Nov 10th – 11th, 1PM – 6PM
Nov 12th – 20th, 11AM – 6PM
Bachir/Yerex Presentation Space
401 Richmond Street West
A collaborative exhibition by Jasmine Gui (special projects programmer, RA) & keiko Hart (co-curator), RA:X Puncta aims to present a plurality of punctum moments (as defined by Roland Barthes) that disturb and prick at diasporic Asian narratives and slip beyond an easy legibility of “Asianness”. The five works presented in this exhibition are honest yet uneasy, confrontational, and tender provocations that push in creatively personal ways, against and through the pressures and questions of their socio-political moments. Through our sustained attention, they may shake us up in particular and precious ways.
Join co-curators in the exhibition space for a walkthrough and casual Q&A. This program overlaps with the festival’s happy hour programming.
Moderated conversation between co-curator keiko Hart and artists, Jes Hanzelkova, Vince Ha and Mo Phùng.
Moderated conversation between co-curator Jasmine Gui and artists, Noor Khan, Yasmeen Nematt Alla and Brannavy Jeyasundaram.
Hop onto Instagram Live to see the installation work digitally and chat with members of our exhibition team.
Noor Khan • Prescriptions
In 2019, artist Noor Khan began filming her project titled ‘Postscript’. PostScript is a double screen installation, exploring the geographical intersections of Parkdale and Scarborough. P.S. stands for Parkdale and Scarborough- suitably also short for “postscript” for all afterthoughts written after the letter has been signed. Policy-making in Toronto has caused both Parkdale and Scarborough to suffer, as the two are afterthoughts compared to more affluent areas (therefore, P.S.). Footage of storefronts located in each place sits side-by-side, while the audio provides a meditative experience of activity inside these stores as sites of cultural practice. This film draws parallels between communities by unraveling similar stories of cultural practice retained with the support of local stores and restaurants, and the conditions of gentrification that threaten cultural and economic livelihood throughout the West (Canada, U.S., U.K., and more).
Three months after winning the Silver Prize at Reel Asian Film Festival’s 2019 So You Think You Can Pitch competition, the pandemic hit, changing Noor’s production plans completely. Many changes occurred, especially the closing of the stores she documented, including Parkdale’s infamous ‘Island Foods’ on King and Dufferin.Three years later, this project takes on a new form after having time to reflect on past footage, and creating new components. The resulting project is titled ‘Prescriptions’. The word “prescription”, from “pre-” (“before”) and “script” (“writing, written”), refers to the fact that the prescription is an order that is written down before action takes place. This retrospective project takes the form of a sculptural installation, in which we see the film projected onto scrolls of paper. In this way, the artist compares her footage to policy, both predetermined, with no real knowledge of the after effects.
Vince Ha • Danger Comes Through the Mouth
Photographs and sculpture
When I was younger, my mother would often remind me “to keep my head down, and keep quiet,” or that “danger comes through the mouth,” all with the goal of maintaining family or community unity. At times, sharing collective stories in institutional spaces can be simmered down to reductive images of community harmony that can later develop into hurtful dynamics. I am not endorsing an overemphasis on disunity, or espousing a false dichotomy, but we must make room for conflict: it is a natural, and vital, element of our growth.
In this work, I use family photos, stripping them from their original coherence and weaving them into new contexts. The work encourages space for alternating narratives and messiness, possibly transcending the boundaries of our biological social institution. This work traces part of my meditation on what it means to embrace hurting—on a personal and communal level—to help us explore pre-healing and move beyond remembrance.
Jes Hanzelkova • I couldn’t see but it didn’t seem to matter anyways
Photographs and sculpture
I couldn’t see but it didn’t seem to matter anyways because the busy street, the quiet alley, the dark space, the empty mall, the sky, the ground, the air, my breath was displaced regardless.
As a series of three images taken between two-years this work documents an ongoing project in mask making and performance art. Each image holds one version of the mask and captures the performances from the same perspective in different places. Each mask is consistently white (a play on my cultural identity), positioned on the head (to play with the surface of the face), and modulates light to the rhythm of the wearer’s heartbeat (as a way of playing with the beautiful abjectness of mortality).
I am interested in masking as a way of both eluding and sitting-with the act of identification I undergo within the gaze of others as an East-Asian and feminine-presenting womxn. A push and pull between culture, place-memory, and constraint affects the ease of movement and the amount of face shown from image to image as the project progresses in time. In this way, these performances serve as a mirror where I perform my identity and all its ornamental and artificial derivatives. I focus on the ways which racialized and gendered identities have been forged out of the space between the biological, technological, and artificial. The space between the surface of the skin; the lens of the camera; a sleeve, an eye; the remixed and the glitching.
Brannavy Jeyasundaram • touch & flesh
‘touch & flesh’ is a visual rendering of a workshop facilitated as part of Healing Arts Dinner Circle, a segment of Tamil Archive Project. The work is an attempt to understand our bodies as archives of tenderness, joy, laughter, and love. It was produced in April 2020 at the onset of the pandemic.
Touch is being increasingly removed from our physical vocabularies through the alienation of our labour and community networks. ‘touch & flesh’ asks what it means for our bodies to be called to attention through isolation. It also positions the archive as an embodied experience that must be retrieved, interpreted, and committed to memory.
As participants locate emotions that exist between the curves and contours of their flesh, they create dance at a time of increased restriction and paranoia around movement. Through screens in our independent spaces, we produce choreographies of tenderness and action. We insist — there is a shape to grief. There is a shape to joy, love, care, and laughter.
Featuring: Ambihai Akilan, Evelyn Ascencio, Kat Bell, Vidhya Elango, Manvinder Gill, Janany Jeyasundaram, Hazel Hayoung Ki, Yasietha Krishnakulasingham, Nyda Kwasowsky, Gowthaman Naguleswaran, Yasmeen Nematt Alla, Nirali Patel, Shanki Ratnanesan, Archana Ravichandradeva, Vasuki Shanmuganathan, Jennifer Su, Maneesa Veeravel, Renee Vettivelu, and Vanessa Vigneswaramoorthy.
Mo Phùng • Migration & (RE)Emergence
Through this work I dream worlds to honour my Vietnamese queer and trans ancestors, building them magical spaces of possibilities and freedom. Textural and visual storytelling creates space for intergenerational conversations – leaving marks and hints for ancestors of past and future, inviting them towards my current self.
My multiple identities have led me here, from the South China Sea to the North Atlantic Ocean. Saltwater is a means of travel, a piece of home, unhealed wounds, a marker of distance – expanding beyond the constraints of borders, and who we are allowed to become. A vessel of queerness allows these stories to be revealed and accessed.
How do you love a place that doesn’t seem to love you back Director David Siev broaches that question in Bad Axe, a complicated love letter to his hometown.
11 Nov. 9:00 pm
Taking a wide scope, Canadian documentary filmmaker Karen Cho’s Big Fight in Little Chinatown traverses Chinatowns in New York City, Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, and San Francisco, shining a light on the twin legacies of displacement and resistance that characterize these neighbourhoods.
13 Nov. 2:30 pm
Set in the 1990s, South Korean immigrant and single mother So-young looks to make a fresh start in a West Coast Canadian suburb with her son Dong-hyun.
9 Nov. 7:00 pm