Curtis Ho / Hyo-Jung Song
Uncle Boy’s Landscaping is the given name for the collaborative practice of Hyo-Jung Song (b. 1998, Philadelphia, U.S.) and Curtis Ho (b. 1998, Vancouver, Canada). The duo is primarily concerned with the wide-ranging implications of landscap(e/ing) – as colonial, masculine, imbricated with systems of power. Founded as a means of questioning individualist, proprietary notions of authorship, UBL has also become a vessel for speculative thinking on karaoke, gendered rituals and games, early political identity formation, and settler colonialism and foreign imperialism, particularly in the contexts of East Asia and its diasporas. Their research-guided practice typically takes form as large-scale ephemeral installations incorporating video, sculpture, and writing and publishing, inviting collaboration and social participation.
The personal and collaborative work and research of Hyo-Jung Song are entangled with Asian woman/objecthood, and its affinity to bodily abjection, Korean spirituality, sex work, and feminine networks of mutual care, while exploring their capacities to resist neoliberal modes of productivity and consumption. Song’s work frequently draws from personal experiences with and broader histories of colonial-religious influence on Korean societal ideas of shame, propriety, and economic mobility. Engaging with decaying material and fleeting sensory experiences that include scent and sound, Song is invested in destabilizing western, masculinist standards of object-making that demand permanence.
The personal and collaborative work and research of Curtis Ho often engages with the imbricated roles of storytelling, internet communities, sport, and violence in (East Asian, settler-colonizer, middle-class, masculine, immigrant) formations of class, race, and gender identification. Wary of narratives and technologies that reproduce neoliberal ideas of creativity, care, and identity politics, Ho is troubled by the oft-erased specter of downward mobility and disposability.
Ho and Song will receive their BFAs from Cornell University, Ithaca (2020), Song with minors in English, Visual Studies, and Asian American Studies. Each have been awarded the Department of Art Distinguished Achievement Award (2020), the Edith and Walter Stone Memorial Prize (2019), David R. Bean Prize (2018). Uncle Boy’s Landscaping received a Cornell Council for the Arts Grant (2019-2020) to research for an environment-responsive sound installation based on American mili-tourism in Korea’s Demilitarized Zone.