Suhyun Choi: Memorial for Laptop

January 26 – March 4, 2023

Due to the process-based nature of the Session program, Memorial for Laptop will undergo constant modifications; the features of this page provide accruing information on the project’s developments.

Ways to Experience the Project

Events are subject to change. With the exception of drop-in hours, we ask the public to reserve a time online for one or more of the following public engagements. Since slots are limited, we ask that visitors commit to attending and cancel in advance if their plans change. All events are free. 

Opening Memorial for Artist’s Laptop
Thursday, January 26th, 6-8 pm

Join us for a ritual for the passing of artist Suhyun Choi’s laptop and for the acknowledgment of the labor and resources that it took to produce it. The artist will be performing a ritual co-curated using AI-generated prayers and ceremonies, to soothe the souls of the dead. Followed by Korean refreshments. Please wear white to the ritual.

Register for Opening Memorial for Artist’s Laptop

Day-long Convening: Re-Configuring Our Relationships with Our Tech and Ourselves
Saturday, February 11th, 1-6 pm

This day-long convening will delve into the ways in which relationship building – with ourselves, our communities, as well as our tech objects – has shifted, especially throughout the pandemic. The ways in which we build relationships mediated by technology accelerated, as social culture dramatically changed to be more insular. We will meditate on the ways in which the fabric of social culture has shifted, while making space to transform aspects of technological mediation that have negatively impacted our collective psyche. 

1-2:15 pm Unraveling Webs & Love Facilitated by Emnet Tafesse

“Remember to imagine & craft the worlds you cannot live without, just as you dismantle the ones your cannot live within” – Ruha Benjamin

Join us for a pause. a reconsideration. a check in. a portal. As we slip ever deeper into a deep socially modified relationship dictated by the whims of tech creators devoid of care – we stop together – here in this in-between space to dream. Too much has happened – remerging from a pandemic that pushed a generation further&farther behind screens it’s imperative we take every opportunity to vision alternatives as well as figure where we now stand. Through a series of contemplative reflection, guided meditations and performative exercise participants will reweave, rebuild, and remember.

About the Facilitator

Emnet is a Research Analyst with the AI on the Ground Initiative at Data & Society. She has a passion for utilizing advocacy, research, and policy to create positive social change and a more equitable world. Prior to joining Data & Society, Emnet worked as a Project Associate at the University of Chicago’s Urban labs on an array of projects in criminal justice reform and education. Emnet earned her Bachelor’s from Howard University with a degree in Political Science and minor in Sociology. She received her Masters in Public Policy with a certificate in Global Conflict Studies from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.

2:30-4:30 pm Bring your Personal Device on Date <3

This dating session is a gesture of loving our technologies that were produced to oppress us. How do you personalize your technology? What technologies have you developed racial-emotional affinity to? Tech self-care is not only about boundaries, but conscious connection. In this session we will be decorating our personal devices, writing love letters to them, and taking them out on a cute and well-deserved date! The first 16 people to arrive will receive a custom laptop sleeve. 

4:45-6 pm DIY Personal Device Zine Making 

Computers and phones are our portals to collective consciousness, memory, and memory-making. They can be expressions of our individual Indigenous ancestral memory technologies, as part of earth memory. This workshop asks: What do you want to remember? Forget? What are the memory technologies that we tap into every day that moves us towards life, our understanding of our humanity (i.e. prayer, gratitude, writing love letters, etc.)? Technology today composes us, for us, through algorithms produced by systems of oppression. How do we want to co-evolve with technology, in order to produce ourselves? Through this zine making exercise, we will design our own memory technologies as personal devices. 

Register for Re-Configuring Our Relationships with Our Tech and Ourselves

TFW You’re Techno and Oriental
Saturday, February 18th, 2-4 pm

Through an illustrated lecture the artist will demonstrate how movies such as The Host and Everything, Everywhere, All at Once promote or challenge techno-orientalism, followed by an open discussion on the possibilities of envisioning a future that isn’t rife with objectifying Asian bodies.

Register for TFW You’re Techno and Oriental

Community Conversation: Techno-Orientalism and Strategies against Violence

Wednesday, March 1st, 6-7:30pm 

With Asian American Feminist Collective, Roopa Vasudevan, Angry Asian Womxn, Red Canary Song, and Mindy Seu 

In this community conversation, we will be asking: What are the conditions that produce anti-Asian hate crimes? How are these connected to larger frameworks of the West’s dependence on the East for technological production? How can we transform these conditions of violence? We will be talking about the historical and contextual bases on which these structures of violence are built, as well as strategies, tactics, and everyday practices on how we are working to transform the conditions that produce them.

Register for TFW You’re Techno and Oriental

Closing Ceremony

Saturday, March 4, 2-5 pm

The artist will host a final memorial ritual for all the personal devices that were donated by the public. They will perform another ritual co-curated using AI-generated prayers and ceremonies, to soothe the souls of the dead. The ceremony will conclude with a live Korean traditional drum performance by KQT Pungmul and light refreshments.

Register for the Closing Ceremony

Memorial for Laptop

Drop-in Hours

Thursdays – Saturdays, 12-6 pm

Private Studio Visits with the Artist

(60mins, For Groups of 1-4)

Saturdays and Sundays 2–6 pm,
Thursdays and Fridays 5-7 pm
By appointment only.

To make an appointment, sign up no later than 10 am the same day at recessartscheduling.as.me

The artist invites visitors to bring any personal devices that they wish to part with.

While we do not require proof of vaccination, use of KN95, or N95, or KF94 Masks (age 2+) are required for all visitors. One will be provided if other types of mask are worn. While not required, we encourage guests to take a rapid test before visiting the space.

 

On December 23, 2020, the artist Suhyun Choi’s laptop passed away. They realized that they had developed a racial-emotional affinity towards their personal tech devices, even though the manufacturing of such objects propagates techno-Orientalism – a theory which posits a dystopic technologically and economically dominant East that serves as an antagonist to the historically hegemonic and heroic West. The viralization of East-Asian bodies has been and is inherently connected to the West’s fear of the East in technological advancement, as technological prowess has equated to colonial and imperial brute strength.

‘Ornamentalism’, a theory of Yellow feminist ontology articulated by Anne Anlin Cheng, further traces the haunting history of economic relationships between the West and the East producing the narrative of Yellow femininity as aesthetic embellishment and objecthood. Throughout histories of industrialization, the labor of producing technology has been racially coded—forwarding the stereotype of Yellow femme bodies as programmed and programmable, cold, object, unfeeling, productive, and laborious. Technology and labor have thus become the avenues for dehumanization and disposability. In an attempt to mitigate this, Choi proposes a humanizing relationship to technology as a means of humanizing Yellow femmes who are inherently read as objects. What would it mean if we changed our relationship to technology to one of care and humanity? Can the care for our objects decolonize technology?

Choi will create a Korean memory setting in which to enact this caring relationship through rituals of remembrance. Choi states:

The traditional Korean memorial space aids spirits in their transition from life to death. Memorializing my laptop is a spiritual act that provides the intention of recognizing that technology was created from the earth’s resources and labor, and consciously parting with them to return them back safely. Through this framing of care as a mnemo-technology, and memorial as a mnemo-technique, I am proposing to shift the way we understand ourselves, our being, and our relationship to technology.

The centerpiece will be a large floral arrangement on top of a wooden altar containing a transparent acrylic box that holds the artist’s laptop SSD. Below it, a table will hold jesa (Korean memorial objects)  such as used computer parts and Apple product detritus. In front of the jesasang or altar table will be a donation box for jo-euigeum, where people can donate money in odd numbers to Asian American labor rights organizations. Throughout the course of the Session, the public are invited to donate their broken personal devices and place them on long horizontal display tables. They will be invited to write loving farewell letters to acknowledge their relationships with them. After the exhibition, the donated electronics will be recycled responsibly.

Floral Installation Designer: Jaz Solana (they/them) @radjaz 

Garment Designer: Euimi Lee @eui.mi 

Care Committee: Tsige Tafesse @astoldbytsige and seh-reum tom @_the_web_ 

Art Handling: Kyle Ingram @_kyle_ingram_

Memorial for Laptop is part of Recess’s program, Session, which invites artists to use Recess’s public platform to combine productive studio space with dynamic exhibition opportunities. Sessions remain open to the public from the first day of the artist’s project through the last, encouraging sustained dialogue between artists and audiences. Due to the process-based nature of Session, projects undergo constant revision and the above proposal is subject to change.

 About the Artist

Suhyun Choi is a Korean non-binary, third-culture kid. They were born in Hong Kong from Korean parents, and have lived in South Korea, the Philippines, Canada, and the U.S. Growing up in different social and cultural contexts has given them first-hand experiences in understanding the complexity of globalization, capitalism, colonialism, and how the macro affects the micro levels of human ontology and relationships. They are particularly interested in solidarity work amongst QTBIPOC across borders. Their work in BUFU, a collective they are a co-founder of, has been covered by publications such as the Village Voice, NYLON, Hyperallergic, the Fader, and many more. For BUFU’s programming, they have worked with institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum, Queens Museum, New Women Space, the New Museum, Abrons Art Center, and School for Poetic Computation. This work has been recognized by the YBCA 100 Honoree award that is given to activists and artists such as Tarana Burke, Janelle Monae, Janet Mock, and many more. They are a current participant in the New Media Leadership program for Ford Foundation and were a past artist in residence at Eyebeam, New York. They were a guest speaker at Art Basel Hong Kong 2018 for Tai Kwun Contemporary’s talk called “Labor and Privilege” as well as the Metropolitan Museum’s “Career Lab: Art and Activism” in 2017.

Recess is supported, in part, by Alloy Development, LLC, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Arison Arts Foundation, Art for Justice Fund, Art Matters Foundation, The Andy Warhol, Foundation for the Visual Arts, Blavatnik Family Foundation, Bloomberg LP Philanthropy, Brendan Dugan, Brooklyn Community Foundation, The Cy Twombly Foundation. The David Teiger Foundation, David Rockefeller Fund, The Destina Foundation, DFW Fund, ELMA Philanthropies, Ford Foundation, The Fox Aarons Foundation, Frank E. Clark Charitable Trust, The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, Jane Hait, Jewish Communal Fund, The Jill and Peter Kraus Foundation, Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, Lawrence & Idell Weisberg Foundation, The Luce Foundation, Kickstarter, MacKenzie Scott & Dan Jewitt, The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York Community Trust, The New York State Council on the Arts, The Odyssey Fund, The Pinkerton Foundation, Progressive Philanthropy Group, The Prospect Hill Foundation, The Richard Pousette-Dart Foundation, Robert Lehman Foundation, Saks Fifth Avenue, The Salomon Foundation, The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, The Shapiro-Silverberg Foundation, The Silverweed Foundation, Sozosie Foundation, The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Tikkum Olam Foundation, VIA Fund, Visionary Freedom Fund, Wescustogo Foundation, The Willem de Kooning Foundation