Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

C. Spencer Yeh Artist Talk

June 8-14

Artist talk June 8, 6:30pm

Centre A is pleased to present a newly reworked sound installation and accompanying artist talk by Brooklyn-based artist C. Spencer Yeh.

In Yeh’s Mei-Jia & Ting-Ting & Chih-Fu & Sin-Ji (2018), an ensemble of three computer-generated voices designed to emulate Chinese languages from Taiwan, Mainland China, and Hong Kong, read a fragmentary text written by the artist. Yeh’s voice joins this triad, attempting to mimic the input-output synthesis of vowels and consonants generated by text-to-speech protocols, which was inspired by the Chinese traditional performance art of vocal mimicry known as kouji, or “mouth skill.” The convergence of computer and human over phonemes enables the artist to evade any immediate obligation to meaning. This freedom from the semantic occasions a kind of indeterminacy that unsettles conventional dialectics between human and machine. In this realm of experimentation and ambiguity, the interplay of mimesis, language, and technology justifies the question, “Who is imitating whom?”   

In conjunction with the sound installation, Centre A’s Shizen Jambor, Curator of Public Programmes, and Andrew Rebatta, Assistant Curator at the Museum of Chinese in America (New York), will co-moderate a discussion with artist C. Spencer Yeh on the sound installation’s situatedness and acoustic restructuring of the Sun Wah Centre mall—the new home of Centre A. The work on display will be used as a starting point to explore the past work of interdisciplinary artist C. Spencer Yeh, including the previous night’s live performance of his recent album “The RCA Mark II” (2018) at Deep Blue in Vancouver (details below). Additionally, the curators and artist will delve into the acoustic politics of the Sun Wah Centre, a small scale shopping mall established in Vancouver’s Chinatown in the early 1990s, where the main language spoken has been, and continues to be, Cantonese, mixed with usage of Mandarin. In consideration of this context, the discussion will reflect on the Sun Wah Centre as an environment of social conditions, exchange, and habit, and the new presence of Centre A within it.


Performance: “The RCA Mark II”

Deep Blue, 255 East Second Avenue, alley entrance

June 7th, 9pm


C. SPENCER YEH is recognized for his interdisciplinary activities and collaborations as an artist, improviser, and composer, as well his music project Burning Star Core. His video works are distributed by Electronic Arts Intermix and he is a contributing editor to Triple Canopy and BOMB magazine. Yeh also volunteers as a programmer and trailer editor for Spectacle Theater, a microcinema in Brooklyn NY. 

Recent exhibitions and presentations of work include “Shocking Asia” at Empty Gallery Hong Kong, “Two Workaround Works Around Calder” at the Whitney Museum NYC, “Modern Mondays” at MoMA NYC, “Sound Horizon” at the Walker Art Center Minneapolis MN, “The World Is Sound” at the Rubin Museum NYC, “Mei-Jia & Ting-Ting & Chih-fu & Sin-Ji” at MOCA Cleveland Ohio, “Closer to the Edge” in Singapore and “Crossing Over” in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, “The Companion” at the Liverpool Biennial 2014, the Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival, “Tony Conrad Tribute” at Atelier Nord/Ultima Festival in Oslo Norway, “Great Tricks From Your Future” at D-CAF in Cairo Egypt, and LAMPO at the Renaissance Society in Chicago IL.

In 2015 he was an Artist-in-Residence at ISSUE Project Room NYC, and was included in the performance program for Greater New York at MoMA/PS1. A new project on vinyl record, “The RCA Mark II,” was recently published by Primary Information.

ANDREW REBATTA is the Assistant Curator at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), and has worked on exhibitions at community-based museums in New York, Chicago and Washington, DC. In 2017, he organized FOLD: Golden Venture Paper Sculptures, which featured artwork created by detained Chinese asylum-seekers. Andrew was also on the curatorial teams for Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy: Stories of Chinese Food and Identity in Americaand MOCA’s current exhibition Chinese Medicine in America: Converging Ideas, People and Practices. Prior to MOCA, Andrew worked for the Smithsonian Latino Center, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, and the National Museum of Mexican Art. In 2011, he was Curator-in-Residence at the Museo Experimental El Eco in Mexico City, and in 2013 and 2014, he organized programs for the annual New Forms Festival in Vancouver, BC.

Sound Forms: a selected program

May 16 to June 2
Opening Wednesday, May 16 | 5:30 to 8:30

Next Wednesday, May 16, we’re very excited to welcome Contemporary Musiking Hong Kong (CMHK) to Centre A for the presentation of a selected program from the Sound Forms festival, featuring works composed by Hildegard Westerkamp, Larry Shuen, Alex Yiu, Barry Truax, Remy Siu & Russell Wallace, and Vanissa Law. CMHK Artistic Director and Sound Forms curator Samson Young will be in attendance. Held last month by CMHK and Hong Kong Art Centre, Sound Forms was the first festival in Hong Kong to focus on multi-channel sound.

The program consists of 2 new commissions and 1 newly remixed piece by 3 Hong Kong composers, as well as 3 pieces by Canadian composers. The selected pieces fall under 3 themes: soundscape compositions based on field recordings; beatbox, rap, and rhymes made by electronically fragmented vocal patterns and heavily processed speech, which trace tenuous lines in space; and experimental additive synthesis changing the timbre of sound in a multi-channel setting.

Sound Forms is born out of the conviction that one of the most important features of auditory experience is its capacity to reconfigure space: the ephemeral destabilizes rigid structures. It aims to use focused listening to rekindle an ancient understanding of sound as colliding masses, as projection of carrying speeds and infinitely trans-muting forms; in turn, we might reimagine space as fluid, living, and resourcefully voluminous.

About Sonic Anchor:

CMHK’s Sonic Anchor is an experimental music and sound art concert series jointly presented with Hong Kong Arts Centre, which provides the cozy venue of McAulay Studio. Sonic Anchor brings curious audiences and adventurous artists together to enter into a conversation of mutual discovery and respect. It aims to be a playground for musical and sonic experiments.

In April 2018, CMHK presented a special series of Sonic Anchor – Sound Forms – a multi-channel sound festival. The week-long festival presented 5 new commissions, 21 international artists, 21 Hong Kong premieres, and 2 world premieres in 7 concerts and 6 exhibitions.

5:30 pm | Sammy Chien New Media Residency Presentation

Next Wednesday also marks the conclusion of the inaugural residency at our recently established Byron Aceman & Caron Bernstein New Media Gallery, located in Centre A’s new space on the 2nd floor of 268 Keefer St.

Sammy Chien, our current artist-in-residence, will be starting off the evening’s program with a presentation of the work-in-progress he has been developing at Centre A, a solo interdisciplinary new media performance piece called We(a)ves. This work will investigate migration, race and gender politics, transcultural identity, and spiritual philosophies, all articulated through Chien’s own performance language, which draws from digital technologies, audiovisuals, text, contemporary dance, and Qi Gong practices. We(a)ves will tell a story of life in Vancouver at the intersections of immigration, queerness, racialization, and mental illness.

Please note that this presentation has been rescheduled for Wednesday, May 16th and will no longer be taking place on Saturday, May 12th.

Sound Forms Composers

Born in China and raised in Hong Kong, Alex Yiu is a sound artist, composer, and co-founder of Hong Kong Community Radio. Otherwise, Alex Yiu is also a DJ and music producer under the name ‘Alexmalism’. By immersing avant-garde musical materials and underground dance music elements, his experimental beats are the manifestation of his sound world.
As a sound artist, his artistic output concerns and experiments with the interpretation of language, power representation in music, and narrative poetics. His works reply on different medium, including video, sound, performance, visual collage, multimedia and etc. After completion of his first degree in Music Composition/ Production at the Hong Kong Baptist University, Alex obtained a MMus in Sonic Arts from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2015.

BARRY TRUAX  is a Professor Emeritus in the School of Communication (and formerly the School for the Contemporary Arts) at Simon Fraser University where he taught courses in acoustic communication and electroacoustic music. He worked with the World Soundscape Project, editing its Handbook for Acoustic Ecology, and has published a book Acoustic Communication dealing with sound and technology. As a composer, Truax is best known for his work with the PODX computer music system which he has used for tape solo works, music theatre pieces and those with live performers or computer graphics. In 1991 his work, Riverrun, was awarded the Magisterium at the International Competition of Electroacoustic Music in Bourges, France. Truax’s multi-channel soundscape compositions are frequently featured in concerts and festivals around the world. Since his retirement in 2015, Barry has been the Edgard Varèse Guest Professor at the Technical University in Berlin, and Guest Composer at the 2016 BEAST Festival in Birmingham, as well as similar events in Hamburg, Lisbon and Milan. He has guest edited two theme issues on soundscape composition for the Cambridge journal Organised Sound, and is co-editor of the Routledge Companion to Sounding Art.

Composer Hildegard Westerkamp focuses on listening, environmental sound, and acoustic ecology. At the beginning of her career she worked with R. Murray Schafer and the World Soundscape Project, is a founding and board member of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology and was long-time editor of its journal Soundscape. She has conducted soundscape workshops, given concerts and lectures, and has coordinated and led Soundwalks locally and internationally. Excerpts of her compositions appear in Gus van Sants’s films Elephant and Last Days and more recently she collaborated on the soundtrack of Nettie Wild’s film Koneline. Her newest composition Klavierklang for pianist Rachel Iwaasa had its world premiere at ISCM’s World Music Days in Vancouver, November 2017. In 2017, Hildegard’s ways of composing and listening were presented on CBC Ideas.

LARRY SHUEN LAI YIN graduated from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts Honors in 2016, majoring in music composition and electronic music.
Shuen has a keen interest in music composition and a wide range of compositions. His music ranges from solo, chamber, electronics, choral, multimedia and orchestral works, which are premiered in the Hong Kong, Philippines and USA by various musicians, including Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, Michigan State University Chamber Choir, Jenga Percussion Ensemble, Ido Akov, RTHK String Quartet, Romer String Quartet and The Greeners’ Sound.
Currently, Shuen is pursuing a Master’s degree in creative media, and working across the fields of music, sound art and media art as a freelancer. He is also the conductor of The Greeners’ Sound, a local choral society in Hong Kong.

REMY SIU (b.1990) is a composer and new media artist based in Vancouver, BC. Recently, his work has involved the construction of automated and variable performance apparatuses that employ light, sound, software, and the body. He is interested in creating friction and stakes between the performer, the interface, and the system through the use of game mechanics and failure. His output spans chamber music, dance, theatre, installations, and audio-visual work.
He actively creates with Hong Kong Exile (interdisciplinary arts company) and Mahaila Patterson-O’Brien (choreographer), and has worked with Vicky ChowTurning Point EnsembleQuatuor BozziniCentre A Gallery, Pi TheatreTheatre Replacementthe Western Front, and others.
His work has been presented internationally at the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival (Vancouver), Sonic Anchor (Hong Kong), CanAsian Dance (Toronto), UNO Fest (Victoria), Sonic Boom Festival (Vancouver), Dancing on the Edge (Vancouver), Centre for New Music (San Francisco), Constellation(Chicago), Seattle International Dance FestivalVancouver Art GalleryThe International Symposium On Electronic Art(2015 Vancouver, 2016 Hong Kong), and more. He has received a SOCAN Foundation Young Composers Award and an honourable mention in the Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music (2016).
Remy holds a BFA (Hons.) in composition from Simon Fraser University Contemporary Arts (Vancouver, BC) where he studied with David MacIntyre, Owen Underhill, and Barry Truax. He has also studied with Rodney Sharman and received lessons from Ken Ueno, Claus-Steffan Mahnkopf, Suzanne Farrin, and Detlef Heusinger.
He is currently the Artist-in-Residence for the Push International Performing Arts Festival with Hong Kong Exile, the Co-Artistic Director of Hong Kong Exile, and the Co-Director and Manager at the Gold Saucer Studio. During 2017-2019, he will be one of two Composers-in-Residence with the National Arts Centre Orchestra (Canada).

RUSSELL WALLACE is from the Lil’wat Nation in BC and is a traditional singer and contemporary composer. Wallace composed music for many soundtracks for film, theatre, dance, and tv productions. His credits include 1491, Wild Foods, Indspire Awards show 2017, Ernestine Shuswap gets Her Trout, and Ecstasy of Rita Joe. Wallace was the composer in residence for the Aboriginal Dance Program at the Banff Centre from 1996-2003 and is a founding member of the Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast as well as the Artistic and Managing Director for EMUSE-Aboriginal Electronic Music Festival. Amongst many other jobs Wallace teaches at Simon Fraser University, Capilano University, and is the Cultural Coordinator at NEC Native Education College.

VANISSA LAW was born in Hong Kong and began her studies at the Hong Kong Baptist University in 2004, started out as a piano major and studied piano with Chinese composer Mr. Cui Shiguang. After graduating from HKBU Vanissa turned her focus towards electroacoustic music composition during her stay at Ball State University, Indiana, majoring in voice and music composition. Vanissa returned to Hong Kong in 2010 and obtained her PhD in 2017 under the supervision of Prof. Christopher Keyes.

In Conversation: Tiffany Chung

Image courtesy of Gallery Quynh

Friday, April 27 | 3 pm
Centre A (2nd floor, 268 Keefer St.)

Next Friday, we are pleased to welcome you for a conversation with visiting artist Tiffany Chung here at Centre A. The event will consist of a 20 minute talk, followed by a question-and-answer/ conversation period with the audience.

Chung’s work engages with contemporary and historical experiences of conflict, migration, and urban change. Her practice includes cartographic drawings, videos, performance, and sculptures that have been presented around the world, including at the 2015 Venice Biennale, the Mori Art Museum’s 2017 Sunshower exhibition, and the 2018 Sydney Biennale.

This visit marks the beginning of a research project in which the artist will engage with Vancouver.

Sammy Chien | New Media Residency

From May 1st to May 16th, we will be welcoming Sammy Chien as the inaugural artist-in-residence at Centre A’s new media gallery. During his time at Centre A, Chien will be working on research and development for a solo interdisciplinary new media performance piece, W(e)aves. This work will investigate migration, race and gender politics, transcultural identity, and spiritual philosophies, all articulated through Chien’s own performance language, which draws from digital technologies, audiovisuals, text, contemporary dance, and Qi Gong practices. W(e)aves will tell a story of life in Vancouver at the intersections of immigration, queerness, racialization, and mental illness.

Visit Centre A for a presentation of Chien’s research in progress on this work on Wednesday, May 16th at 5:30 pm. Please note that this presentation has been rescheduled and will no longer be taking place on Saturday, May 12th.

Sammy Chien is a Taipei born, Vancouver based interdisciplinary media artist, director, performer, researcher and mentor who works with film, sound art, new media and dance/theatre performance. He has studied film (BFA Honours) at Simon Fraser University and developed an expertise in electroacoustic music and digital technology in performance environment. After learning real-time performance softwares from Troika Ranch (NYC/Berlin), he continues his deep interest in interdisciplinary collaborations and forges deep connections between image, sound, and movement. He has collaborated visually, aurally and conceptually in numerous multi-disciplinary projects which have exhibited across Canada, Western Europe, and Asia including Centre Pompidou (Paris), Museum of Contemporary Arts Taipei, National Centre for the Performing Arts (Beijing), and Hellerau: European Centre for the Arts Dresden. His recent collaboration with Beijing Modern Dance Company includes working with artists such as Wong Kar Wai’s Cinematographer Christopher Doyle, the Father of Rock in China Cui Jian and having lunch with Ai Wei Wei. Sammy has also been involved in research or mentorship in projects that focus on the integration between art, science, technology and spirituality as well as engaging with various community groups and issues such as social activists, low-income residents, mental health, spiritual healing, ethnic minorities, LGBTQ2+, Indigenous peoples, and youths. Sammy is the Co-Founder/Artistic Director of Chimerik collective.

1967/1997: Reflections on Hong Kong Literature and Cinema

Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 2 pm | 268 Keefer St., Vancouver
This City Inscribed event is a Cantonese-language program and free and open to the public. Registration is required.

How has the literature and cinema of Hong Kong responded to major transformations? In particular, how have the upheavals associated with the 1967 riots and the 1997 handover been marked by the literary and the visual? Come join Dr. Mary Shuk-Han Wong of Lingnan University and award-winning director Dr. Wong King Fai for a conversation about the past and present of Hong Kong literature and cinema.

Dr. Mary Shuk-Han WONG is an associate professor in the Department of Chinese at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. She has published widely on film and literature. She is the author of Feminine Writing: Cinema, Literature and Everyday Live (2014) and Hong Kong Cinema: Writer, Literature and Cinema (2013). Major edited works include the “Hong Kong Literature and Culture of the 1950s” series (2013) and the “Hong Kong Literature and Culture of the 1960s” series (2018). She is also a novelist and essayist. Major creative works include Against the Grain (2017), From Kafka (2015), and an award-winning collection of short stories, Surviving Central (2013). She is also the co-producer of the documentaries 1918 (2015) and Boundary (2015). An edited anthology, Hong Kong 1960s, is scheduled to appear in June 2018.

Dr. WONG King Fai is an award-winning film director, screenwriter, and novelist. He is the director of 1918 and Boundary, which document, respectively, the literary lives of Liu Yichang (1918–) and Ye Si (1949–2013), two of the most celebrated writers of Hong Kong. Dr. Wong’s screenplay for the film Life without Principle (2011) has garnered a number of prestigious awards, including the Best Original Screenplay (the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards), the Best Screenwriter (Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards), and the Best Screenwriter (Chinese Film Media Awards). Dr. Wong has published two collections of short stories and is Chief Editor of the series “Literature and Cinema” (Hong Kong University Press). Dr. Wong has been named the 2018 Best Artist (Arts Criticism) by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.


This community talk is organized by UBC Hong Kong Studies Initiative and co-sponsored by Centre A, Chinese Canadian Writers’ Association, Vancouver Hong Kong Forum Society, Youth Collaborative for Chinatown, Vancouver Asian Film Festival, Ricepaper Magazine, LiterASIAN Festival, explorASIAN/VAHMS, PCHC–MoM Society, and Institute for Transpacific Cultural Research (SFU).

A Third Gender: Beautiful Youths in Japanese Prints

A talk by Dr. Asato Ikeda (Fordham University Art History)
Wednesday, March 28  |  5pm
SFU Harbour Centre Room 7000 (7/F, Lohn Policy Room)


How do we—and can we at all— talk about sex, gender, and sexuality of early modern Japan without imposing contemporary North American values and preconceptions? This question was central to the process of organizing the exhibition A Third Gender: Beautiful Youths in Japanese Prints at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto in 2016. The exhibition focuses on visual representations of male youths, called wakashu in Japanese, who were the object of sexual desire for both women and adult men in Edo-era Japan.

Presented in the form of an exhibition, the project necessitated engaging the past with the present and the general public with scholarship. In this presentation, Dr. Ikeda explains the process of this engagement and discusses the dialogues the team at the ROM had with Toronto’s LGBTQ+ community.

This talk is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided. Please register here for this free talk.

 is Assistant Professor of Art History at Fordham University and Research Associate at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. She is the co-editor of Art and War in Japan and its Empire (Leiden: Brill, 2012), the curator of A Third Gender: Beautiful Youths in Japanese Prints (Royal Ontario Museum, 2016; Japan Society, 2017), and the author of The Politics of Painting: Fascism and Japanese Art during the Second World War (forthcoming in May 2018 from the University of Hawaii Press).

This event is co-sponsored by:
Institute For Transpacific Cultural Research, Simon Fraser University
Department of Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies, Simon Fraser University

Centre A: Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asia Art

Two Films and a Talk with Trinh T. Minh-ha

March 15 and 16   |   The Cinematheque (1131 Howe St. #200, Vancouver)

Join us for a very special program with Trinh T. Minh-ha:

Centre A and The Cinematheque, with support from SFU David Lam Centre and SFU Institute for the Humanities, welcome renowned Vietnamese-born artist, writer, and scholar Trinh T. Minh-ha for a special two-night program of her acclaimed film work. Subjective, self-reflexive, and intellectual; infused with feminism and anti-colonialism; and offering a dizzying array of sights and sounds, her award-winning “anti-anthropological” films represent a startling reinvention of the documentary form. Two of these nonfiction works – Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989) and Forgetting Vietnam (2015) – will screen at The Cinematheque on March 15 and 16.

Prof. Trinh will be with us on Friday the 16th to discuss Forgetting Vietnam in celebration of its Vancouver premiere. A Q&A session and reception will follow.

“The films of Trinh T. Minh-ha present an incisive critique of the structures of traditional Western documentaries, which so often depict ‘other’ cultures in a condescending way.  Rich, lyrical, fluid, her finely crafted cinematic style is distinctive.  It incorporates complex musical structure, performances, text, jump cuts, long poised silences, and other techniques of avant-garde cinema to create a new language for film.”  – National Gallery of Canada

Surname Viet Given Name Nam

USA 1989. Dir: Trinh T. Minh-ha. 108 min. 16mm
Thursday, March 15 – 7:00 pm

One of the best known works by celebrated film artist and theorist Trinh T. Minh-ha, Surname Viet Given Name Nam explores questions of identity, popular memory, and culture through Vietnamese women’s resistance in Vietnam and the United States. The film combines dance, text, folk poetry, and women’s testimony to call into question official histories and the politics of documentary and interview. “A challenging and rewarding work that places Trinh T. Minh-ha as one of the leading American independent filmmakers of the ’80s” (New Directors/New Films, New York).

Buy tickets for Surname Viet Given Name Nam 

Vancouver Premiere of Forgetting Vietnam
Talk and Q&A with Trinh T. Minh-ha

USA 2015. Dir: Trinh T. Minh-ha. 90 min. DCP
Friday, March 16 – 7:00 pm

Drawing on ancient stories of Vietnam’s creation, this lyrical film essay from Trinh T. Minh-ha moves between Hi-8 footage shot in 1995 and digital footage filmed in 2012. Images of contemporary life in Vietnam unfold in a dialogue between land and water. Through the experiences of local inhabitants, immigrants, and veterans, Forgetting Vietnam honours the survivors of the Vietnam War and commemorates the 40th anniversary of the war’s end.

Trinh T. Minh-ha will be in attendance to introduce and discuss Forgetting Vietnam, followed by a Q&A led by Professor Helen Leung (SFU). A reception will be held afterwards in The Cinematheque lobby.

Buy tickets for Forgetting Vietnam

Regular ticket prices will be in effect. Centre A membership cards will be accepted in lieu of Cinematheque membership at the door.

Image from Forgetting Vietnam courtesy of Women Make Movies,

Trinh T. Minh-ha is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, composer, and scholar whose films have been given over fifty retrospectives internationally. She has lectured worldwide on film, art, feminism, and cultural politics. She is Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. Visit her website to learn more about Forgetting VietnamSurname Viet Given Name Nam, and her other works.

Special thanks to Y Vy Truong, Paul Crowe, Women Make Movies, and the Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences Film Archive.

This event is possible with the support of the SFU David Lam Centre and the SFU Department of Humanities.