04, 2006


For those out on the west coast, I'm showing the Ho Fatsos at the ZeroOne San Jose Festival/ISEA2006 Symposium.:

Ho Fatso
An interactive art installation by Rania Ho
Motion sensitive inflatable fat suits for fun and competitive wrestling

August 7-13, 2006
Part of the ZeroOne San Jose Festival: A Global Festival of Art on the Edge
Theatre on San Pedro Square (TOSPS)
29 North San Pedro Street, Suite 200 San Jose, CA 95110
hope to see you there!

and yes, it's very nice to be back in SF. i eat avocados every day and use a down blanket in the middle of summer. it's nutty and wacky.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

a gift

for all of you. this is the best thing you will see today. i swear:
it's a big file, but worth the wait. thank you neema for the link.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

good and weird

First the good news: Hao Wu is Free! After about 5 months in detention by the Chinese Government, I woke up this morning to read a press release that HAO IS FREE! Great news, and such a relief.

And then the weird news: A few weeks ago I was on the subway. The car wasn't crowded. It was the middle of the day. A man and a woman got on. They were talking at an exceptionally loud volume for two people who were standing right next to each other. If you didn't know it, you'd think they were at opposite ends of the train car. It was so loud that the normally unfazable subway riders all turned to look at them. The two people, completely oblivious to everyone else's reactions continued their conversation as if they were in their own living room (although why you would be talking that loudly in your own living room is beyond me). At some point I couldn't take it anymore and started making sushhhhing gestures with my index finger to them. The couple ignored me. The people around them started looking at me and laughed quietly to themselves at my feeble attempt to silence them. Finally, I said to the woman, "Uh, Is it necessary to talk so loud? Can you quiet down?" The couple ignored me, but I knew the woman heard me because she refused to make eye contact with me and just looked at the ground." The couple got off at the next stop.

Here's where it gets weird. A week later I get into an elevator at this pool where I just started swimming. A young girl is there with her mother. The girl turns to me and out of the blue says, "you look familiar." But I didn't recognize her. Then she said, "Were you on the subway that day with those two people who were talking really loud?" I'm staring at her thinking, "oh no."
"I was sitting next to them, smiling. Do you remember?"
I just smiled weakly.

The megapolis is a village in disguise.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Mighty Mighty

For those in range, Mighty Warriors of Comedy, a documentary on the 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors will have its final air date on KQED Channel 9: Sat, Jul 1, 2006 -- 3:00 am and KQED Encore: Sun, Jul 2, 2006 -- 5:00 pm

and if you're out of range... you'll just have to wait until it gets ripped to UTube.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

i see strange

forgot to mention in my last post that those who are in beijing this weekend should head down to the long march space on sat afternoon (that's 'arvo' for those in the southern hemisphere) and check out the opening of "Strange Sights" by 3 artists: Liu Xun, Wen Peng and Wang Wei.

Wang Wei is building a massive structure of scaffolding out on the patio (or front door, depending on how you enter the building). There will be a human sized chess game and video installation. those nutty chinese artists... wacky!

fractal manoeuvres

Just read this article Art of War in frieze mag that totally blew me away. It discusses the co-opting of architectural theory into military theory which is applied towards developing urban guerrilla warfare tactics. This high level archi-speak is used by the israeli military to explain how blasting violently through the walls of buildings "smooths out space."

holy shit, my brain is imploding.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

chow ciao

ok, i admit it. I was in italy. yes, last week. yes, when I said that I was just visiting my husband in beijing. Instead of taking flight from seoul to beijing - a mere 1.5 hours, I got on a plane that went to osaka instead. then I got on a plane to milan. this took 40 hours as I had to overnight it in osaka in the airport hotel. not an easy flight. the 12 hours from osaka to milan is an even longer flight than from beijing to san francisco. it's far.

from milan I got on a train, and then i got on another train which got me to perugia, a really small and quaint cobblestone village (from i don't know the 15th century?) on top of a hill. it looks exactly like what you think it looks like. it's so quaint it will make you cry. lush green trees, vibrant red poppies and travertine and stone houses easing in and out of the moutain crevices. from there i got in a car and drove around to some small towns and ended up in milan.

i ate gelato every day for 10 days straight. i ate all kinds of pasta, i ate pizza, i ate mushroom rissoto, i ate an amazing gnocchi. i ate heavenly salads and even had an italian mother feed me spaghetti and meatballs followed by grilled rabbit and potatoes. she insisted on grating cheese over my pasta after every 3 bites. i ate several carpaccios, procuitto, salumi and gulped at least two shot glasses of strong espresso a day. i drank copious amounts of fizzy mineral water and had a plate full of grilled salmon piled high with fresh arugula. i ate a dense chocolate cake that had a sweet and tart apricot puree spread between the layers. there was an apple cake with nutmeg and (maybe?) ginger. i drank red wine out of carafes and never bothered about the brand. oh and i even ate horse meat. it was ground up and and cooked in heavy spices. gamey but good.

but I wasn't completely untruthful. i said I was going to see my husband, and that was true. it just happened that he was in italy, on a photo shoot. so I went there to see him instead.


Monday, May 08, 2006

i got it

I just received an email from my department at the university that was all in Korean. My newest tactic now (instead of just ignoring it) is to translate it through BabelFish, which doesn't get me anywhere near understanding the email, but provides hours of entertainment:

Professor, How are you. There is dissertation subject announcement of the culture technical educational system military merit master 2 year car and the mail which informs it sends and it gives. Temporarily: May 22nd Monday Place: 3229 college 3 tubes (CT big lecture room) Hour: 10:30~14:00 The presenter with afterwords is same. 10:30-10:55 most Tae wheel 10:55-11:20 probably sourest yearly 11:20-11:45 study right 11:45-12:10 really hwi Ryong 12:10-12:45 lunches 12:45-13:10 Andong muscle 13:10-13:35 river circular 13:35-14:00 won wheel Ji The lunch prepares the pizza. It is busy but, inside hour it gives and it wishes. Master 2 year car, probably sour yearly streamer

this is priceless. I could read it over and over again and still discover new things. What more can I say? "It gives and it wishes."

Thursday, May 04, 2006

the buddha man

Last weekend was the parade for Buddha's Birthday in Seoul. Today (May 5) is the actual birthday, but I suppose buddha's birthday is much like the queen's birthday or any other abstract excuse to make huge paper lanterns and walk around on the street shouting and waving at total strangers. It was as kitchy as it sounds, and pretty fun.

Jay and I walked and ate our way through the street fair in front of the Jogyesa Temple during the day and then I went back to see the lanterns at night. some very cool floats at the parade and the effect of the lit lanterns hanging in the temple was amazing. Lots of wacky drum circles, conga lines and hats made of lanterns.

They had a goofy tent for "foreigners to make lanterns." My friend Jun who is korean american and recently moved to seoul for work said that he tried to join one year and they wouldn't let him. the lanterns are for dorky whiteys only, i guess.

I also witnessed a man get wrestled to the ground by plain clothes cops. one minute this guy was standing there watching some singers on a stage, and the next minute, someone had him in a headlock, and another guy was struggling to get cuffs on him. The man being attacked was resisting. Then the guy's head was forced down, and someone put a knee to his back, which put him face down on the floor. A crowd is gathering by now, looking on in shock. The cops (who knows if they were cops, I never saw any badge or anything) finally slam handcuffs on the man, pick him up by his shirt collar and lead him away with his head under one of the cop's arm. It was an intense show of violence, and even more strange was that it happened without any noise. I heard nothing except the shuffling of feet. There wasn't any grunting or shouting from any of the parties involved. An odd silent struggle.

Sensing the end of the drama, the crowd turned back to dancers doing hip-hop moves on the lit-for-television stage. machines mounted on scaffolding started blowing endless streams of pink tissue conffetti into the air. for at least 30 minutes the entire square looked like a snow globe.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

tokyo time

took a trip to tokyo last weekend to meet my sisters. wandered around and looked at cool architecture. it's very inspiring and humbling. I am so uncool. in comparison to tokyo, beijing really has so so so far to go. here are some images.

Thanks to my travels and stint in korea, I also have a new grand sweeping generalization about east asian communication styles:
korean: polite, but direct
japanese: polite, but not direct
chinese: neither polite, nor direct

i expect a barrage of verbal abuse from people that know better.

I've also (thanks to gabe) discovered how did I survive before without it? Just turn it on and it recommends and plays music based on stuff you already like. genius. everyone probably already knows about this. I'm just so painfully uncool (as demonstrated in tokyo) that I'm only getting to it now.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sunday, April 09, 2006


photos from this weekend's opening of timestamp. despite a technical glitch just before the opening, I think it went relatively well. (I'm kind of used to things breaking down at the last minute now. luckily it got resolved.)

Dashanzi was teaming with art fans this weekend as no less than 5 galleries had simultaneous openings on Saturday. Some nice things in the Long March Space as well as in the Marella Gallery where wang wei also has a show on. see pictures of his glass shadow box.

Grand pooh-ba of Dashanzi, Huang Rui, had a retrospective show at Chinese Contemporary Gallery where he did a performance piece which consisted of picking members of the audience to drink tea with. I didn't really understand what was going on. The only thing I could think was, "Wow, he's really going to have to pee in about 20 minutes."

Now I'm back in Korea, continuing what Jamie called my "monastic lifestyle."

Friday, April 07, 2006


I have a show that opens today...Come by if you are in the area.

<< Timestamp >><<时间印记>>
By Rania Ho 何颖宜

Long March Independent Project Space 长征空间 - 独立项目
Dashanzi Art District, Jiuxianqiao Rd 4#, Chaoyang District, tel:
朝阳区酒仙桥路四号798艺术区长征空间 电 话:010-64387107

April 8 - 30, 2006 2006 (2006.03.04-2006.04.30)
Opening: April 8, 2006, 4pm

<< Timestamp >> is an interactive installation that documents and captures
moments with a simple gesture. It uses strategically placed webcams in the
Long March Space to render visitors’ low-resolution images into the artwork
itself. Pictures are automatically collected once every minute from the
webcams and are sent to a printer suspended in the middle of the project
space. The low-fidelity images are etched onto thermal paper with a time
and date stamp and then pushed out into the air, allowing the picture to
float gently down to the floor. The burning of the image onto the paper is
reminiscent of scratching one’s name into fresh cement, or cutting notches
into a tree trunk; acts that leave a mark, an impression, a simple
statement of “I was here.” Over the course of the exhibition, this
evidence of presence accumulates in the project space and creates a
tangible record of people and events that passed through. Visitors
literally leave their mark on the work, and become a part of the evolving
non-linear narrative that remains.

互动装置《时间印记》用一个简单的捕捉瞬间的动作,将时间与空间糅合在一起。在长征主展厅内安置若干个摄像头,为参观展览的观众们拍下分辨率极低的照片。每隔几分钟,这些照片的数据被发送至一台悬挂在独立空间半空中的打印机,摄取图片的详细时间和日期也同时打印在照片上。随后,这些低保真的照片徐徐降落在空间的地面上。这种保存画面的形式如同水泥上刻出字迹,或在树干上刻出凹槽,是难以磨灭的印记,是 “我曾经在这里”的宣言。为此,整个的展览阶段成为一段真实的空间与时间的记录,观众本身为作品留下了印记成为这段时空叙述档案中永恒的部分。

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

not free

A good friend and documentary filmmaker Hao Wu has been in detention in China for over a month now. No one knows exactly why he was detained, though he was working on a documentary about underground churches in the PRC. No one knows where he's being detained, though he was last seen in Beijing. No one knows how long he will be detained. The situation is scary, infuriating and must be excruciating for his family. There has been sporadic contact between Hao and his family. His family originally requested that the story be kept quiet in hopes for an early release. Now, after a month of waiting, with little or no information and no progress in his case, a press campaign has begun. details here

Friday, March 24, 2006

soldiers, visas and hotel rooms

I've been sitting quietly in my self-imposed exile in Daejeon, Korea. I decided this was a good way to describe why I would want to come to a sleepy university town an hour outside of Seoul. I can't speak the language, I don't know very many people, I hardly know what's going on. I think some people would find this state of isolation frustrating, but in fact, I'm really enjoying the serenity of having less information from the outside world. No eavesdropping and no advertising- just time to focus. However after about three weeks of silence, last week I was pulled out of my bubble and there was a whirlwind of activity.

Visited the DMZ (some flickr photos). It's kind of strange to look across at the "menacing" north koreans and realize they look and dress a lot like Chinese PLA soldiers. After spending so much time in China, it seems more sad than scary. With an accompanying armed US Marine (who was frighteningly charming), endless miles of barbed wire, and bridges with hyperbolic names like "Bridge of No Return" the whole trip was surreal and a little bit overly dramatic. At some point I started to feel like the whole thing was engineered to seem EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. The result of which was an overall sense of anti-climax and fact fatigue.

Then made a quick jaunt to beijing to fix my visa at the korean embassy. My passport was held hostage until monday afternoon when pleas from my employers were finally heard and the processing was accelerated to finish one day earlier than expected.

Jumped on a plane back to Seoul tuesday morning, got on a bus, a train, and another train to arrive in Changwon where a variation of the "Robots!" show was being installed in an expo center. I set up "Flip" and stayed in a really funny hotel room. Rushed back to daejeon on a long distance bus, in time for class, taught for 3 hours and promptly passed out afterwards.

whew. no more activity, please. I just want to sit here in front of my computer, thanks.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Alas! a video clip of the Memoirs of a Chinese Geisha sketch from the 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors show last month in Feb. The show was performed in L.A.

Written by Greg Watanabe (who plays the Japanese guy) , shot and edited by Sung Kim, it spoofs the casting choices of the recent "oriental flavored" film Memoirs of a Geisha.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006


I'm in this funny korean town, Daejeon, surrounded by strip malls and what seems to be forests. I'm here to teach a class this semester. yesterday I went to lunch with some students and while one was explaining the menu to me he started making this gesture with his hands which was creating a circle with his forefinger and thumb on one hand and sticking his index finger of his other hand into the circle, in other words, the fucking gesture. I was watching him do this and trying really hard to hold it together and understand what he was trying to communicate until somebody stepped in and said that he was trying to say that it was chicken skewers on the menu. then I just lost it. and then everyone lost it. apparently that is the universal symbol for fucking, or chicken skewers if you're korean.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

a very brief update

so TWO action packed months have gone by without a single posting. lame. here's a brief summary:

for the December holidays we ended up on Hainan Island with a horde of Russian tourists. very funny. my dad kept making jokes like, "10,000 Russians can't be wrong." Despite the tourism, it's still a really nice place to visit and just be a beach bum. There was one beach we found that was about 4 miles long and had only fisherman pulling in the day's catch on it. Amazing, and kind of scary. I think that's what happens when you are in densly populated places for too long. The idea of being the ONLY ONE OUT THERE inspires panic.

Mid-january Wang Wei had an exhibition at the Walsh Gallery in Chicago. I stayed with my Aunt Pei-lee, whose house is worth documenting.

What's good about living in China is that after some kind of xmas-like holidays you also get Chinese New Year, which lasts about a few weeks. So I stayed in California while Wang Wei came back to the fireworks war zone that Beijing had become.

I stayed in California to do a show with the 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors in Los Angeles to mass critical acclaim. Well anyway, some people came to see it and liked it. There is talk of a re-mount. Stay posted.

now I'm in Daejeon, Korea teaching a class at KAIST called Making Things where we will, ahem, make... things.