Kwan Queenie Li, Class of 2022

Non-Arrival, Yet, In Proximity, 2022

Three collaborators were invited to temporarily inhabit the space with their evocative objects. They were tasked with prompts related to their cultural gestures without any assigned scripts. This process emphasized improvisation and collaboration, exploring the paradoxical entwinement of pleasure and struggle in this imaginative socio-political neighborhood. The characters’ relational joint, albeit precarious, seems to lie between the positions of strangers and friends. This contingent bonding is neighborly love in passage: a makeshift accompaniment in impermanence. the filming began with a curiosity to pick up the loose thread of discussion on cultural hybridity in the waves of nationalist populism and rising xenophobia.

Kwan Q Li is an artist from Hong Kong whose practice coalesces lens-based medium, performance and writing. Her research interests span across post-colonial intricacies, vegetative politics and digital/generative (im)possibilities.

A first-generation college student, Queenie earned a BFA degree from the University of Oxford and a BBA degree in Global Business Studies from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, both with full-tuition support from the HKSAR government and philanthropic D.H.Chen Foundation. At Oxford, her final thesis on urban weeds within delimiting landscape was awarded the Stuart Morgan Prize for Art History, the school’s most commended writing prize. She is currently residing at the Art, Culture, and Technology program at MIT on a teaching fellowship.

Her projects are featured/supported by the AI & Society Journal at the University of Cambridge (UK), the BOOKED: Tai Kwun Contemporary (HK), IdeasCity by the NTU CCA (Singapore) and the New Museum (USA), Hong Kong Design Trust, Venice Architecture Biennale (Hong Kong Pavilion), Council for the Arts at MIT (USA), Art Machines 2 (HK) and more. Her photo book, “Quasi-Immigrant” on Hong Kong’s exacerbating emigration phenomenon was published by an independent publisher, Brownie Publishing.

About the ACT Studio:

The ACT Studio serves as a space for participants to develop their independent practices in relation to each other’s work and in the context of the Art, Culture, and Technology program (ACT) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The understanding and interpretation of each of these terms – art, culture, and technology – can vary significantly between each of the 14 participants; through shared readings, intimate conversations in small groups around each participant’s work, the spring 2022 ACT Studio aimed at developing a common language to allow for a fruitful conversation between the diverse practices of its participants.

In April, a study trip was organized to New York City, the first official out-of-campus travel since the beginning of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. During the weekend, the studio participants visited several art galleries and museums; on Sunday the 11th, they were hosted in the morning by Participant Inc.’s founder, Lia Gangitano; in the afternoon, the studio gathered at Bortolami Gallery in Tribeca, where a seminar took place in the gallery’s upstairs with the invited guests: geographer and abolitionist activist professor Ruth Wilson Gilmore, and Dia Art Foundation curator Jordan Carter.

The trip culminated on Monday, April 12th, with a full-day visit to the Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as it’s Kept, in which the instructor Renée Green’s work is included. after visiting the overall exhibition, the act studio engaged in an extended and intimate conversation with the biennial curators, Adrienne Edwards and David Breslin.