Gabi Dao

An artist, organizer and editor/producer of the irregularly published Here Nor There podcast series. Dao co-organizes events, exhibitions, musical performances with collaborators at Duplex, a studio and project space on unceded Musquem, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh lands. She has been involved in various exhibitions and projects at artist run centres and galleries in Vancouver, Calgary and Winnipeg. In 2016 Dao was the recipient of the Portfolio Prize and in 2017 was nominated for The Contemporary Art Society of Vancouver Artist Prize.


  • Artspeak Radio Digest

    September 18–November 27, 2018




    Artspeak Radio Digest is a three month long program, run in partnership with Vancouver Co-op Radio a community radio station based in the Downtown Eastside since 1973. Taking the form of an audio journal, ARD is an expanded approach to the organization’s publishing program. Each show has been conceived as an issue of an audio journal. Interdisciplinary in its approach, the digest format will feature new commissions, sound works, poetry, radio plays and music amongst other forms utilizing radio as a medium. The program will be collectively produced and hosted by Brady Cranfield, Gabi Dao, Emma Metcalfe-Hurst and Autumn Schnell with support from Bopha Chhay and Erik Hood.

    The form of radio can seem overtly nostalgic. Why radio? Why now? Artists have long harnessed airwaves as a medium. Radio has long provided a distinct alternative for the presentation of artistic practice outside of the gallery. Radio shifts focus from the visual to the aural, challenging visual primacy in artistic practice. Co-op’s programming has included shows by artists since it’s founding. These include the long-standing Soundscape, first founded by Hildegard Westerkamp, The HP Radio Show hosted by Hank Bull and Patrick Ready and Lux Radio Players.

    Airwaves as a medium presents other challenges. Seemingly intangible, airwaves do not escape commodification, as corporations jockey for licensing rights. Actively working to counter commercial interests, Co-op’s community based programming remains distinct in its prioritization of perspectives, forms and voices not heard through conventional media avenues. Public broadcast regulations dictate what we can say and play during certain hours, as we’re obligated to abide by national broadcasting standards. There are things we can say, things we can’t say and things we won’t say. In Canada, after 9pm, restrictions and quotas ease up. Be sure to tune in weekly to CFRO 100.5-FM beginning Tuesday, September 18, 2018 from 9 to 10pm PST for the first issue of Artspeak Radio Digest.

    Thank you to our partners at Vancouver Co-op Radio, Robert Moya and Kimit Sekhon.

    ARD is part of year of programming at Artspeak that considers ways of learning and studying together as a collaborative process and practice. Upcoming programming will challenge the role of the artist-run center, notably asking how it can contribute to creating space allowing for new forms of engagement to reimagine current limits in cultural production and shape alternative practices. Before the rain really sets in, we’ll take a short hike to Mount Seymour where Co-op’s Transmitter has been located since 1982.

  • Noise gives the listener duration as an artifact

    February 11–March 18, 2017








    Gabi Dao, Voices Tuned (Like a Native Speaker Speaking, 1988), 2017, sound, 9 min 01 sec

    The title of this show is borrowed from Lisa Robertson’s prose essay ‘Disquiet’.(1) I find myself returning to Robertson in her writings on how noise/sound can constitute a distinct social fabric; how the convergence of the sonic, temporal, spatial is materialized and tethered to place.

    In acknowledging and being attentive to understanding the ways that we are part of the soundscape, as observers and producers, how does our being simultaneous with it provide a means through which to translate the associations and experiences sound carries? What are the possibilities of listening as a practice that can inform our personal and political agency? In thinking about the systems through which sound circulates, which are the voices that we hear and which are the voices that we do not hear? Works by Vancouver-based artists GABI DAO, STEVE HUBERT and DB BOYKO offer divergent approaches in their considerations of how the ‘intangible’ nature of sound can be materialized. Their practices navigate the space between transmission of information and reception, listening and response. How do we give and determine form to what is not immediately visually discernable?


    Foundational to Boyko’s practice as a vocalist is her consideration of how we work towards resolving our vulnerabilities within sounding and voicing. Boyko’s contributions to the exhibition will consist of two events; a workshop and a concert performance. In uenced by Pauline Oliveros’s Deep Listening practice, Boyko’s workshop sessions The Empty Vessel Makes the Loudest Sound invites participants to conduct an embodied form of listening. These exercises work towards achieving a heightened awareness of sound, silence and sounding, through which one can begin to differentiate between hearing and attentive listening. In consideration of how the act of listening can alter our spatial perception the trio ‘Hubbub’ (of which Boyko is a part) will perform one evening, playing the reverberations of Artspeak’s space through Theremin, Glasses and Cello.


    The conch shell has long been an instrument used in ritual and ceremony. To make a public declaration, breath channeled through the form of the conch sounds off an announcement. Here, Gabi Dao’s work Polished Like A Shell a conch shell remains mute. The adjacent radio is tuned to 88.9 FM, a frequency inhabited by those who chose to do so without license. This frequency plays host to Dao’s sound piece Voices Tuned (Like a Native Speaker Speaking, 1988). A layering of voices and intertwined narratives trace the perimeters of disparate dialogues where questions remain unanswered. In Voices Tuned (Like a Native Speaker Speaking, 1988) Dao responds to tapes she found of her mother practicing English. Common questions and phrases that one might find useful if you live in British Columbia; remarks in regards to the weather, inquiring into favourable sea kayaking conditions and other such activities. The fragmented nature of the voices due to variations in accent and tone is further entangled through the use of multiple recording technologies; voices recorded on tape, narratives run through text to speech software, recorded voices with a lowered pitch, mastered and finally experienced and received as a radio broadcast. Voices Tuned becomes a mediation on the process of listening and the various responses that are consequently shaped.


    Steve Hubert’s The Rich Interior Life II is a mind map that sketches out the process of listening, hearing and being attentive. There is no singular path or narrative that leads you to any particular destination, only a multiplicity of possibilities. There is no prescribed objective or outcome, only digressions that lead to commas. The viewer equally becomes the author and producer in determining the desired cognitive path. The Rich Interior Life II offers unfettered visual formations in an attempt to decipher what it means to listen, or hear. There’s a generosity that encourages an unlearning and ways to dismantle in order to engage alternatives. Similarly Hubert’s Poster Designs 1-6, are sketches of movie posters found online. They are attempts to map out a visual rhythm, before commencing the gestural painting process. Without obvious symbols and signi ers they behave as a blueprint. The movement and colour India ink of the sketch are almost like morse code ashes. Their formation operates in the manner of a sentence in construction. As it asserts itself, duration remains open ended.

    1  Lisa Robertson, Nilling, Bookthug, 2012, 57.

    Postscript 68: Alice Wang on Noise gives the listener duration as an artifact

Talks & Events

  • Prairie Aunties On The Coast

    October 18, 2018


    Organized by Autumn Schnell with an opening by Salia Joseph.

    The event was recorded for broadcast as a feature on Artspeak Radio Digest, which airs Tuesdays, 9-10pm on CFRO 100.5 FM Vancouver.

    Autumn Schnell is a Gwich’in tr’iinjoo currently residing on unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh lands while studying at the University of British Columbia as a First Nations and Indigenous studies major. Autumn was raised in amiskwacîwâskahikan and recently moved to Vancouver, now working as a research assistant for HASTAC 2019 and somehow finding time to write in her spare time.

    Billy-Ray Belcourt is from the Driftpile Cree Nation. He is a PhD student and 2018 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. This Wound is a Worldis his first book and it won the 2018 Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize, the 2018 Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize, and a 2018 Indigenous Voices Award. It was a finalist for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry and was named by CBC Books as the best collection of Canadian poetry in 2017. His next book, NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the Field, is due out with House of Anansi Press in the fall of 2019.

    Emily Riddle is a policy analyst/writer/researcher. She is nehiyaw, a member of Alexander First Nation in Treaty 6. She has been published in Canadian Art, Discorder, the Globe and Mail, and Teen Vogue. She is dedicated to Treaty feminism, reality tv, and double denim.

    Jessica Johns is Cree and a member of Sucker Creek First Nation in Treaty 8 territory in northern Alberta and is currently living, working, and learning on the traditional territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. She is the poetry editor for PRISM international, and is a co-organizer of the Indigenous Brilliance reading series in Vancouver. Her debut chapbook, How Not to Spill, is forthcoming with Rahila’s Ghost Press and will be out at the end of October, 2018.

    Samantha Nock is a Cree-Metis writer and poet from Treaty 8 territory in Northeast British Columbia, her family is originally from Ile-a-la-Crosse, Saskatchewan. She has been published in Canadian Art, SAD Mag, GUTS, and PRISM International, among others. Samantha is the host of Heavy Content, a podcast that explores the representations of fat people in the media.

    Thank you to our partners at Vancouver Co-op Radio, Kimit Sekhon and Robert Moya.

    We’re located on the unceded and occupied traditional territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations. We are thankful to live on these lands as uninvited guests.

  • The Empty Vessel Makes the Loudest Sound

    March 2, 2017

    Listening is an experiential practice that invites the exploration of sound and silence. Tuning into the sound of the breath elicits a heightened awareness of ourselves and connects us to our surrounding environment. Active listening is fundamental to all artistic endeavours, and particularly relevant to explorations in acoustic ecology, sound-walking, and music composition.

    All are welcome. It is recommended to wear warm and comfortable clothing. Please feel free to bring a yoga mat.


    February 21, 2017

    Performing a convergence of sound in space and spontaneous composition, Hubbub is a foray into experimental acoustic and electronic music. Christine Duncan (theremin/voice), DB Boyko (glass harmonica/voice) and Andreas Kahre (percussion/electric celllo) will perform two sets in the exhibition space. This event will be Hubbub’s first performance in Vancouver.

    First set

    Second set