Total Body Workout

Kexin Hao

Keywords: Body, Fitness, Collective

Internship: Studio The Exercises,,

Kexin is a visual artist and designer born in Beijing and based in the Hague. Her practices is a marriage of graphic design and autonomous projects involving performance and public engaging art. Kexin’s work is a constant swing between intimate close-up on personal stories and zoom-out to collective narratives; between a past of political heaviness and a flashy modernity rendered in humour and sarcasm.

TOTAL BODY WORKOUT - Graduation Project

Total Body Workout leads you through a ‘total body’ experience in which history unfolds not in chronological order but in a head-to-toe sequence.

How is our body scripted and shaped by the times it lives in? How are national agendas and political ideologies woven into bodily semiotics? How does one’s body memory become an integral part of hegemonic historical narratives? And how do we inhabit a historical and totalised body?

Based on nationwide physical exercise routines and mass gymnastic performances in Asia, the Eastern Bloc and the United States, Total Body Workout proposes a recomposition of the existing corporal movements and a reconfiguration of the past in the present. Here and now, we work out the total body.



This thesis is about the nostalgia in Chinese pop music in the last thirty years of the 20th century. It investigates the nostalgia embedded in the music: what is the nostalgia addressed by the songs? What did people feel nostalgic about and how did it come in shape in relation to the society and culture?

From the emerging folk music in Taiwan in the 70s and the 80s, to the classic rock in Hong Kong’s “golden age”, and to the heavy metal from Beijing’s music scene in the early 90s, the thesis examines the nostalgia in the music, songwriting, and its consumption—through the lens of a “light-weighted” media, a folk document, and an important art form: pop music.