Saya Woolfalk (Japan, 1979) is a New York based artist who uses science fiction and fantasy to re-imagine the world in multiple dimensions. She has exhibited at PS1/MoMA; Deitch Projects; Contemporary Art Museum, Houston; Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati; the Brooklyn Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Studio Museum in Harlem; the Frist Center for the Visual Arts; The Yerba Buena Center; The Newark Museum; Third Streaming; MCA San Diego; MoCA Taipei; and Performa 09; and has been written about in the New Yorker, Sculpture Magazine, Artforum.com, ARTNews, The New York Times, Huffington Post and on Art21’s blog. Her first solo museum show The Empathics was on view at the Montclair Art Museum in the Fall of 2012. She is currently an artist in residence at Smack Mellon, working on solo shows for the Chrysler Museum of Art (fall 2014) and Smack Mellon (fall 2014). She will also stage a performance this summer at the Asian Art Museum, CA while she is an artist in residence at the Headlands Center for Contemporary Art.
My current work is focused on the meanings of different kinds of hybridity. In part, this project developed out of my own experience as a black, white, and Japanese American woman. But the project also emerges from my broader interest in exploring how hybridities (of cultures, races, and ethnicities; humans and machines; etc.) are becoming more apparent, but also more fraught and confounding in American society.
My ongoing science fiction inspired project, The Empathics, is about fictional humans who physically and culturally metamorphose as they merge identities and cross species, taking on characteristics of various cultures while becoming a fusion of animal and plant. The material culture and biology of the Empathics is the synthesis of diverse sources. I take seemingly non-coherent combinations, create fantastical bodies that connect with people’s real bodies, situate them in habitable new worlds, and activate them in performance and video.