Multiple Dates

Patty Chang "Milk Debt" // Nung-Hsin Hu "Incurable Nostalgia" Exhibition

Actions and Detail Panel


Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time



18th Street Arts Center (Olympic Campus)

1639 18th Street

Santa Monica, CA 90404

View Map

Event description
Visit 18th Street Arts Center's Olympic Campus to view Patty Chang's "Milk Debt" on view Oct 19 - Jan 22, and Nung-Hsin Hu's show!

About this Event


Milk Debt | Patty Chang

18th Street Arts Center Olympic Campus (Main Gallery - green bldg)

October 19, 2020 - January 22, 2021


Incurable Nostalgia | Nung-Hsin Hu

18th Street Arts Center Olympic Campus (Atrium Gallery - blue bldg)

November 18 - January 22, 2020

These exhibitions are open by appointment only. Each time slot can accommodate groups of up to six individuals. All visitors are expected to check in at the front door, wear masks, and maintain a distance of 6 feet at all times from others who are not part of the same family group.


Milk Debt is a multi-part video project consisting of videos of lactating women pumping their breast milk as they recite lists of fears drawn from multiple communities across different geographical regions.

The project arises from the artist’s environmental anxieties, and looks to feminist strategies to reconsider the relationship between body and land. As the overarching fear of climate change bubbles up multiple concerns around global unrest, changing geographies, crumbling democracy, and the future we leave for our children, this project makes visible the internal or invisible, and explores how acts of love and empathy (like the giving of breastmilk to a child) help us think expansively and beyond ourselves.

For her solo exhibition at 18th Street, Chang presents video works that highlight several communities that live and work in the large metropolitan areas of Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and the Texas/Mexico border. The title Milk Debt comes from the concept in Chinese Buddhism that a child can never repay the mother for raising and feeding it with her breast milk. Therefore, it is necessary to repay the debt through payments towards the afterlife of the mother. Milk debt is an arrangement that binds us to our history and to the earth. Through a process of collecting the fears of these communities to craft each film’s script, Chang exposes the wounds in our collective cultural consciousness so that we may rethink the process of healing.

Chang’s exhibition was originally scheduled to open to the public on May 16, but due to COVID-19, has been rescheduled to October 19, 2020 – January 22, 2020. Chang reopened participation in her List of Fears in March 2020 after Safer at Home measures were instituted, and held a livestream event of videos created from responses submitted during the pandemic. Curator Anuradha Vikram, who initiated Chang’s project at 18th Street, and curator Asha Bukojemsky of Marathon Screenings participated in a panel discussion (available at on May 22, 2020.


Patty Chang is a Los Angeles based artist working in performance, video, writing, and installation. Chang emerged from New York’s alternative art scene of the mid-1990s, producing works dealing with themes of gender, language, and empathy. Throughout her career, Chang has challenged the parameters of performance by addressing issues she observes in contemporary society.

Her work has been exhibited nationwide and internationally at such institutions as the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, New Museum, New York, BAK, Basis voor actuele Kunst, Utrecht, the Netherlands, the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Fri Art Centre d’Art de Freibourg, Fribourg, Switzerland, Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester, England, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the M+ Museum, Hong Kong, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Her work received a 2003 award from the Rockefeller Foundation and a 2012 Creative Capital award. Chang holds a BA from the University of California, San Diego (1994).

[caption: Patty Chang, Milk Debt, 2020, video still. TRT: 53 min. Courtesy of the artist.]



Incurable Nostalgia is a multimedia project, including a 16mm film loop installation, videos, drawings, and sculpture which the artist will produce during her 3-month long residency at the 18th Street Art Center. This project is a reflection of the artist's current status after losing her childhood home and the processes of rethinking and searching for the meaning of home, both literal and metaphorical.

The project takes inspiration from The Future of Nostalgia by Svetlana Boym, which describes how Modern Nostalgia has transformed from being a curable disease in the 17th century, then going beyond individual psychology and eventually becoming a public epidemic, mourning for an impossible return.

Hu intends to reflect on how we are experiencing the collective grief and longing for the world we knew, and the normality that we may never return to under the current pandemic era. Also, how the months-long lockdown, stay-at-home orders, climate crises, and travel restrictions have shifted our notion of home and altered the relationship between our body and space.

Incurable Nostalgia will also include site-specific performative elements where the artist will utilize her temporary “home,” the studio space and new surroundings, to create multimedia work juxtaposing the past and present, dreams and everyday life representing her processes of adaptation.


Nung-Hsin Hu (胡農欣) is a Taiwanese born U.S.-based interdisciplinary artist who interweaves video, sculpture, performance, and installation in her practice. Her work intends to reveal the invisible status, articulate the unconsciousness, and perform the vulnerability through a poetic and whimsical approach. Her current projects utilize analogue film combining traditional and direct film-making techniques to address a sense of loss, archive the ephemeral and discuss the subjects of time and memory.

Hu has exhibited and screened widely both in the U.S. and abroad including, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts in New York, Videoformes Festival in France, Museum of Modern Art in Buenos Aires, and Oil Street Art Space in Hong Kong. Hu has received various grants including, Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant, National Culture and Arts Foundation of Taiwan-International Exchange fellowship, and Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning – Van Lier Fellowship. She has also participated in international residencies, including, Casa das Caldeiras in São Paulo, the Lichtenberg Studios in Berlin, the Arctic Circle Residency Program in Norway, SHIFT residency at EFA project space in New York, SÍM residency in Iceland.

To see more of the artist’s work, visit:

Share with friends


18th Street Arts Center (Olympic Campus)

1639 18th Street

Santa Monica, CA 90404

View Map

Save This Event

Event Saved