FADO Performance Art Centre is pleased to be one of the community partners co-presenting
Paul Wong: ReMastered at the 2008 Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival
Friday November 14, 2008
Innis Town Hall
2 Sussex Avenue, Toronto
(One block south of St. George Street and Bloor Street West)
2008 Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival
November 12-16, 2008
Canadian Spotlight Artist: Paul Wong
Paul Wong ReMastered
Tickets: $10 (at door or on-line)
Reel Asian Canadian Artist Spotlight on PAUL WONG: Since his teenage years, Paul Wong has used video as mirror and probe, both to discover his own identity and to interact with the world at large. Based in Vancouver, he is a self-invented video pioneer and recipient of the Bell Canada Award in Video Art and Canada’s Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts. He is known for his tough engagement with issues of race, sex, and death. Reel Asian will present a selection of work from Wong’s body of performance work, including the newly re-mastered and new works.
Works in program:
60 UNIT: BRUISE (Paul Wong & Ken Fletcher, 1976)
7 DAY ACTIVITY (1977–2008)
IN TEN SITY (1978–2008)
UNPLUGGED: SALLY, CHELSEA HOTEL ROOM 207 (2008)
PERFECT DAY (2008)
DOG EAT DOG (2008)
COMMUNITY PARTNERS: Fado Performance Art Centre, Inside Out Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival, V tape
With the invention of low-cost, portable, easy-to-use equipment, video pioneers like Paul Wong were no longer restricted by ideological structures of broadcast media. Moving into an art practice that became an extension of the body, with an emphasis on process over product, artists of the 1960s and ’70s experimented with conceptual art and performance. This selection, Wong’s groundbreaking work from the 1970s along with the premiere of three new works from his Unplugged series, focusses on contemplative, visceral and closely intimate experiences. Recent promises of digital technologies has inspired him to revisit his collection, as it is the first time in his career that he has been able to bring it all together into one format.
And yet despite high-tech and digital compositing capabilities, Wong’s work continues to have a true appreciation for beauty of imperfections. The light buzz of the video sound, jerky handheld shots and in-camera edits all reveal a sort of de-romanticized rawness that is full of humanity.
60 UNIT: BRUISE (Re-mastered) Dir. Paul Wong & Ken Fletcher | Canada | 1976 | 4:30
In Wong’s first colour videotape, Ken Fletcher draws several millilitres of blood from his arm and injects the syringe into Paul Wong’s naked back. Focussing on the purple bruise that slowly spreads over Wong’s skin, the dangerous mixing of bodily fluids evokes the most disturbing anxieties. The video was originally conceived as a sort of homoerotic blood-brother performance that indirectly referenced drug use, “but from a vantage point of two decades into the AIDS crisis, when new strains of hepatitis are constantly being identified, the audacity of its play between youth and decadence, pleasure and danger becomes a document of irretrievable innocence. It evokes nostalgia for a present no longer possible” (Richard Fung).
7 DAY ACTIVITY (New Digital Edit) Dir. Paul Wong | Canada | 1977–2008 | 8:35
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the vainest of them all? Bearing the influence of several artistic genres such as performance and body art in the 1970s, Wong self-consciously examines himself through seven days of facial treatments for acne.
IN TEN SITY (re-mastered single-channel mix) Dir. Paul Wong | Canada | 1978–2008 | 25:00 | Toronto Premiere
In a performance that reportedly almost started an unpredictable riot, Wong releases deep feelings of anger and hopelessness in demonstration of pure emotions and power. Boxed off in an eight-by-eight-foot space, monitored by cameras on all sides, Wong repeatedly throws himself into walls and thrashes to the punk lyrics of The Avengers, Patti Smith, and The Sex Pistols. In Ten Sity is dedicated to his good friend and collaborator Kenneth Fletcher (1954–1978) who committed suicide. Almost bashing himself unconscious, Wong’s performance compelled people from the audience to throw themselves into the box, and resulted in a violent display. As people uncontrollably interrupt Wong’s performance, he grabs a hold of one of them and wrestles her to the ground.
UNPLUGGED: SALLY, CHELSEA HOTEL ROOM 207, and PERFECT DAY Dir. Paul Wong | China/USA/Canada | 2008 | 18:30 | Toronto Premiere
In a trilogy from Unplugged, an album of 16 informal video sketches, Wong revisits his collection of hundreds of uncatalogued videos. Always behind the camera, Wong is as uninhibited and instinctual as ever. Sally (6:00) gazes at beautiful Sally as she relaxes in her bathrobe in the sumptuous suite at the China Club in Beijing. Chelsea Hotel Room 207 (5:00) engages us in a crack-induced euphoria New York hotel room with three men in their underpants. Perfect Day (7:30) focusses on Wong alone in his studio trying to find inspiration. Revealing insecure moments in the everyday life of a mature artist, Wong searches for the roots of his creative process.
DOG EAT DOG Dir. Paul Wong | Canada | 2008 | 7:00 | World Premiere
In this work featuring muse Jules Francisco performing “Dog Eat Dog” by Joni Mitchell, Wong presents a dark and light side of innocence.
FADO is pleased to acknowledge the support of the Canada Council, the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council and the Department of Canadian Heritage for their sponsorship of our ongoing activities.
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