Monthly Archives: May 2002

The Water Way

The Canoe Way:  On Centre Island’s very popular bike lands, I chalked symbolic representation of canoes, the representation of the First Nations people travelling means, especially around these islands.

My Tribute (The walk)

Tribute Walk:   I walked one evening from one pier at Ferry Dock and at Centre Isand, the frequently visited and populated area of the Toronto Islands, and as I walked, i left a pinch of tobacco (as i walked, following the traditions of the First Nations people in doing their offering for special landscapes they encountered.

The meditative walk was my way to connecting myself further to the place and to acknowledge the status and the history of these islands while making it visible to visitors and the residents there. A small amount of sand was mixed in to weigh it down to extend the short presence of the ephemeral trail.

My Tribute source

Tribute – to the still native land   “Do give back something when taking something away”, is a First Nations peoples’ teaching I learned when I was doing a short staying at Gibraltar Point Artist Lodge at the Toronto Islands. The artist residency resides right next to the once upon a time Canoe Resting Place” of the First Nations people, when they were still travelling up the down the water way. They say, it was a good spot to nurture a body and its soul.  No wonder the spot gives rise to a school and now an artist residence. Interestingly, the islands have never been signed off to the Canadian government and therefore it is still Native land proper, even though the City is governing it now as a park. Most of the people in Toronto is unaware of these islands’ status, only taking it as a place for them to steal away from the mundane city life. To give back to this tranquil and creative place, I decided to pay my tribute to the people and the place, by making visible the land’s forgotten status. I decided to do a few things:


Hands Off — Source

Background — Hands off looks at some situations immigrants that have landed in Canada for an extended period of time are facing, including their chronic under-employment and earning a much lower-average income when compared to their fellow Canadians. Reports have pointed out that the perceived health of these immigrates deteriorated substantially after arriving in Canada for 8 years.  Seventeen immigrants from various countries were recruited from Craigslist Toronto and Chinese and Koreans, they were referred by immigrant centers and individuals. 

These immigrants told their individual stories  and summarized them in front of a video camera. They were then requested to use a single gesture to express their experiences and feelings, which was then made into plaster of Paris hand casts.  These hand casts were then taken to various location that matched their stories as well as places symbolically significant to their stories.  Pictures then taken.  Their credentials were then written onto their left hands and their current situation on their right hands, borrowing from Palm reading practices, the left hand is the congenital hands and right is the present life. 

A shared experience was that their credentials and work experiences had been undermined or dismissed in Canada. While some of them  put themselves through and through re-training and training programmes ardently, they found themselves still being denied of promotion opportunities or posts that matched their capacities. Some found themselves too tired as they were handed over extra and intense work discriminatorily.   Married women faced extra hardship, as they doubled up as the principle caretaker of the family and w

ere contingent upon their husbands’ job requirements and locations. Affluent investment immigrants were not better off, as they burnt off money without the promised return, they had no inner peace. 

The Installation:  

I am/I am not  We all have to face the challenge of identity – Who we really are.  Immigrants are always facing identity issues, as no one fits into rigid categories, yet these rigid categories are always imposed or projected on us, or we at the same time want to maintain that we do fit in.   This is particularly true for people crossing boundaries or trying to cross boundaries, including immigrants.  Their recognition of their own selves, the projections denying them as well as being thrown on to them, created tensions that brought forth intense questions.  Four set of phrases were keyed onto the two sides of the flip mirrors for people to contemplate on or wrestle with, when they encounter their own images and the phrases together; people can fill in their own concerned identity or identity struggles, say, woman, Chinese, Canadian…..etc.

I am?  / I am Not        I am Not/You are    You are?/You are Not    You are Not/I am



Hands Off: Casts of their hands that captured their expressions about their current state of being are lying on the floor, while silenced video clippings are their self-introductions, their descriptions of their work situations in Cana

da, in three segments corresponding to an older male voice saying : Who are you?  You Are?  You Are Not. 

The on-location pictures of the hand casts are printed in small format on the wall.


inside 內窺 @HKVegfest (slides)

材料: 開了孔的老人及嬰兒奶粉罐, 塑膠乳牛, 豆奶粉, 小型照明, 小型黑光燈, 小型放大鏡

乳牛在產乳工業眼中, 並不是整全有生命和感覺的個體,  而是將她們物化為盛載和生產牛乳的工具, 是牛乳的化身, 又或是將她們的身體”割切”, 只剩下閃金的乳房. 乳牛是眾生之中苦難最深的動物之一, 她們被不停插入授精, 懷孕和生產 卻只得與初生的子女有一兩天共聚的時間, 便被強行分離, 即使她們犢情深, 然後她們都要超量生產乳汁, 卻生活在條件惡劣的環境, 她們的生產的大量排泄物也同時對環境和水源造成嚴重壓力,

materials: cans from milk powders for elders and for infants with small holes punched, plastic cow models, soy powder.  mini lights, mini black light,  mini magnifiers

Diary cows in the eyes of the milk production industry, are no longer sentient lives, but are being reduced to milk containers and/or milk producing machines. They may also been “dissected”  and cut down to what is “the gold plated milk sac”.

Diary cows are amongst the most suffering farm animals of all: frequently impregnated and gave birth so that they could continue to produce high quality and quantity of milk, but not for their beloved calves that would forcefully separated from them in a day or two. They are also left in deplorable situations, surrounded by their excrement that pollutes heavily the water bodies and its immediate environment.