Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

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.

Rungh Re/Launch Party at Centre A!

Saturday, Feb. 10 from 7 to 10 pm
Centre A (2nd floor, 268 Keefer St.)

We’ll be celebrating the return of Rungh Magazine with the launch of its newest issue on Saturday, Feb. 10. Join us for a night of readings, music, and performances. A selection of past and present issues will be availabe for purchase.

Launched in Vancouver and Toronto in 1992, Rungh published throughout the 90s as a South Asian Quarterly of Culture, Comment, and Criticism, acting as a cultural producer on the regional and national arts scenes. The magazine ceased to publish in 1999, and a partial archive of Rungh‘s print issues lived online from 2005 to 2017. Now, Rungh is re-launching as a web publication. We’re excited to celebrate the magazine’s 25-year history and the launch of its January 2018 issue.

Please remember to register online for this event. This launch is being held in conjunction with the Vancouver screenings of Ali Kazimi’s 2016 film, Random Acts of Legacy, on Friday, Feb. 9.

Readings, music, performances, and more!

This event will be hosted by Jen Sungsine and David Ng from Love IntersectionsWe’ll also be welcoming some amazing artists and writers from near and far to help celebrate this new chapter for Rungh:

Ali Kazimi- award-winning filmmaker and author of Undesirables: White Canada and the Komagata Maru — an Ilustrated History.

Nurjehan Aziz- editor at Mawenzi House, a Toronto publishing house that foregrounds diversity in writing from Canada and beyond

Rahat Kurd- poet and author of Cosmophilia (Talon Books)

Prem Gill- CEO of Creative BC and former member of Rungh’s editorial team

Cecily Nicholson- poet and author of Wayside Sang (Talon Books)

Shazia Hafiz Ramji- poet, editor, and author of Prosopopoeia (Anstruther Press)

Sadhu Binning- poet and author of No More Watno Dur and Fauji Banta Singh (Mawenzi House)

Phinder Dulai- poet, editor, author of Basmati Brown, Ragas from the Periphery, and dream/arteries

Junie Desil- Vancouver poet and activist

Live music by Moondle Band, a Vancouver-based alternative/pop band

Music curation: David Laulinen, Jerry Gill, Zakir Suleman, and more