Jennifer Chia-ling Ho 何珈寧
I am a Taiwanese interdisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, NY. My practice responds to my linguistic and cultural displacement as a first-generation immigrant. Living in the US and Canada for the past 6 years, I’m frequently reminded of my identity as a Taiwanese, a foreigner, and a nonnative because of my inability to speak ‘perfect’ English and my ‘foreign’ accent. The production and pronunciation of a simple ‘How are you?’ weighs much more heavily than the meaning of this casual greeting in a racially conscious society. I’m interested in the racial, cultural, and social power dynamics that language enacts. My work considers identity’s uncertainty and performativity in immigrants and foreigners.
Coming from a research background, I often reference philosophical and linguistic concepts and research findings as the foundation of my works, while observing how they are embedded in the everyday life. I attend to the systems, hierarchies, structures, and taxonomies of my surroundings. My work exists in a state of constantly processing information and searching for connections and belongings, as seen in its abstracted, fragmented, and obscured form.
My work interrogates cultural histories and reconstructs a new interpretation that includes the cultural spaces that may have been overlooked. My method often involves extracting, rearranging, and manipulating found images, texts, and footage that refer to cultural-specific context or knowledge. I consider the issues of translation, mistranslation, and lost-in-translation; the symbolism of these materials is culturally dependent and mediated, and provides different viewing experiences in different cultural contexts. I use reflective materials such as mirrors or plexiglass to invite viewers to participate in this reflecting process physically and intellectually.