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Heavy Lifting with Miss Ruthless

Aug 12, 2017
11:00 am – 5:00 pm


Spring Workshop, 3/F, Remex Centre, 42 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong

In Search of Miss Ruthless sets the stage for a public persona from the future. This series of public programmes reflects on diasporic communities and pageant infrastructures through discussions, screenings, performances, and workshops. Public programmes are developed and co-produced with the generous support of Spring Workshop. Additional support was provided by the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art.


Heavy Lifting with Miss Ruthless

An assembled silicone barbell lies in the center of the room. Two performers approach the modified equipment, unscrewing the weight plates from the bar. Holding opposite ends of the barbell, the performers make a hasty departure from one another, a duo who’ve lost their trust. This is repeated five times. These instructions for a contact dance were written by artist Jes Fan, to describe an intimacy governed by tension. Heavy Lifting with Miss Ruthless is thinking about genderfluid and trans bodies in control. Muscle as a medium of form in addition to strength. In August 2011, renowned bodybuilder Kai Greene opened an exhibition of self-portraits. At the exhibition, he said, “As a professional bodybuilder, I’m a master sculptor. The art show made me realize that I’ve always been an artist. My medium is the human physique.” In the spirit of mobilizing notions of the body as an in-process project and subverting the format of beauty pageant preparations, we invite you to a tripartite day-long event framed by the idea of Miss Ruthless, a fantasy figure from the future. Heavy Lifting With Miss Ruthless is part of the public programming of In Search of Miss Ruthless, an exhibition at Para Site (Hong Kong) curated by Hera Chan and David Xu Borgonjon, on view from June 30 to September 10, 2017. 

This programme will open with a workshop with artist Jes Fan and biohacker Mary Maggic called Feminine Essence. Exploring biology as craft and looking at the effects of hormones (estrogen and testosterone) on the human body, Fan and Maggic will work with attendees to create estrogen from the urine of former beauty pageant contestants. Following, there will be a performance directed by Fan with Hong Kong-based dancers Joseph Lee and King San Lo called Disposed To Add. The dance is focussed on the relationship created between the two dancers as mediated by Fan’s silicone weight-lifting equipment (on view at Para Site as part of In Search of Miss Ruthless). Lastly, trans* and genderqueer bodybuilder Siufung Law will lead a workshop called Muscle As Medium comprised of an intimate sharing of experiences followed by a dynamic workshop session. Law has competed as a female bodybuilder since 2015, is the ambassador of the Gay Games Hong Kong 2022 bidding team, and has been awarded several champions in local and international contests.

For RSVP, please email to info@para-site.art

Programme schedule

Feminine Essence
estrogen workshop with Jes Fan and Mary Maggic
(maximum capacity: 25) 


Disposed to Add
performance with Joseph Lee and King San Lo
directed by Jes Fan 


Muscle as Medium 
body building workshop taught by Siufung Law

About Miss Ruthless

Miss Ruthless is a fantasy figure of popular support that can represent “our beautiful Hong Kong up on the world stage,” as sung in Hong Kong Our Home. The search for Miss Ruthless began at Para Site in the summer of 2017. Drawing on the depths of diasporic souls and taking pageantry as method, Miss Ruthless is international and her presence is writ in universal history. Following poet Helene Cixous, we ask of Miss Ruthless: What if she were alive? What if, in looking at her, we animated her?

Website: ruthless.international
Instagram: @ruthless.international
Facebook: facebook.com/ruthlessfans