Recent alumna Rae Yuping Hsu (SMACT ’20) is an artist from Taipei, Taiwan, currently based in New York, United States. Her practice is research-based and materially-informed, engaging with a wide range of vocabulary from glass to hair; official documents to fecal matter. In her work, fermentation stands in as a muse for the body with its symbiotic affordances, to create a space where empathic gut feelings can emerge, cultivating entangled forms of collaboration and contamination.
From Rae about her current exhibition, Scobyskin, Yellowsoup:
This is an exhibition dedicated to the many non-human and non-life forms that materially and affectively shape the way I think, with whom I think-with. Heavily featuring the SCOBY (symbiotic cultures of bacteria and yeast) that taught me the affection of touch, to embody Octavia Butler’s words “All that you touch, you change. All that you change, changes you.”
Fermentation has thoroughly changed the way I think about agency, where is it located? Who does it belong to? “Me” or “my microbes”? My microbes? Can the two ever be distinct from, outside of, each other?
Human beings originated from a primordial intrusion of alterity, but we did not learn to live symbiotically. We celebrate the cult of individualism, we fear the foreign. The etymology of “alien” is “originating from another,” we are all alien— infiltrated with star dust and contaminated by another’s will to be.