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.