Cacotopia x Future Host | Scripture: Speculative Fiction

2021.05.18 Tuesday 03:00

Location

Online

“Scripture” is a book of speculative fiction inspired by The Book of Mountains and Seas. The fiction unfolds in two directions: Qinyuan, a diminutive bee-bird, sexes and assassinates its way out of the mythological landscape. Upon studying its subjects, it exterminates their lives with blood and guts. The son of a master potter from Jingdezhen wanders in New York and Antwerp as SHE. With insoluble mud on her hands, SHE knows the end of her journey is the return to origin. 

Click here to enter a world of ancient cosmology and its contemporary paraverse.

Xiangliu

Xiangliu came to me without notice. I thought I had remained anonymous for convenience. It really struck me how they pinned me down on my spontaneous itinerary.

They looked at me, nine heads and eighteen eyes, an extended standing ovation. Their upper body floated in the air like a slender, copper flute. I was remotely amused, pressing back a sneer. My cynicism was running wild. I tried very hard not to make fun of their hybrid appearance. 

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The Swamp

The benevolence of the swamp lies in its utter chaos. It is known for leaving the authoritative role indefinitely empty to endorse subterranean forces. It doesn't decide where it drains or leaks, when it dries up. The swamp can be many things at the same time, but its surface refuses reflection and does not divulge any of its hidden characteristics. The surface inertia belies its erosion by the underground, where burrows, lairs, tunnels and slits constitute an imbroglio. Water trickles down, seeping through millions of ephemeral interlocking holes. Beings crawl and twist and carve out concaves and convexes. There are no rules with which to declare domination.  

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Rouli

I flutter and reach an engulfed meadow circled by low-lying shrubs. It’s that hermetic land where the tribe of Rouli resides. Its people call themselves Rouliers.

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Ti-chiang

I decide to be present, to try to empathize, to offer help. For example, if I knock it off, it will be relieved from its burden, those wrinkly ankles and swollen knees will no longer bear the weight. Normally I don’t play with Ti-chiang, but today I feel my act of killing is an expression of pure courtesy. I patrol around to get an idea about what it looks like. I hover over it, glide in the air, until I dread it: it is in perfect balance and symmetry. Impossible to tell if it’s dead, alive, or asleep. Immediately I feel futile. Ti-chiang’s feet are planted into the ground, the rhythm of its breath reverberates in the air, sending deep vibrations that can’t be heard, but viscerally felt.

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She I

The flight climbs above the cloud into the stratosphere. The soundscape dismisses any attempt to think. Her seat is close to the aircraft wing and the engine is loud, she feels rather subdued. The Tibetan lady next seat is intensely perfumed, the scent is agarwood. In a full beige business suit, she is petite, her neck circled with a Bvlgari rose gold mother-of-pearl “diva” necklace. Cheeks tinted with plateau red and bad teeth. After a few drinks she grins at her for no reason.

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She II

It’s a semi-basement near Bayard street with no visible storefront. She takes a moment and lets several pedestrians pass her before stepping down the stairs. It reminds her of entering a well even though she’s never entered a well. Too steep, she’s forced to look down parallel to her belly, feeling dizzy. She reaches the bottom and continues to walk down a long, narrow gateway. Dozens of mailboxes on bare concrete walls, each of them the size of a cereal box, as thick as a palm. Her eyes get used to the dark, she can see better and better. 

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Kui

Radically insufficient, radically inadequate but extremely adorable. It embodies a folk instinct to usurp the creation myth, not to supplement the realm of the knowable, to help cement the canon, seal the coffin, but to destabilize knowing with a “what if.” 

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Shuang Shuang

Mediated by the humidity in the air, I find my visions calibrated to the swamp. The sunlight gets deflected and diffused by the moisture. In diffusion everything finds its twin, its double image. I think I see a lion giving birth, or a beast devouring another. Soon I realize it’s the one and only Shuang Shuang, the two-headed liger-tigon.

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Shenmu

Have you ever closely witnessed a loved one suffer, on their deathbed, in silence, furiously under their skin? If you look them into the eyes they must look like Shenmuers. This time around they refuse to be understood. They may say or do things to confuse and deceive you, as if they feel urged to get rid of you. They are different now but you are in denial. They can see things that you don’t, they know things you can’t see. They are snatched up by what they are looking at, nothing is more important than their new engagement. Why are you suffering alone without me? 

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About the Artists

Future Host (Tingying Ma and Kang Kang) is an artist duo who consider the world as emotive and sentient that can only be processed through epistemic inquiries. 

Future Host’s work has been presented at the Museum of Chinese in America, New York; International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP), New York; Ullens Center of Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing; Ming Contemporary Art Museum (MCAM), Shanghai. A finalist for the 2018 Huayu Art Award, their practice has been supported by Shandaken Projects: Governors Island and LMCC: Arts Center. Their writing has been published or is forthcoming by Wendy’s Subway, New York, T Magazine China, LEAP. Their publication The Insatiable can be found at Printed Matter, New York. 

Macalline Center of Art (MACA) is a non-profit art institution located in the 798 Art District of Beijing and officially inaugurated its space on January 15, 2022. Occupying a two-story building with a total area of 900 square meters, MACA unites artists, curators, and other art and cultural practitioners from around the world. Through its diverse, ongoing, and collaborative approaches, the Center establishes a new site on the contemporary art scene. Guided by the “work of artists” and backed by interdisciplinary research, the Center aims to bring together a community passionate about art and devoted to the “contemporary” moment so as to respond proactively to our rapidly evolving times.