Seeing Color is a podcast that talks with cultural workers and artists of color in order to expand the area of what is a predominantly white space in the arts. With discussions shifting between art and race, Zhiwan Cheung hashes out with guests a range of topics about the creative process in a white-dominated art world.
Episode 56: Choreography and Ghosts (w/ Yon Natalie Mik)
Hi everyone. I hope you are safe wherever you are. I am currently back in Zhuhai and settling down. I still have quite a lot to do such as unpacking and getting a multi-entry visa but otherwise, after four COVID nasal tests and two anti-body tests, I am out of quarantine. Life feels strangely normal and post-COVID here with China having essentially tested everyone and closed its borders to the world. I hope with all the news on the vaccine that the world can open up soon. We shall see. But for today, I am interview Yon Natalie Mik, an experimental dancer and researcher who works at the intersection of dance, performance studies, and ethnology. Natalie began her dance career studying classical ballet before branching out to other dance forms and disciplines. Currently, Natalie is pursuing her Ph.D on choreography and ghosts in contemporary transnational Asian performance. I met Natalie during my time in Berlin and even saw two of her performances, but I did not have a chance to interview her until recently over zoom. The sound quality is not the best, but hopefully it isn't too distracting. We chat quite a bit about Natalie's early life and path through dance, Asian studies in Germany, teeth blackening, and Asian squats. I hope you enjoy this.
Episode 55: Vulnerability Will Connect You (w/ Marcus Scott Williams)
Hey everyone. It has definitely been a crazy week and it seems things are turning out ok. It was four days of election news and uncertainty, but there is some sort of clarity now. I feel some kind of hope, in spite of 70 million Americans voting for an outright racist. With the bar so low, it seems the situation can more likely get better. I partially didn't release an episode last week because of the timing, but also I was in the middle of flying back into China. I was a bit stressed out with the whole ordeal of getting the all the proper documents, visas, COVID tests, and jet lag. At the moment, I am currently in Xiamen and day six of hotel quarantine. In addition to the COVID test I had to take in order to board the airline, I received another COVID test upon landing, before being directly shuttled to a hotel where will be tested for again before I leave. After that, I can travel back to Zhuhai and around China.
So anyway. Enough about me. For today on the podcast, I am interviewing Marcus Scott Williams, a writer I met last winter at Vermont Studio Center. I can't believe it has been almost a whole year since that residency and right before the whole pandemic started. I spent a lot of time with Marcus that snowy January and even did my first stick and poke for him. Before our interview, I read Marcus's last book, Sparse Black Whimsy, and found it to be a smooth stream of consciousness mixed with poetic examinations that are both playful and thrilling. I've linked the book in the episode descriptions if you are interested. Marcus had a long and winding path to get to where he is today, which we chat about, along with vulnerability, questioning the need to be right all the time, and paying attention to the minor details in life. I hope you enjoy this.
Episode 54: Two Years Anniversary #3 (w/ Carol Zou)
Hey y'all. I hope your week is going well. This is the last episode where I revisit a previous guest to cap off my two year anniversary of this podcast. Sometimes, I wonder who I am celebrating this with and who is listening, but for those of you out there, I hope this is bringing some moments of joy. Anyway, I talked with Tereneh Idia and Justin Favela for the past two episodes and you can check those out as well if you missed them. For this week, I have my good friend, Carol Zou, someone who I have known for over a decade. Carol's work facilitates creative social change projects with a focus on racial justice, informal labor, and public space. Informing a lot of Carol's work is the belief that we are most free when we help others get free. I was able to catch up with Carol late at night and we talk over some drinks through zoom, which the sound quality leaves much to be desired. I did my best to clean it up, but hopefully you can bare with it. Our chat is informal, which is to say a bit all over the place, and we discuss motorcycles, being rooted in place, Chinese congee recipes, and how to spend your time at art residencies. I hope you enjoy this.
Episode 53: Two Years Anniversary #2 (w/ Justin Favela)
Hey everyone. Thanks for tuning in to round 2 of the special two-year anniversary edition where I revisit three past guest of the show. Last week, I talked with Tereneh Idia, an internationally based fashion designer, which if you haven't listened to yet, go check it out. But for this week, I am chatting with Justin Favela, an artist known for his colorful large-scale installations and sculptures that manifest his interactions with American pop culture and the Latinx experience. In 2018, Justin won the Alan Turing LGTBIQ Award. He also hosts two culture-oriented podcasts, "Latinos Who Lunch" and "The Art People Podcast." I met Justin 3 years ago and have maintained a close long-distance friendship with him since. Hopefully you can hear our familiarity with each other in our banter as we chat about José María Velasco, performance art, working for Hollywood, and finding a ranch for the future. Justin also inspired me to create this podcast, so visiting him again on the two year anniversary seemed important as we reflect on both the past and present. I have got one last special guest for next weeks episode. Until then, I hope you enjoy this.
Episode 52: Two Years Anniversary #1 (w/ Tereneh Idia)
Hey everyone. I hope you are well. The news is going more crazy with each passing day, although I think we have a new definition for the words karma and irony in relation to the current US state of affairs. I finally got my mail-in-ballet, which I quickly filled out and dropped off at my local town hall, so that is out of the way. I did get information about my returning to China, although it is a national Chinese holiday this week so everyone is on vacation and the instructions for renewing work visas are still very unclear. So more waiting around, as has been the case for everyone.
But for today I am doing something different to celebrate the fact that somehow I have been doing this podcast for 2 years. So for the next three episodes, which I will be releasing every week as opposed to bi-weekly, I will be revisiting three special guests from earlier episodes. For this week's episode, I will be chatting with Tereneh Idia, who I first talked to in Episode 8, which I will link in the show notes. As a quick overview, Tereneh was born and raised in Pittsburgh and is an internationally based fashion designer and founder of Idia'Dega. She also has a bi-weekly column for the Pittsburgh City Paper, which she recently won a Golden Quill award for Excellence in Written Journalism. This podcast had its most concrete beginnings in Pittsburgh and I thought it would be good to be able to chat with Tereneh about recent events in relationship to Pittsburgh, a city which I hold close to my heart. We also talk about some of current events, zoom meetings, protests, monuments, and so much more. Again, thank you to everyone who continues to listen to my rambling thoughts and I hope you enjoy this.
Episode 51: I Am Not A Fortune Cookie (w/ Vicky Truong)
Hey everyone. I hope you are all doing ok. The recent passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is bringing up a lot of complicated feelings for me, as I am sure it is for many people. Of course, we must remember the shift in power in the Supreme Court is just one of many things that has been failing over the course of US democracy. It means come this November, voting for the US elections is important, but so are all the local elections and difficult discussions about what it means to exist on this planet where we are all entangled with each other. Yeah...I just don't know. Yeah.
Anyway, for this week, I am returning to an older recording I did with Vicky Truong while I was living in Berlin over a year ago. Born in Australia, raised by a half Chinese-Teochew half Vietnamese father, and a half Chinese-Teochew (ti-jiu) half Thai mother, Vicky grew up with an abundance of different cuisines and cultures. She lived in France for three years where she worked in the Fashion Industry before moving to Berlin working as a teacher, activist, and artist. I met Vicky through a few Asian diaspora centered events where I learned more about the work Vicky was doing. Vicky started Rice is Life, a project celebrating Chinese Teochew, Vietnamese, Thai and Australian foods. Vicky also leads a diversity and inclusion workshop series called Eye to Eye, which we talk about in our conversation. We also chat about her growing up in Australia, appreciating our cultural heritage, and how an unfortunate event at Berlin Art Week helped lead her to the work she does today. Listening to this brought back many memories to my time in Berlin and how far away it seems now. In any case, as always, stay safe, stay healthy, and please vote this November.
Customer ReviewsSee All
One of the best art podcast out there.
Finally, the art podcast I have been waiting for. I was so tired I only listening to white men talk about art. This show is enlightening and refreshing. Thank you, Zhiwan.
Thoughtful and reflective!
Great host and interviewees!
Great work Zhiwan!! Thank you!
From conversations that this artist has with other artists of color I learned that the challenges and the lack of representation I encountered in college, I did not actually face alone, and although unfortunate, it is very powerful. Zhiwan exposes his audience to artists, curators, and art producers who are paving the WAYS for artist minorities and for that I’m very grateful. Shoutout to episode 26, 18, and 12! After picking a couple of favorites I’m excited to listen to a couple of opuses I haven’t heard in a while!