Ideas Platform

Amy Suo Wu

22 Feb – 10 Mar 2019

Above: Amy Wu, 'Thunderclap', 2019, Ideas Platform, Artspace, Sydney. Photo: Artspace
43–51 Cowper Wharf Roadway
Woolloomooloo NSW 2011
Sydney Australia
Thursday, 21 February, 6–8pm

Part-shop, part-sewing workshop and part-exhibition, Amy Suo Wu’s Thunderclap premieres in Australia over the course of two weeks in Artspace’s Ideas Platform. Thunderclap employs steganography to publicly redistribute the erased work of Chinese anarcho-feminist He-Yin Zhen (1886–1920) through the medium of clothing accessories.

Steganography is the art and science of hiding in plain sight – a form of secret writing that disguises hidden information in public to evade surveillance, censorship and control. Thunderclap co-opts Shanzhai fashion, a Chinese phenomenon that features nonsense English together with QR code as a covert system to publish sensitive knowledge originally designed for a Chinese context. Wu’s ribbons and embroidered patches contain translated English quotes from He-Yin’s essays, nested around a QR code. When passersby scan this code they can download her original Chinese writing. The work takes advantage of the use of English as ornamentation in this context, staging the aestheticisation of a foreign language as a steganographic medium. In a similar way, the visual pervasiveness of the QR code inadvertently provides guileless cover for knowledge to spread.

Through the use of these ‘politically harmless’ accessories, knowledge of He-Yin – considered too radical in her lifetime – can circulate and her work can avoid further erasure from historical records. Embedding these contemporary textiles with quotes from largely forgotten feminist texts, Wu’s embodied publishing reinstates He-Yin’s writing back into the public arena.

Visitors can purchase Thunderclap accessories onsite and the artist will sew them onto items brought in from home, inviting us to embody He-Yin’s texts.

The artist will be in the Ideas Platform at the following times, be sure to bring your clothing items:

Thursday, 21 February 6–8pm

Saturday, 23 February 11am–4pm

Sunday, 24 February 11am–5pm

Saturday, 2 March 11am–5pm

Saturday, 9 March 11am–4pm

In the days Wu is not in the Ideas Platform she will be working in her mum’s shop, Jenny’s Alterations & Dry Cleaning, located at 323 Glebe Point Road. As the shop is a service- based business, the artist will be of service to her mum and be embedded in her daily routine to explore the embodied processes of service, intimacy, care and hospitality through actions of mending, healing, repairing, cleaning and alteration.
25 February – 1 March and 4–8 March, 9am–5pm

Thunderclap was originally developed at I: project space, Beijing. Its Australian presentation is supported by I: project space, the Feminist South project (Kelly Doley, Antonie Angerer and Anna Eschbach), Jenny's Alterations & Dry Cleaning and the Creative Industries Fund NL.

More information about the project: