About Chewing monster

Chewing is the first step in digestion, an intimate act in which what is alien to our physical bodies is internalized and incorporated. This act could also metaphorically apply to the process of conceiving and pondering intellectual concepts. “Monster,” derived from the Latin monstrum, meaning “portent and the unnatural,” usually emerges from the ether of fantasy, fear, and, many times, the unknown. Therefore, the expression “chewing monster” bestows a concrete form upon the embracement of the unknown, which has been an overarching topic of the previous practices of HE Wei, the Art Director of the exhibition and co-founder of HE+HU Creative Collective, the predecessor of Chewing Theory.

Chewing Monster, through the intimate act of chewing, attempts to bring forward an unconventional tale of “interspecies romance,” a theme that has been integral to many cultures for centuries but purposefully suppressed or altered in recent decades to make less “creepy.” In both Western and Eastern mythologies and folklores, humankind’s commingling with monsters, beasts, and shape-shifting gods is part of human heritage. The recent revival of monstrous aesthetics, that is, the latest Oscar winner, The Shape of Water, and Gucci’s recent “cross-species” collection, had transcended those ancient stories and proposed a way humans situate themselves in a post-human stage where what is non-human and beyond human acquires increasing legitimacy. Chewing Monster, following the same strain, addresses this question by inviting visitors to take on a “visceral encounter” with what can seem atypical, anomalous, or flawed to a normalizing eye. Additionally, the exhibition discusses another layer aligned with the post-human era: the digital domains of contemporary life where our input of information is constantly consumed and absorbed by an invisible “monster,” usually referred as a hidden virtual host or a main engine in real life, while we, in turn, count on the feedback it produces to construct our self-image, social status, and networks in both virtual and physical worlds. Of course, it sounds terrifying to be dissolved into the vast outside world of data and code. However, the symbiosis between humankind and the cybernetic, also a relationship this pop-up mainly portrays, gradually seems to be becoming an inevitable trend. There might always be more curiosity and excitement than fears as we face the alluring world of the unexplored.


Art Director: HE Wei

Executive Director: Tommy Chen

Technical Director: Debbie Zeng

Project Manager: Yangxingyue Wang

Senior Engineer: Rishi Zhao

Technical Team: Chris Hu | Chun Wang | Lingping Zeng

Fiber Designer Duo: Dili Zhu | Lei Li

Space Design: Afoam

Graphic Designer: Annnj | Xiaojie Yang | Zenghui Lin

Media Strategist (U.S.): Judy Cai

Media Strategist (China): Yiwei Zhang

Advisor: Sherry Tao | Wenrui Fan | Peng Zhang

Photography: RV Studio

Video: EI Studio

Project Assistant: Meihan Guo | Chuqi Wang

Time: June 14 –June 24, 2018

Opening: June 14, 2018, 6pm -9pm

Press and VIP: June 14, 2018, 3pm-6pm

Venue: Red Brick Space, Lower East Side, 198 allen street, NY, NY, 10002