Hyperbuoyant Starch


Dimensions variable(video: 8:30 minutes, looped)

Glass, mirror, LED light, paper, clay, fabric, epoxy, paint, magnet, foam, wood, plaster, sand, dye, projector, battery

Stella Zhong

Exit Text A Log Close
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A Log: Hyperbuoyant Starch

0:44: Rover and hover. Copy from Draco. -------------------- OMG, our space is being infiltrated by an unknown entity! Look how weird it is, it’s so, like, brown-ish and flat. It’s so creepy! TFW you feel like you’re being stalked.

1:10: 15h 15m 53.8s, +56° 19′ 44.″ Entering Splinter. 1

1:18: Birth within mirth, forms within morphs. Take note.

3:08: Exit and re-enter in 100ke .2 ---------------------------- Fam, fam, come on. We gotta do something. It was just chilling and now it’s whirling around again, like it thinks it’s some alien. Big yikes!!!

: Huh, how now, thee gets heavier and heavier as I hoist thee up. Prithee, I couldn’t do this anymore, nay, I shan’t.

: By my troth, this is the last one. I suppose her heart desires just one more take on her fancy device.

: Ha! As good luck would have it.

4:18: Find Splinter again. ------------------------------------- Oh look! It’s standing still again, but now…wait a moment, it just turned into a mirror! We can see ourselves. Lol. We stan. Yes, no, I’m being serious. We stan ourselves.

4:19: Error. Error. False entry. 3

5:34: Successful exit. Review cause of mistake.

(Text by Adela Kim)


[1] 60491ACA: It trembles and fumbles about—all but blurring my vision. It’s too close, yet too unknown. That nagging feeling inside me grows: it’s a weight that cannot be shaken off, like thick, gluey syrup that stubbornly sticks onto my teeth.

[2] 60491E56: Such choreography from the grey rocks; yet there is something unsettling here, almost as if they are bidding their hellos and adieus at the same time. Could they be CGI-created? They must be—too smooth, too slick to not be.

[3] 6049201B: The light coming through the hole, it both beckons and obscures. As if a surveillance technology is towering above me, and there is no alternative but to be seen and controlled.

60492162: Could this be the end? Yet again that sneaking suspicion emerges—that everything, the supposed closure, is just an illusion. This contraption might not even let me out—holding me here within its nook and cranny, until it has decided that it’s time.

My definition of techno-house is a shrimp

The cover artwork of Susumu Yokota’s bewitching acid techno album Zen (1994, released under the pseudonym Ebi) features a flat, blue cartoon of a shrimp. Parts of the shrimp are annotated as if they are elements of an electronic drum pattern—hi hat, snare, clap, bass drum, et cetera. Above this is written: “my definition of techno-house is a shrimp.”

Yokota’s dreamlike logic came to mind as Stella Zhong introduced me to her multipart installation Hyperbuoyant Starch (2021). In this, Zhong makes unlikely connections: she defines a pavilion as a potato chip, a levitating disk as a pancake, and the gap between two walls as a stubby grain of rice. For Zhong, space is a starchy material.

Hyperbuoyant Starch seeks a sculptural language for derealization. Zhong has labored to negate the gallery by constructing a large, immersive container. A beautiful bay of dyed sand surrounds the structure. These elements detach the installation from its immediate environment, creating a psycho-spatial distancing effect that subtly displaces the viewer.

Zhong’s unwieldy object resists compartmentalization. The installation is by turns theatrical, architectural, and sculptural. Like a pearl in an oyster, at its center is an intimate, hidden cinema. Lying on the floor—head angled upon a firm, unfamiliar pillow—visitors can watch a looping, eight-minute-long video. Audio hums from the speakers of a portable projector encased in a grainy epoxy shell. This soundscape resonates as a spatial experience in a manner that further recalls acid techno: external space merges with interior feeling.

Dissociation can be hard to describe. Playing into this, Hyperbuoyant Starch probes a suspended sensorium. I’m listening to Zen as I type these words. I’m eating rice with my eyes on my computer screen. The starch, as I swallow it, grounds me in my body. I am hyperbuoyant, shrimplike. Yokota was onto something.

(Text by Harry Burke)