Polluta Scholarly Catalogue
over 100 pages of
“Dressed in uniform—dark green jacket and pants, a stripped down version of a Mao uniform, with a striking yet familiar red cap—Michelle Kuen Suet Fung paces slowly among the visitors to her exhibit at Pro Arts Gallery in Downtown Oakland. Having already examined the paintings and woodblock prints—a glimpse into the artist’s fanciful yet disturbing world of Polluta—the visitors are now seated in a circle, ready for the interactive portion of the exhibit, which begins with the Polluta entrance interview. Fung’s first question pulls no punches.
The primary method of delivering goods to Polluta—that of the flying elephant—has resulted in a surplus of flying elephant dung. What, she asks of the hopeful interviewee, would they propose be done with this excess waste? The interviewee does not hold back either.
With a slight laugh, they respond, “We eat it?” The barely perceptible hint of a question mark is a counterbalance to the otherwise audacious, though not inappropriate, response. The interviewee is granted immediate citizenship by the ecstatic Fung: the response, at once disturbing and humorous, is utterly in keeping with the logic of Fung’s world, where waste and commodity are rendered equivalent.
excerpt from "Polluta and Anti-Kitsch"
Steven Lee, Associate Professor, The Department of English, UC Berkeley
Inessa Gelfenboym, PhD, Literature and Culture, the University of Southern California"
In 2084, has solved its pollution
problem with plan Polluta. Under this plan, air pollution is condensed into building bricks, which are used to build arcologies called , floating green vibrant live/work colonies for artists!
can live, work and show for free, forever!
It sounds too good to be true. It is.
"Michelle Kuen Suet Fung’s Polluta blurs the boundary between whimsy and dystopia, as familiar symbols of the interconnected global network we live in and its abundant resources are punctuated by surreal images of environmental degradation, and suggestive slogans hint at an uncertain future.
Fung’s medium of choice—woodblock print in the form of propaganda poster—highlights the uneasy bond between seemingly disparate elements. Are cheerful mottoes used to uplift the masses, or do they serve a more sinister purpose, as the enigmatic visual elements of   Polluta intimate?
[...] Polluta reflects a universal, growing concern with the role of humans in the shaping of their environment, and heightened consciousness about the Anthropocene and planetary conditions. In its exploration of these themes, Polluta is reminiscent of modern and contemporary literature about lands real and unreal.
excerpt from “Imagining a New World in Michelle Kuen Suet Fung’s Polluta”
Angie Chau, Assistant Professor,
Department of Pacific and Asian Studies, University of Victoria
Following the popular exhibition “Polluta, Floating Artist Colony in the Sky” in summer 2018, the artist was proud to publish this catalogue that not only documents the exhibition but expands the narrative and launched it at Pro Arts, Oakland, CA, USA.
The catalogue features over one hundred pages of photographic reproduction and backstories of the Polluta,an in-depth artist interview and three scholarly essays to shed new light on her works, all specifically written for the book. The book also features many new images the artist created especially for the book, including a pull-out imaginary map, presenting all five imaginary countries in her grand narrative of the year 2084.
Contributing scholars include:
Executive Director. Pro Arts & Commons, Oakland, CA, USA.
Associate Professor. Department of English. University of California, Berkeley. USA.
PhD from University of Southern California. USA.
Adjunct Assstant Professor. Department of Management. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Hong Kong.
Former Stanford University Koret Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor, Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University. USA.
Assistant Professor. Pacific and Asian Studies, The University of Victoria, Canada.
The catalogue was funded by generous Kickstarter donors and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.
"While the opposite of truth may appear to be falsehood, it is actually untruth. Just as undeath has the appearance of life, untruth has the appearance of truth. How are we to distinguish truth from untruth? According to lore and legend, the undead leave no reflection on a mirror, enabling humans to distinguish them from the living. Fung’s paintings function in a similar way, using the whimsical and ridiculous to filter out untruths so that they reflect only truth."
excerpt from "Polluta as The Mirror of Truth"
Joon Nak Choi, Professor, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
The catalogue is in the following public library collections:
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong
Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong
Oakland Public Library, CA, USA
UC Berkeley, USA
The University of British Columbia, Canada
The University of Victoria, Canada
and the following private library collections:
Firstdraft Gallery, Sydney, Australia
Kala Art Institute, USA
Pro Arts Gallery, Oakland, CA, USA
Recology Residency, San Francisco, USA