'hoe dor' by ariella tai

'hoe dor' by ariella tai

hoe dor is a multi-channel video installation created by Open Signal’s Summer New Media Fellow ariella tai.

Sourcing, processing and glitching video from popular film and television, hoe dor is a collection of work invested in reaching behind, inside and underneath black narrative, image and performance.

In the HBO series Game of Thrones, Hodor protects the heir to the throne. He can only speak the nonsense phrase “hodor.” He is deeply loyal, and during the show he is repeatedly physically and mentally possessed by the telepathic heir to various ends. In his moment of death, we see a revealing flashback: he saw his death many years ago and has since been only capable of occupying and articulating the moment in which he dies, “hodor” or “hold the door.” 

His identity being articulated as the moment of his death resonated with the how depictions and narrative deployments of black death, as well as the labor leading up to and surrounding these deaths, are mobilized in popular film and television.

How that moves in conjunction with the respectability politics that mediate our political and social value in these obligations towards care, labor, sacrifice and performance —or what we are continually expected to hold at bay— brought tai to the work that comprises hoe dor.

ariella tai was an Open Signal New Media Fellow during the summer of 2017. This program is supported by the Regional Arts and Culture Council.

Titles of Work:
hoe dor
she's not going to get more dead
hold me
jealous or crazy
selected .gif

RSVP to the opening reception on Friday, March 9, 6:00pm - 9:00pm.


Thursday, Mar 1 10:00am – Friday, Mar 30 10:00am


Open Signal, Portland Community Media Center

2766 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Portland, OR 97212
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Ariella Tai Summer 2017 New Media Fellow

Ariella Tai is a Portland-based video essayist, film scholar and programmer from Queens, New York.

Their research stretches across the Black Diaspora, focused particularly on agency through aesthetics in representations of gender and queerness.

Ariella’s creative work explores the visualization of black vernaculars and spectatorship in popular and cult media.

They have curated programs for the Portland Black Film Festival, the Cascade Festival of African Films and “they said don’t bring her home,” a film and performance series  supported by a 2015 Precipice Fund award.  


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