“There’s a lot of chaos and there’s a lot of information and we’re just taking what we think is useful and putting it together with other things that may or may not belong together.”
– Rania Ho
Written by Weston Teruya
Over the course of her time in residence at Recology, Rania Ho created the 503 Social Club, an artistic platform for informal interactions, celebrations, and conversation; a convergence of people in their varied travels and migrations, housed in a facility that in itself is a transit station, a site for gathering thrown out materials and processing recyclables. 503 Social Club invites the public to partake in this serendipitous and experimental gathering space.
Ho returns to recurring themes of movement and circulation throughout the project. In one room, she pairs a sprung wooden dance floor built of scrap plywood with a salvaged audio system of turntables and a reel-to-reel tape player. She fills the space with an eclectic collection of found audio, from music on vinyl to a poetic 1968 James Baldwin speech. In the weeks leading up to the public opening, Ho invited in small gatherings of people in her broader networks to convene, converse and dance, presenting evidence of these engagements through snippets of video documentation and a wall of polaroid snapshots. Images and objects installed throughout the space reference meandering paths and vectors of motion, like sun shades and collapsible camping chairs with freeway interchange maps sewn across their surfaces. Along with the dance hall, a second room features a cozy patio area for visitors to relax and continue their conversations. There, a fountain made from an inflatable raft, gently cycles water and provides a soft background soundscape.
This series of interpretations, large and small, speaks to Ho’s underlying interest in our varied lived experiences and complex histories; how we’ve each come to this room, this city, this country. 503 Social Club creates a framework and moment of pause to share in this unique confluence of people and objects before we each resume our ongoing paths.
Rania Ho is a multidisciplinary artist working in installation and performance. Her works employ a humorous, unexpected approach to everyday objects and situations as a means of interrogating broader social or cultural concerns. Ho received her BA in Theater Arts from UCLA and a master’s degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at New York University. She lives and works in Beijing and San Francisco. Ho’s works have been included in the Jakarta Biennale and Thailand Biennale, as well as a solo exhibition mounted at SF’s Luggage Store Gallery. Ho is a co-founder of Arrow Factory, an independently run, alternative storefront art space in Beijing that operated from 2008 to 2019, and a co-founder of Wujin, a tiny café, bookshop, and creative platform in Beijing that has been running since 2013.