GUT FEELING 
CHRISTOPHER GOOD 



It's said: As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.


Hsu returns to both. But his PLEASURE OF ABJECTION, presented at the 2022 Rotterdam Photography Festival, is really a hygiene drama. Bokeh smears as bacilli. The weeds in the seams of the pavement, now microbial. And underfoot, a rat split sagittal, as if caught halfway between an earlier germ theory and our own. 


We see this in the false-color of tracer dyes and cell stains. Clotted, candied pinks stuck to cool greys. UV slurries. Biliverdin: gallbladder green and the blue of a bruise.


These false-colors bring to mind other falsities. Hsu’s digital compositions mime the celluloid. They suggest double-exposures, light leaks, and negatives. Save for one “sculpture” — a pigeon taxidermied into flight — each inkjet PLEASURE is flat as a Rayograph.


Maybe these works come to us in X-Ray vision. But if we see electromagnetic, then this is not a checkup, but a security scan. Sanitation theatre. Millimeter waves turn guts and luggage inside-out.


Hsu’s subject matter, splashed on city sidewalks the world over, brings to mind a 2018 study in the peer-reviewed journal Cell. "U.S. immigration westernizes the human gut microbiome," "US immigration is associated with loss of gut microbiome diversity." We might fancy that we see this motion — the world spinning nauseatingly fast — in the standout piece, a spectral blue PLEASURE wreathed with radial blur. 


But where "real" film stock is destroyed by a X-Ray (radiation scorches film sinusoidal — hence the TSA advisory), Hsu's images are ineradicable. A superbug.


PLEASURE OF ABJECTION imagines bottle service action painting.


And every stomach, a darkroom.