[Audio/Visual Support]

Password: BCAC

The whitepages project is an object-oriented multimedia installation, with scheduled live performance. It examines the phone book as an archive, simultaneously mediating its continuous present and contextualized history. Using projected datasets, generative number pad sound composition, and prepared/modified phone books, whitepagescreates a space to examine names, phone numbers, addresses, and their ongoing relationships to communities of diaspora as citizens and as settlers. 

Today’s population in BC’s Lower Mainland is much more Chinese, vastly different from the one that I grew up with. The rapid influx of Chinese migration from the late 80’s to the early 2000’s was a result of overseas global events, particular foreign policy, and Canada’s now defunct immigrant investor program (IIP); the phone book becomes a time capsule of conditions preceding our contemporary concerns regarding the housing market crisis and linguistic policy. It raises questions about who was permitted to own land, who was recognized according to the government, and even points to a rumoured time when Chinese were allowed to own land, but were recognized by the label ‘CHINESE’ instead of by name in phone books. With contemporary technology, we are now at the tail end of transacting public ‘information’ into the currency of public ‘data’. Access to this digital material is immediate, direct, and efficient. The phone book offers an alternative perspective, one that holds the complexities and weight of the decisions that brought us here.

This project is developed in collaboration with artist and researcher Kevin Day.

No Foreigners is a multimedia performance that meditates on North American Chinese shopping malls as racialized spaces of cultural creation and clash. Several original stories begin in a mall and quickly diverge—catapulting across cities, between Cantonese and English, in and out of the afterlife, and through past, present, and future.

Through live performance and a micro-to-macro camera apparatus, No Foreigners weaves together text, miniatures, and media design as it attempts to unpack what is at the heart of “Chineseness” and what the future can hold for all of us as visitors and settlers.

No Foreigners was created by Hong Kong Exile (Vancouver) and fu-GEN Theatre (Toronto), produced in association with Theatre Conspiracy (Vancouver) and the Theatre Centre (Toronto).