Outcome

Collaborative Art Work

The Tool Box

At the heart of the Lab lies the principle of antifragility. Inspired by Nassim Nicholas Taleb's concept, participants explored how diaspora communities not only survive, but thrive amidst adversity, transforming their experiences into sources of collective strength & resilience.
Art direction: Irvandy Syafruddin, Sam Kim & Siyu Mao

Info

Lab for Asian diaspora
artist-led initiatives
In 2023, Mutating Kinship Lab (MKL), a platform for Asian diaspora initiatives, focused on the post-pandemic audienceship by exploring Anti-Fragility and Brave Spaces, which promote critical discourse with white audiences. How can diasporic communities survive & thrive amidst adversity? How do we create an environment that supports the exploration of topics such as racism, tokenism, and more?

Venue

MKL-23-venue-grüntaler9-SW
grüntaler9
grüntaler9 is a space in Berlin dedicated solely to performance art. The space is focused not only on curating and hosting live performances but also deeply committed to generating platforms for collaborative processes of performative research. A strand of programming concerns itself with community building within the immediate neighbourhood (Wedding).

Funder

Fonds Darstellende Künste: 

Empowering Independent Performing Arts
For over 30 years, Fonds Darstellende Künste has played a pivotal role in shaping Germany's cultural landscape. As a prominent federal cultural fund, they have been champions of diverse and innovative projects within the independent performing arts community. Their initiatives cover a wide range of disciplines, including drama, music theatre, and dance, emphasizing inclusivity and creativity.

THE LAB

Ariel William Orah

Asarela Orchidia

Benazir Ibraimova

Dico Baskoro

Emma Lo

Hany Tea

Irvandy Syafruddin

Jasmin Schreiber

Marque-Lin

Ming Poon

Mooni Perry

Park Hye-in

Promona Sengupta

Siyu Mao

Umi Maisaroh

Mooni Perry

Storytelling

Dear A,
How have you been?

Through fictional love letters, Mooni Perry weaves diverse narratives from workshop participants with empathy and respect.

Emma Lo

Sonic Impressions

Fragility, anti-fragility, braveness
and brave space

Inspired by the profound practice of deep listening fostered by MKL, Emma Lo constructs an intimate auditory journey, offering a window into the collective imaginations and memories of those involved.

Park Hye-in, Siyu Mao

Mind-Mapping

Cultivating Dialogue:
An In-Depth Analysis of Cultural Concepts

Park Hye-in and Siyu Mao visualised fundamental concepts such as "anti-fragility," "brave space," and more on our dynamic map. Delve into workshop insights, sparking curiosity and fostering mutual growth.

Umi Maisaroh

Journal

Outset. Space. Home

Umi's journey challenges conventional ideas of home, highlighting the transformative power of embracing discomfort and connecting with diverse audiences in creating a brave, inclusive artistic space.

How can diasporic communities survive?

Racism? tokenism? anti-fragile? brave spaces

Background

The questions

How can diasporic communities survive & thrive amidst adversity?

How do we create an environment that supports the exploration of topics such as racism, tokenism, and more?

The pandemic was a pivotal turning point for Asian diaspora art initiatives to branch into different modes of connection with not only internal community stakeholders, but also our predominantly white audienceships. Pre-pandemic, we, as marginalized artists, were already able to withstand emergency conditions, but as Mutating Kinship Lab (MKL), a platform for Asian diaspora initiatives, we continued to explore the diverse topics developed in our previous lab. In this year’s lab, we focused on the post-pandemic white audienceship, through an “anti-fragile” framework and the concept of “brave spaces”.

At the heart of the Lab lies the principle of antifragility. Inspired by Nassim Nicholas Taleb's concept, participants explored how diaspora communities not only survive, but thrive amidst adversity, transforming their experiences into sources of collective strength & resilience.

Furthermore, the lab explored the concept of a brave space—a space that encouraged engagement with difficult and uncomfortable issues with white audiences. MKL participants shared their experiences, perspectives and strategies on creating an environment of trust and respect that would allow for the exploration of complex topics such as racism, tokenism, cultural fetishisation, appropriation, and more.

Workshop

The Participants

Concept, film and edit by Asarela Orchidia Dewi

Ariel William Orah

Hany Tea

Hanwen Zhang

Jasmin Schreiber

Benazir Ibraimova

Marque Pham

Ming Poon

Promona Sengupta

The tools

The tools

The tools

The tools

Concept by Mooni Perry | Art direction by Sam Kim | Illustration by Artificial intelligence

It was really nice to see you a few days ago. I wanted to talk more, but after your talk ended, many people seemed eager to converse with you, so I left early. Meeting too many people made me dizzy and tired. I‘m sorry for leaving without saying anything.

Among the things you said today, your comments about bravery keep echoing in my head, compelling me to write this letter. How courageous can a person be? Is the woman who migrated to Germany with no promises, but with hope for a better world, who works all day at a nail salon and moans in pain every night due to her aching shoulders, brave? Or is her daughter, who has grown up in this place and isn’t fully Korean or German, and lives in Germany, brave?

Is the person who throws everything away and starts anew brave, or is it the one who slogs through, silently preserving what they have, who‘s truly brave?

If I am not just a single point in time representing my current state but rather a ‘self’ that has accumulated stories/knowledge passed down from past generations, then under what circumstances can a ‘flat’state of ‘self’ without such accumulations become brave?

Or is that even possible?

Even Antigone, who knew she might die yet threw herself forth, wasn’t she able to do so because she wasn’t just an individual ‘I’, but an ‘I’ layered with relationships and ties to her family?

But can we say one is braver than another?

Having written this,
I realize I’ve poured out too many questions.

I miss you,
I‘ll wait for your reply.
B

About the artist

Mooni Perry is a visual artist based in Berlin and Seoul. In the past few years, she has been exploring the idea of "double-fallen" beings, individuals who do not belong to either A or B. In her recent artistic endeavours, she uses video as her medium and draws on research to create narratives that are intricately woven together in both vertical and horizontal planes. She is a co-founder of the research collective "Asian feminist Studio for Art and Research" (afsar).
In the 2nd edition of 'Mutating Kinship Lab' (MKL), Mooni Perry delves deeper into her role as both a storyteller and a mediator. This edition builds upon the themes of somatic experiences and anti-fragility, central to her initial work. Perry introduces a series of fictional love letters, drawing upon the rich and diverse stories shared by participants in the workshops. These letters encapsulate themes ranging from personal bravery to the nuanced complexities of language and identity across cultural divides.

Perry adopts an empathetic and considerate approach in her storytelling. She meticulously blends elements from real-life experiences of individuals from the workshop, ensuring integrity and respect for the original narratives. This process of creating derivative work is handled with care, acknowledging the personal and emotional depth of the stories shared.

At the core of Perry's work is a contemplation of archiving. In her role at MKL workshops, she reflects on capturing and preserving the essence of fleeting conversations and moments, steering away from traditional, rigid documentation methods. This approach aims to encapsulate the emotional resonance of the discussions, rather than simply their factual content. 'Mutating Kinship Lab' thus becomes more than just a collection of stories; it is a space where storytelling transcends mere narration, fostering connections and understanding.

Tool Nr. 2 — Sonic Impressions

Fragility,
anti-fragility,
braveness
and brave space

By Emma Lo

Emma Lo presents four sound essays on the sensorial experiences of the lab’s central themes of fragility/anti-fragility, braveness, and brave space. Lo invited the lab participants and team to respond to four prompts, and formed the sound essays from their responses, ambient and micro recordings of the lab, her personal archive, and acoustic and digital instrumentation. Inspired by how MKL facilitates deep listening, Lo presents an intimate patchwork of MKL’s collective imaginations and memories through sonic impressions.

02:12
Down at the dark, watery docks there are many boats tied up, rocking under the night sky. There, we listen for fragility. Is fragility inevitable—built into the design?

And what if…?

02:19
Our bodies contain many rhythms. In our bravery, these rhythms speed up, slow down, press themselves upon us. Between our breaths, beats, we can recognize that we are built to be brave.

breathing, beating

02:20
To be anti-fragile is to be flexible, adaptable, mutating. This piece reflects on transformation together, featuring a reading of the poem "대야미의 소녀_황야의 트랜스젠더" by 황병승 Hwang Byungsng.

sticking together/
transforming

05:32
Can we imagine a brave space together?
This piece gathers feelings, materials, foods, memories to bring these imaginings into the realm of sonic (sur)reality.

co-dreaming a brave space

About the artist

Emma Lo (she/her) is a writer, researcher, and artist based in Berlin. She is currently a doctoral researcher at the Freie Universität Berlin, and her practice focuses on the intersections of sound, technology, and diaspora.
In the realm of art and research, the concept of fragility and anti-fragility has sparked intriguing explorations into the dynamics of braveness and the creation of brave spaces. Emma Lo, a prominent figure in this field, presents a compelling body of work encapsulating these themes in a unique medium – sound essays. Lo's work stands as a testament to her innovative approach. She invited participants and the MKL team to respond to four thought-provoking prompts, using their insights and experiences as building blocks for her compositions. These sound essays are a captivating blend of ambient and micro recordings from the lab, personal archives, and both acoustic and digital instrumentation.Inspired by the profound practice of deep listening fostered by MKL, Emma Lo constructs an intimate auditory journey, offering a window into the collective imaginations and memories of those involved. It is a sensory exploration, meticulously capturing the essence of MKL and the thematic exploration of fragility, antifragility, braveness, and brave space.

This collaborative effort features sound and textual contributions from Mooni Perry, Park Hye-In, Marque-Lin Pham, Hanwen Zhang, Hany Tea, Benazir Ibraimova, and Ariel William Orah, enhancing the depth and diversity of the project. Notably, it includes a reading of the poem "대야미의 소녀_황야의 트랜스젠더" by 황병승 Hwang Byungsng, adding a poetic layer to this multifaceted exploration of sensory experiences.Lo's work exemplifies the rich potential of interdisciplinary research, where sound becomes a canvas for exploring and articulating complex ideas, fostering a deeper understanding of fragility, anti-fragility, braveness, and the creation of brave spaces in the context of MKL's collective journey.

Tool Nr. 3 — Mind-Mapping

Cultivating Dialogue:
An In-Depth Analysis of Cultural Concepts

Concept by Park Hye-in | Art direction by Siyu Mao

As readers traverse this visual landscape, they are not merely spectators; they are active participants in a profound intellectual odyssey. The map, a testament to the workshop's depth and breadth, fosters engagement, encourages critical thinking, and sparks conversations that extend beyond its borders. It embodies the essence of Mutating Kinship Lab, transforming abstract ideas into tangible, thought-provoking visual narratives, inviting readers to explore, question, and learn in a visually captivating and intellectually stimulating manner.

Park Hye-in, a distinguished Curator & Researcher, explores themes of tradition, modernity, and decolonization in East Asia, fostering dialogue and forging connections in transnational ventures. Siyu Mao, an innovative Graphic Designer based in Berlin, specializes in visual aesthetics within social contexts. Her expertise lies in crafting engaging visual narratives for cultural institutions, artists, and individuals, showcased through exhibitions, publications, branding, campaign design, and diverse international artistic projects, including design education initiatives.

About the artists

Park Hye-in (Curator & Researcher): As both a curator and researcher, she delves into themes surrounding tradition, modernity, and decolonization in East Asia. Her curatorial experience serves as a catalyst for fostering dialogue and forging connections in transnational endeavors.

Siyu Mao is a graphic designer, whose artistic and research interests focus on exploring visual aesthetics in social context. She develops visual narratives for cultural institutions, artists, and individuals. Based in Berlin, she collaborates internationally, with work ranging from exhibitions, publications, branding, and campaign design to independent projects and design education.
The collaborative endeavor between Park Hye-in and Siyu Mao has birthed a captivating and intellectually stimulating piece. Park Hye-in's profound exploration of East Asian themes, delving into the intricacies of tradition, modernity, and decolonization, is vividly manifested in the map. Drawing from her wealth of curatorial expertise, she skillfully crafts a visual narrative that not only encapsulates these themes but also acts as a catalyst for meaningful dialogue and transnational connections.

Siyu Mao, the creative force behind the map's design, brings her innovative approach to visual aesthetics in social contexts. Her extensive experience in collaborating with cultural institutions, artists, and individuals across the globe is evident in the map's vibrant and engaging design. Through exhibitions, publications, branding, campaign design, and various other artistic endeavors, Mao has seamlessly integrated her passion for artistic expression with her commitment to exploring diverse cultural narratives.

The map transcends traditional boundaries, serving as a dynamic canvas upon which essential concepts such as "anti-fragility," "brave space," "white audiences," "safe space," and "white institutions" are meticulously represented. These concepts, meticulously curated from workshop quotations and probing questions, transform into islands of intellectual exploration. Each island becomes a guiding beacon, inviting readers to embark on an enriching journey through the workshop's nuanced progression.

Within this intricately crafted map, readers are invited to immerse themselves in the depth of these concepts, encouraging thoughtful contemplation and profound insights. The symbolism embedded within each element of the map adds layers of meaning, sparking curiosity and prompting readers to delve deeper into the underlying themes. This collaborative creation not only educates but also ignites a passion for discovery, fostering a vibrant intellectual environment where diverse perspectives converge and flourish. As readers navigate the map, they are not merely spectators but active participants in a transformative exploration of ideas, fostering a sense of connection, understanding, and mutual growth.

Tool Nr. 4 — Journal

Outset. Space. Home

Concept and illustration by Umi Maisaroh | Art direction by Sam Kim

Umi Maisaroh, an Asian diaspora artist, shares her artistic journey at the MKL 2023 Workshop. Reflecting on her experiences, she emphasizes the importance of discomfort and white-audience engagement in creating a brave space. Discomfort, akin to training a muscle, fosters growth and resilience. Participants explore unique ideas like sauna performances, encouraging audiences to confront discomfort and embrace vulnerability.

About the artist

Umi Maisaroh, a dancer and author, holds a Bachelor's degree in Theater Sciences from the Indonesian Institute of the Arts and a Master's from the Free University of Berlin. Her work has been showcased, among others, at Tanz im August 2023.
White-audience engagement becomes vital, prompting artists to craft alluring invitations catering to diverse desires and aspirations. Umi's narrative delves into her own journey, blending personal experiences of solo travel and cultural adaptation. Through interactions in Germany, she discovers the shared humanity beneath surface differences, challenging traditional notions of home. Her story underscores the transformative power of embracing discomfort and connecting with diverse audiences, shaping a brave and inclusive artistic space.

The Lab 2023

A—Z

Ariel William Orah

Ariel William Orah is a Berlin-based Indonesian artist, community catalysator, and cultural practitioner. His main practices focus on diasporic socially engaged art creation and his research interests include social and climate injustice, as well as the trilogy of identity, memory, and scarcity.

Asarela Orchidia

Asarela Orchidia Dewi is an Indonesian filmmaker and visual artist based in Berlin. They received a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Design from HTW Berlin. Since 2017, Asarela has been a member of Soydivision Berlin.

Benazir Ibraimova

Benazir Ibraimova is a multidisciplinary artist, author, and member of Central Asian research group Davra Collective. She was born in 1995 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and currently based in Berlin. Benazir mainly works with graphic art, poetry, video art, and animation. Her practice revolves around ideas of poetic imagery, memory, existential crisis and the issues of woman and self-identity.

Dico Baskoro

Dico Baskoro is a highly imaginative video-maker and photographer with a solid six years of experience in media with making a variety of videos for a variety of industries. Strong passion for creating commercial / corporate production, documentaries, and short films.

Emma Lo

Emma Lo (she/her) is a writer, researcher, and artist based in Berlin. She is currently a doctoral researcher at the Freie Universität Berlin, and her practice focuses on the intersections of sound, technology, and diaspora.

Hanwen Zhang

Hanwen Zhang is an artist and researcher, she is interested in situated knowledge production and the formation of political subjectivity. Her work encompasses artistic research, filmic and dialogical practice to explore different modes of inter-mediated relations. She is a co-founder of the research collective “Asian feminist Studio for Art and Research” (afsar).

Hany Tea

Hany Tea is an interdisciplinary artist, activist, community organiser, and independent researcher. They use oral history storytelling, maps, and performance to actively involve communities in mapping their own narratives, memories, and historical landmarks. Their research and artistic practice center on exploring the intersections of diaspora, sound, urbanism, and the environment.

Irvandy Syafruddin

Irvandy Syafruddin (Creatives): His work primarily focuses on making positive changes for children and adolescents by creating spaces, activities, methods, or tools for creativity, curiosity, and playful learning.

Jasmin Schreibe

Jasmin Schreiber produces events and studies culture. In pre-pandemic Berlin, she co-founded the event series MSG and Friends. Moving to London in 2020 to pursue academia, she is now part of a hopefully ongoing exhibition series titled Suspension of Belief.

Marque-Lin

Marque-Lin is a multi-disciplinary Vietnamese-American theatre artist, academic and community organiser that works between the mediums of poetry, dance, performance, and sound. They founded MSG & Friends, a queer-led Berlin based artist collective that is independently organized to provide event opportunities and safer spaces for artists of Asian-heritage.

Ming Poon

Ming Poon works with applied choreography, using it as a tool to interrogate, disrupt and re-organise the social and political relationality of the body in time and space. He initiated Asian Performing Artists Lab (APAL) in 2020 as a platform for Berlin/Germany-based artists with asian background to connect, share and work together and is a founding member of United Networks, a non-profit organisation that aims to build a nation-wide network of marginalised BIPoC artists, cultural practitioners, activists and community organisers working with performing arts in Germany.

Mooni Perry

Mooni Perry is a visual artist based in Berlin and Seoul. In the past few years, she has been exploring the idea of “double-fallen” beings, individuals who do not belong to either A or B. In her recent artistic endeavors, she uses video as her medium and draws on research to create narratives that are intricately woven together in both vertical and horizontal planes. She is a co-founder of the research collective “Asian feminist Studio for Art and Research” (afsar).

Park Hye-in

Park Hye-in (Curator & Researcher): As both a curator and researcher, she delves into themes surrounding tradition, modernity, and decolonization in East Asia. Her curatorial experience serves as a catalyst for fostering dialogue.

Promona Sengupta

Promona Sengupta is an artist, academic, activist, and curator. She recently completed her PhD at the International Research Center: Interweaving Performance Cultures at the Freie Universität Berlin. Her creative practice engages with decolonial speculative imagination as a means for radical politics. She co-created and co-flies the deeep space exploration vehicle -- FLINTAQ+ Spaceship Beben, as its serving Captain and chef. She co-curates Radio Kal, as a part of the transoceanic longform artistic project kal, and was the resident artist at District Berlin in 2020.

Common Imprint (Sam Kim)

Common Imprint is a reading room project that presents over 400 independent publications from Asia. It aims to create a shared platform and laboratory for investigating publication-related disciplines from South- East– and East Asia.

Siyu Mao

Siyu Mao is a graphic designer, whose artistic and research interests focus on exploring visual aesthetics in social context. She develops visual narratives for cultural institutions, artists, and individuals. Based in Berlin, she collaborates internationally, with work ranging from exhibitions, publications, branding, and campaign design to independent projects and design education.

Umi Maisaroh

Umi Maisaroh, a dancer and author, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theater Sciences from the Indonesian Institute of the Arts and a Master’s from the Free University of Berlin. Her work has been showcased, among others, at Tanz im August 2023.

Interviewees

MAI LING - Verein zur Förderung von Zeitgenössischer,
asiatischer Kunst und Kultur
Enzo Camacho (ALPAS Pilipinas)
Sanchita Basu
Dandan Liu
Gulzat Matisakova
MyLoan Ding (Moving Poets)
Sarnt Utamachote (un.thai.tiled)
Arya Rinaldo (Eastern Margins)
Maximilian Kupi

Production

Ibrahim Mahfouz
Ghaliz Filkhair Haris
Morvarid Mirarab

Translation

Chandrika Yogarajah

Facilitator

Seyda Nur Günes

Special thanks to

Fonds Darstellende Künste e.V.

Welserstraße 10 — 12, 10777 Berlin

grüntaler9 e.V.

Grüntaler Str. 9, 13357 Berlin