The Thomas Wang Project

© R. Di Giacomantonio, 2014

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© R. Di Giacomantonio, 2014

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The Thomas Wang Project

New Media Performance
Friday, May 22, 2015 at 5 pm and 7 pm

Tickets on sale at OBORO ($5)
As of May 12, 2015
From Tuesday to Saturday, noon to 5 pm.
You can also call 514 844-3250 (credit card only).
No ticket reservation.

This event is part of the Montreal Digital Spring 2015
In collaboration with Festival Acces Asie

    

Just months before the founding of the People’s Republic of China, my grand uncle Thomas Wang was arrested in Shanghai on charges of profiteering. My grandmother and her younger brother tried to plead his case. But with the government set on making an example of him, Thomas was executed on September 24, 1948. An exploration of his context, archival fragments and a musical séance will come together in an attempt to connect with this suppressed family story in order to invoke and preserve Thomas’ memory.

This project consists of a media installation made up of three inter-related works; a multi-channel audio visual component that explores the economic and political conditions of Shanghai at the time of Thomas’ arrest, a sound work that draws from the letter Thomas wrote just before his execution and an assemblage of family documents that attest to the ephemerality of fortune, linking the past with present day narratives.

This project also explores the creation and perpetuation of mythology and nostalgia in relation to Shanghai. A port city, Shanghai was nicknamed the “Paris of the East” while garnering a reputation in the West as a place of vice, danger and intrigue. This image has been captured and perpetuated in film noir classics such as Shanghai Express released in 1932, which was around Thomas’ heyday.  The aesthetics of this genre combined with the city’s famous, jazz soundscape will inform the performative mode of the project transforming the installation space into a smoky nightclub that I imagine might have been one of Thomas’ regular haunts.

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Cheryl Sim

Cheryl Sim is a media artist, curator and musician. She began her professional life at Studio D of the NFB, which led her to the wild world of video art and her involvement with artist run centres. Her artistic output in single-channel video and media installation has persistently dealt with questions of identity formation and relations of power. Musically, she explores the intersections of jazz and electronic music that are haunted by a cabaret spirit. Her work as curator at DHC/ART Foundation for contemporary art has been greatly informed by the artist-run centre ethos as well as her work as an artist. She is currently a PhD candidate at UQÀM where she is completing her research-creation dissertation “The Fitting Room: the Cheongsam and Canadian Women of Chinese Heritage in Installation”. One day she would like to teach yoga.