Art Installation Exhibition Karmic II Opens July 30 at Jack Straw Cultural Center, Challenging Anti-Asian Hate

Seattle, WA, USA,2021-Aug-09 — /EPR Network/ — Jack Straw Cultural Center of Seattle, WA presents a new exhibition by artist May Maylisa Cat, Karmic II (2021), a multi-media and multi-screen art installation. This exhibition will run July 30 through September 10, and will feature an Artist Talk at 7:00 PM on August 13. More information about the exhibition and a virtual opening can be found at: Register for the Artist Talk in advance and you will receive a confirmation email with further information here:

Karmic II takes many of the horrors of 2020 and 2021 and blends them into an audiovisual installation meant to make us reconsider and challenge our own psychological perceptions of the world. Inspired by Southeast Asian horror movies and ‘90s TV drama of the ghost Phi Krasue, the artist investigates what exactly creates “a monster,” and what psychological and social control they enforce through sonic elements and performance. Karmic II is a continuation of a New Media Fellowship project and immersive installation, Karmic I, exhibited at Open Signal in 2019 in Portland, OR. 

In 2020, racialized terms such as the “Kung Flu” and “Chinese Virus” incited a surge of anti-Asian xenophobia experienced across the United States. This led to an escalation of instances of brutal hate crimes toward Asian communities, including the 2021 Atlanta Spa Shooting in which six Asian women were murdered in their place of work. The gunman later blamed his sex addiction, particularly toward Asian women, for his violence against them and pleaded guilty. In the Karmic II exhibition, the artist highlights the persistent brutalization of Asian women. “I hope to raise awareness and dismantle these harmful [racist] ideas,” says the artist about her new exhibit. She was able to “examine the thin line between desire and fear,” particularly in relation to how Asians, and primarily Asian women, are seen in society. Utilizing a complex range of audiovisual approaches, Cat scrutinizes Western media and hyper-capitalist entertainment through a lens of white sexual imperialism, feminist jurisprudence, and critical race theory to explore the attitudes that contribute to these issues.

Works within the exhibition include Transfer Fear: Superimposing Vintage Horror Movie Posters on Vintage Adult Magazines for Shadow Puppets and Horror & Its Uni Verse. The former uses a laser cut out superimposing vintage horror movie posters onto Vintage Adult Magazines to explore the fear and desire for Asian bodies in media and entertainment. The latter employs horror conventions and glitch with audio and video projections to critique online monetization and capitalism from the perspective of a scene that is incredibly reminiscent of the COVID-19 era.

May Maylisa Cat was awarded the Jack Straw New Media Gallery residency, which offers up to three artists/artist teams in the Pacific Northwest the opportunity to create and present work involving sound and technology. Gallery residencies include an exhibition; 20 hours of audio engineering and studio assistance; access to audio recording, production, and presentation equipment; two public events – the opening and an artist talk; and an interview podcast (

This exhibit is supported in part by funds from the Oregon Arts Commission. 

About May Maylisa Cat: May Maylisa Cat is a multidisciplinary artist whose work spans new media, performance art, sculpture, and installation. Her projects have received support from The Franklin Furnace Fund; Precipice Fund; Oregon Arts Commission; and Regional Arts and Culture Council of Portland.

Recent exhibitions include Karmic II, Jack Straw Cultural Center, Seattle, WA, 2021; GLEAN, Oregon Center for Contemporary Art, Portland, OR, 2020; and Karmic I, a multi-screen immersive installation at Open Signal, Portland, OR, 2019. Residencies include: Chautauqua Visual Arts, Santa Fe Art Institute, Fountainhead Residency, Wassaic Project, Caldera Arts, Stelo Arts, Pilchuck Glass School, and many others. She has spoken as a guest lecturer for Carnegie Mellon University School of Fine Art in Pittsburgh, PA; Yale School of Art in New Haven, CT; and Cooper Union in New York, NY. She is based in Portland, OR.

About Jack Straw Cultural Center: Jack Straw Cultural Center is the Northwest’s only non-profit multidisciplinary audio arts center. A community-based resource since 1962, it provides a production facility that is unlike any other in the region for local artists who work creatively with sound. Jack Straw focuses on annual artist residencies through their Artist Support Program, their Writers Program, and their Gallery Residency Program; art and technology education for all ages; arts and heritage partnerships; and radio and podcast production. Their full-service recording studio is also available for a range of arts projects.

Visits to Jack Straw Cultural Center are by appointment. Contact information here:
(206) 634-0919
Jack Straw New Media Gallery
261 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105

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