Stephanie Mei Huang | Issue Eight Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your work

I am a multidisciplinary artist currently working and living in Los Angeles, CA, and an MFA candidate at the California Institute of the Arts. I had a transient upbringing—within the first six years of my life I moved from Wisconsin to Indiana, then to Yokohama, Japan, and finally to Shanghai, China. My work finds its roots in the nuances of fragmentation in regards to physical location and culture and such displacement and fragmentation’s role in changing perceptions of nationhood, loss, and identity.

Tell us about the themes you pursue in your work

My practice concerns itself with critical scripts of notions around authority, expansionism, exceptionalism and their subsequent consequences: erasure, displacement, and violence. Through research and practice, I examine the arbitrariness of the distribution of state power and the constructed narratives and fallible paradigms that uphold such power. Traversing territories of confrontation, my practice visualizes systems of control and erodes the violent mythologies that perpetuate settler colonial narratives, in the hopes of excavating partial, erased, and forgotten histories.

What art do you most identify with?

Art with urgency and potency that can be accessed for free.

Is there something you couldn't live without in your studio? what is your most essential tool?

As it happens, my kettle is an essential tool for caffeine/hydration—thus, awake-ness, lucidity, productivity, etc.

What place do you think artists have in the political sphere?

Artists have the mobility to float in society in regards to ideological positions and class—because of this, there is a duty to dismantle ownership and power structures, reckon with difficult histories (cultural, racial, political), assist in building inclusive communities, articulate what change could look like, and ideally and ultimately, facilitate how to get there.

Are there any upcoming exhibitions or projects in the works?

It’s the last year of my MFA program, so everything I am thinking about will have some manifestation (evident or not, conscious or not) in my solo thesis show in the spring. I am expanding upon the border is a private space i to further visualize and question the illogical structure of the border (as well as other architectures of power) and violence through abstractions of lines and space.

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