What is my language? Why is it so hard for me to communicate my thoughts with others sometimes? What would my languages look like if they were just lines and shapes? And how would others interpret them if they perform as illegible forms? These are the questions that triggered my exploration and experiment in this exhibition. With the opportunity to show work in the “Glass Gallery,” I want to explore some of the non-traditional ways to have a conversation with others without verbal or written forms, on each side of the glass in the outer space of the gallery, in an asemic style*, through our hands and body movements, without any language barriers. 

Inside the gallery, like a paradox, I want to criticize how we are expected to formally, or informally present ourselves through written and spoken languages in the public domain today through digital media. The projection on the black wall shows a digitally animated “manifesto” I wrote in both English and Chinese, moving in a way that purposely does not allow the viewer to read or see it fully. For me, either of the two languages I speak or write gives me full freedom to express myself. The monitor shows a video titled Self Talk, a digitally designed “Instagram reel” of me reading and talking to the viewers in my native language, but there is no audio, or a correct transcript/translation, so what I really said remains unknown to the spectator—seemingly an act of refusal to communication, yet one that gives me true freedom of expression in a fictional, personalized, digital space. Both pieces should make the viewers question the meaning and authenticity of our communication today, especially within the digital filter of our technology and media culture. 

I want to tickle the multiple nuances hidden beneath our everyday activity and performance in the physical and digital world, even when we are trying to be authentic, our language, our social expectations of ourselves, and our technology sometimes draw us further from ourselves and what we truly want to communicate. However, even with the trauma of inefficient communication, I would think about the time when I encountered the Holy Spirit for the first time. The warped writing on the wall is asking questions while meditating on the voice that communicates beyond our language or any tools or technology, calling us to seek the truth in our broken communication systems, to find hope and liberation in a not-so-typical “conversation.”

*Asemic writing is writing that does not attempt to communicate any message other than its own nature as writing. (Peter Schwenger, Asemic The Art of Writing, Chapter 1 “What is Asemic Writing and Why”) 
In Conversation
Interactive and multi-media installaion, 2/09-3/08/2024
Shown at the “glass gallery”, Department of Art and Design, Messiah University

esearch and

In Conversation
video documentation, 2/09-3/08/2024
Shown at the “glass gallery”, Department of Art and Design, Messiah University

Video Do

Communicating anxieties to those around us is difficult given the complex nature of our feelings. While the specifics of these feelings may vary, people are bound by the limitations of language from being able to fully communicate complex feelings. Our Kohler fellow project aims to explore these ideas through an animated short. The animation aims to make the audience think about language, and infer meaning from the movement of hand drawn shapes and figures. It is an age-old scientific question about how humans convey meaning to each other. The oldest forms of graphical media of communication are cave paintings that predate any record of written language by centuries. While language may have developed to be an extremely complex system via which we communicate, is there something fundamental about human thought that can be better expressed through images, specifically moving images? We want to communicate these questions to our audiences through a visual, physical, and evocative expression.
“How Are You Feeling?”
Animated Short, 2021
Collaborated with Kushin Mukherjee (research) and Michelle Ramos (dance)
Produced and funded by the Marie Christine Kohler Fellows program under the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery’s Illuminating Discovery Hub
Research and 



Fire(火-huo) as a material, and spiritual, which is the character my family use to represent our family name Huo (霍).

Red (红-hong) is a color of fire, blood, love, and affection. It’s the color that embedded in my given name Hong ( 弘).

Flower (花-hua) is a symbol and metaphor for the female body and feminine feelings. It’s the primary inspiration for the visuals and movements created in this exhibition—H.

Fire and red are the components of my name, which also unveil the true essence of who I am.

Flower is the literal and metaphorical meaning of my art and my female body with temporal quality. As someone living in-between overlapping layers of diverse cultures, religions, and social systems, I’m always searching for a visually inventive and authentic expression to narrate my personal mythology as a Chinese, Christian female in a physical  and emotional sanctuary.

The double layering effects created by projection on sheer fabric, as a visual parallel to the double images of self. Dancers as my imaginary selves, the dualism of body and soul becomes unified in one space. The stories from two literatures become unified as one visual experience.

I tend to create my own sacred space to ritualize the materiality of my animation process, using a diverse body of materials such as ink, paper, and neon light, and various methods of hand-drawn and digital animation, live camera projection, and performance, to connect myself to a deeper reality and imagination based on the influences of the two classic literatures, but to also evoke emotional responses and movements from other bodies.

I wanted to say ‘as fire can also be gentle, warm and bring light to those that are in darkness’, but realizing the importance is to actually bring darkness into the light.

Offering of Spirit 赋灵

Performance: collaboration with dancers Tye Trondson and Akiwele Burayidi

An animation’s ‘Spirit-offering Ceremony’ (动画的赋灵仪式-term borrowed from Chinese animation scholar Liu Shuliang) created on-site using my idea ‘animation as performance’. Dancers as my imagined bodies and doubles of self. Spirit-offering as an action to empower the female body from fictional world o reality. A way to ritualize my animation process in a theatrical setting.


Garments: red and pink silk organza fabric
Red garment wore by artist is inspired by the aethetic from Dream of the Red Chamber, and the Old Testament priestly garment.
Pink garments for dancers are inspired by the overall aethetics of the whole exhibition, especially the animation Garden of Red.
Co-designed and made by Han-Ah Yoo.

Jewelry: brass, beads, artificial pearls
Necklace made from character 灵(spirit), separated into three parts, unified in one, as the three-in-one God. Inspired by both Jia Baoyu’s precious stone necklace from the Dream of the Red Chamber (also named Story of the Stone), and the breastplate with the 12 stones (the 12 tribes of Isralites parrallels with the 12 beauties from Dream of the Red Chamber) an Old Testament priest would wear within the tabernacle performing a sacrifice ceremony to God.
Co-designed with and made by Xinchen Li.

Started from a personal experience of emotional isolation and time of despair.Made from live-action footage of the artist performing. Through tracing the bodily gestures frame by frame, the affect of female desire, beauty, and pain is being unveiled with the material of ink.

Meditation and primary inspiration from the book of Ezekiel in Old Testament Bible, where God, as a man, adopted the nation of Israel, represented as an abandoned girl found in blood. Even such an image is used to provide understanding of the protection and love of God toward His chosen people, the graphic dipiction of the female body lingers within me with unspoken feelings.

Empathizing with the women, with or without names, who suffered various degree of abuse and sexual violence from Old Testament by Phylis Trible’s Texts of Terror. Most interestingly, one of central themes from Dream of the Red Chamber is to evoke empathy toward the tragic destiny of all women through the 12 main female characters (金陵十二钗).

Connecting to the current mystery of the chained woman found in a rural village in eastern Jiangsu province China, which sparked public outrage about human trafficking in China. The reality and terror of the female experience from these seemingly fictional characters is still haunting us all today.

This piece is to mourn, grief, remember, and walk with those who have been ongoing martyrs to the progression of our society, unrecognized sacrifice to our historiy.
Pit of Blood 血窟
red ink, rotoscope, hand-drawn frame by frame, with sound, projected on floor

An ink garden of imagination and fantasy that is inspired by the idea of 大观园(Garden of the Grand View) in Dream of the Red Chamber, a sanctuary and a heterotopia for the female bodies in a passed time of joy and sorrow. Emphasizing through the female protagnist Lin Daiyu, adopted by her relatives after losing both parents. The poem she made while burrying the fallen flowers in the garden, 葬花吟 (Song of the Burial of Flowers) sees flowers as metaphors of female bodies. The question Daiyu asked in this poem-天尽头,何处有香丘?( Where is the land of rest for the flowers beyond the end of the sky?) is timeless. The dream to be transformed to a bettter place, the longing to find an eternal home of rest, is a myth for all humanity.

As an important symbol in the Biblical narrative, the garden marks the beginning and end of the unified kingdom of heaven and earth.

All drawings are hand-drawn with ink on paper, reference from The Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden. Then composed digitally in Adobe Photoshop and animated in After Effects within 2.5D space with a virtual camera.

According to Janpanese scholar Akiko Sugawa, ‘2.5-dimensional’ culture is a cultura practice in-between of the fictional 2-dimensional world and the realistic three-dimensional world. To me, the making of this animation is not only a product of animated ink drawing, but also a process of exploration in a fictional world of reality. A reality lays in-between my cultural and spiritual identity.
Garden of Red 红园
Ink on paper, digital 2.5D animation, projected on layers of sheer organza fabric

A sign/signature/stamp of an invented character representing my name霍弘,

being embedded within the ancient character of 神(god) wrote with red ink. Neon is a unique craft that involves process of melting glass by fire.

Inspired by how all humanity is made in God’s image from the Book of Genesis.
Image of God 神象
neon, ink, plexiglass

A collection of early thoughts of combining writings from multiple sources into a book. A visual catalyst to my vision toward this exhibition, with its material, aethetic, and approach in performing as a animating.

Placed in a found jewlry box, which is inspired by the lost tradition of Chinese women using their own jewlry box as an altart for their daily devotion of spirituality.

A sacred object in the ritualized event.
Book of Red 红之书
Mix media artist book with writings, ink drawing, printed photographs, and stiches of threads.

During the isolation of the 2020 global pandemic, I started a new body of work called Strange Dwelling, where I blow the mixture of ink and soap water into bubbles to create spontaneous images with abstract ink drawing on various surfaces. In my MA show Flow (2021), I created a multimedia installation using the digitally animated ink drawings to create an immersive space that exists in multiple layers of time, for me to find serendipity through the mark-making process on site as presence, with the ready-made animation being projected as the past. Through the presence of the bodies, the reality of both past and presence of my existence become unified. This is to me a process of physically giving life through my own breath, gestures, and body movements.
Strange Dwelling/异居图: Flow/浮游
multimedia installation and performance

Ink drawings:


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