Vancouver Independent
Archives Week 2018/19


Tue. 09.07.19 / 7 pm Representing the Ephemeral

wen yau on performance, protest, and memory
grunt gallery

How do we understand performance art through secondary documentation? What are the limits of the archive in communicating the power of protest or an act of resistance expressed through art? Hong Kong based artist and researcher wen yau presents a performance-lecture exploring the challenges of representing performative action in an archival setting. Looking to the transmission of knowledge and culture through the performing body, articulated as The Repertoire by scholar Diana Taylor, wen yau draws on her own experience at the intersection of arts and activism during and following the 2014 Occupy Central protests also known as the Umbrella Movement. wen yau's auto-ethnographic research into ongoing political and cultural struggles in Hong Kong questions how we remember/re-enact gestures of solidarity from past and present generations of artists and dissidents. grunt is excited to share wen yau’s first-hand experience with the massive anti-extradition law demonstrations that have swept Hong Kong this year.


grunt gallery
116-350 E. 2nd Ave


As a cross-media artist, researcher, curator and writer, wen yau has focused on performance/live art and social practices in the last few years. Her works often grapples with cultural difference and intimacy in public space and have been presented internationally. She worked as a Researcher at Asia Art Archive (2005-2012). She obtained a PhD at the Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University, with her thesis titled "Performing Identities: Performative Practices in post-Handover Hong Kong Art and Activism". In 2015-2016, she served as a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the Performance Studies Department at the Northwestern University, USA. She also contributes frequently to various periodicals in Hong Kong and Asia.

Stacey Ho is a 90% chill 10% not artist who’s into community building, books, and being sort of boring. They recently finished writing a short novella about aliens, love and boundaries tentatively called George the Parasite. They live on the unceded Coast Salish territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ peoples. They are the founder of Slow Wave Small Projects.

Jane Shi is a queer Chinese settler living on the unceded, traditional, and ancestral territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. She is a poet, writer, editor, and community organizer whose work has appeared in Room, Poetry Is Dead, LooseLeaf Magazine, Canthius, and PRISM International, among others. She wants to live in a world where love is not a limited resource, land is not mined, hearts are not filched, and bodies are not violated.


Stacey Ho

October 2019

花 4 HK

花 4 HK from grunt gallery on Vimeo.

A passage about a 14-year old girl arrested for drawing a flower on a wall with chalk was the starting point for this work in which Ho’s parents help them to translate some of the Yellow Umbrella Movement phrases wen yau used in her performance.

Jane Shi

October 2019

PASSPORT Palimpsest plays with textual performance. Scaffoldings of genre, official identity documents, and dominating language offer me a platform upon which to imagine implications of Hong Kong people’s current and past fights for democracy and freedom. Using my diasporic histories and familial connections to the events of June 4th, 1989 as an emotional backdrop, I probe intimacies of memory, resistance, and future within bottlenecks of insurgence and suppression. Holding onto the grief, defiance, anger, hope, humour, and love necessary to sustain social movements, this zine guides readers through halls of official bureaucracy, everyday print culture, and digital correspondence. It is a warm-up for what might be if the future so many fight for (and have not given up on) is to come.

PASSPORT Palimpsest

Full Response

View Response