Ho Tam was born in Hong Kong, educated in Canada and the United States. Tam worked in advertising companies and community psychiatric facilities before turning to art. His artistic practice includes photography, video, painting and print media. Tam has produced over 20 experimental videos. His feature documentary film “Books of James” was awarded Outstanding Artistic Achievement (Outfest, LA) and Best Feature Documentary (Tel Aviv LGBT Film Festival). He has also published several series of artist’s books and zines under Hotam Press. Tam is an alumni of the Whitney Museum Independent Studies Program, and Bard College (MFA).
– May Day – Mayday – Maydaze –
ALY DE LA CRUZ YIP, HO TAM, TANIA WILLARD
May 1–June 12, 2021
– May Day – Mayday – Maydaze – features three new print commissions by aly de la cruz yip, Ho Tam, and Tania Willard, organized by Artspeak and Moniker Press. With a focus on print and publishing methods designed to meet urgent needs and modes of distribution, we opted for the effectiveness of risograph printing. The risograph prints and wallpaper are displayed in the window space at Artspeak, while the gallery remains closed to the public. These prints are available for purchase via Artspeak and Moniker Press, with all proceeds going to the DTES Response Fund.
The artists included in this show are known for their consistent engagement with expanded printmaking and publishing techniques. We were drawn to the ways their artistic practices are informed by and firmly grounded in their commitment to organizing in their respective communities. aly de la cruz yip is a member of WePress collective: a group of artists and community organizers who work to promote self-expression by providing workshops on historic and contemporary methods of print and art making for the community of the Downtown Eastside. Ho Tam runs a press and bookshop/gallery, providing a space for artists and cultural producers whose practices frequently question and complicate the idea of the Nation State. Tania Willard runs the collaborative project BUSH Gallery; a conceptual, land-based gallery grounded in Indigenous knowledge and relational art practices.
aly de la cruz yip’s work combines multiple mediums, gravitating towards analogue techniques such as letterpress, blockprinting and silkscreen. de la cruz yip’s work brings together sensory imagery familiar to the neighbourhoods of Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside. Featuring ginkgo leaves, chrysanthemum buds, floating joss paper, and a reclamation of their bat relatives, find home in ritual is reminiscent of a stroll down East Pender Street in early spring.
Ho Tam’s The Greatest Stories Ever Told is an extension of an artist’s book series of the same title. So far, Tam has produced different variations of this book in 14 different languages. The collages therein utilizes images taken from banknotes. Removing these symbols of significance from their intended context as the design of national currencies, Tam brings into question ideological narratives of the Nation State. Which stories and historical figures are perpetuated, circulated and given value, and how can we reconfigure what constitutes value?
Tania Willard’s Memorandum of Understanding is a continuation of a query around land and value, from a series of work Snowbanks and other Investments(2020). Memorandum of Understanding pairs legalese with representations of land to consider the way bureaucratic processes and language assert land rights. The legalese of colonial institutions is a firm reminder of the different understandings underpinning our relationships to land.
An edition of 100, these prints are available for purchase via Artspeak and Moniker Press, with all proceeds going to the DTES Response Fund.
– Bopha Chhay and Erica Wilk
TERENCE ANTHONY, MISHTU BANERJEE, NICK BANTOCK, FRANK BESSELINK, GEORGE BOWERING, JANISSE BROWNING, BRICE CANYON, MÉIRA COOK, JUDITH COPITHORNE, CHARLENE DIEHL-JONES, DIANNA FRID, HIROMI GOTO, JAMELIE HASSAN, JAMILA ISMAIL, PETER JAEGER, ANDREW KLOBUDA, YASMIN LADHA, TIM LANDER, KATY MCKELVEY, ROY MIKI, EARL MILLER, WREFORD MILLER, MARY ANNE MOSER, ERIN MOURÉ, BP NICHOL, ALEXANDRA OLIVER, EMILY PARKE, ED PIEN, IAN RASHID, RENEE RODIN, SONIA SMEE, ERIN SOROS, HO TAM, CAROLE THORPE, BARB TURNER, ALVIN VIEIRA, FRED WAH, VICTORIA WALKER, TIM WESTBURY, STEPHANIE WHITE, JANICE WILLIAMSON, SCOTT WILSON, KIRA WU, JIN-ME YOON, GREG YOUNG-ING, SYLVIA ZIEMANN, JOHANNES ZITS
November 25–December 17, 1994
The title fo this show might imply some sort of apocalyptic finale to books as we know them. Or it might signify a pair of upstanding objects gently holding in place volumes of knowledge. And it might refer to some teleological good whereby books, these books, situated here in this artistic space, somehow fulfill their purpose. But above all, to me, this show is about transgressions and conjunctions. All the books here are signs of their makers, the book-producers who created these works in order to resist, to challenge, to demarcate, to influence, to engage with, to complement, and to add to their own often private, often public worlds. What seems most important is the subtitle of this show, something I tacked on a considerable time after the exhibition was in the planning, the phrase: “interesting books from interested people”. In this ironically bland language is a strong sense of connection, a way of addressing the issues of bookness without eliding that which makes the book so “interesting”—its producers and its readers. I should add that part of what makes this so interesting to me is the way the west-ness of this show is located. Often showcased as a largely European, American, or at least “metropolitan” art form, book-works exhibitions tend to draw from various, often elitist, quarters. Virtually all the works in BOOK ENDS (WEST) were produced in Alberta and British Columbia, many of them with regional audiences in mind. This in itself, however, does not remove us from the realm of elitism; although much of the work in the show speaks from places of social/political disenfranchisement, it is well worth noting that much of the work being produced today—through mainstream publishers, the small press scene, and even subversive, alternative means—is itself reflective of how power structures operate and reporduce themselves, often with alrmingly exclusionary results within the academic, literary, and visual art worlds. Keeping this in mind is crucial, particularly in the confusing apce we now inhabit, where such artforms as printing a publishing become increasingly easier and more accessible even as the numbers of those who really have full access are diminishing rapidly.
But what follows is a series of conjunctions that attempt to show how this exhibition is cumulative and how these texts and their producers come together with purpose and longing in the land to the west. The complete list of texts is available elsewhere—the text below is roughly comparable to a selectively random stroll through the show.
and I being with Alvin Vieira and Wing’s Book of Names, a formal book after all, with pages, binding, and text—a difference, though, in that the pages are of seaweed; the binding, a basket; and the text, single-word name-histories of one branch of the artist’s family tree
but how is Patron(age) any different except as a technological telling of the self, an inscription of Andrew Klobuda’s own name caught and replayed in the act of consumer tallying and seeing Kira Wu retell her own image through the telling images of magazined others, imposed and exposed in the 10 Most Beautiful Women or looking at Wreford Miller so carefully handtying his Lyrics for Janisse and how does that move into and over Bikertrucker, scripted and drawn by the hands of Janisse Browning and Terence Anthony
though convention is subverted when Mary Anne Moser boxes a site-specific outdoor art event in theGraceland Art Rodeo, where the pages can be artifacts, memories, or pieces of glass
and glass is where Carole Thorpe is at with handblown pieces sitting around and on top of Vibernum
however, there’s also the book-installation pieces by Sylvia Ziemann, pushing us further from the text, but are these miniatures then not-text, meta-text, or a radically altered text
or are other miniatures, these ones by Roy Miki, single-line poems that become their own books, somehow more texty than minimalism
and what about th unreadabil;ity of Dépaysé from Renee Rodin, unreadable,m that is, without borrowing a microfich reader
but then there’s also an unreadability to the books of disOrientation chapbooks, a project I co-produce with Nicole Markotic, whose Tracking the Game is present here along with other disObooks, the challange here to find new ways to hold these books together, ways to complement the writing with the presentation of the book
although sometimes books are read as unread in Peter Jeager’s bolted-down reading of Kierkegaard
but then we see Brice Canyon and his triad of books, all perfect bound and pushing into and away from the conventions of arist-books
or a glance at the commercially-popular Griffin & Sabine produced by Nick Bantock and the question arises as to what makes a book “work”, that is, sell, in a bookstore and how does this work in our minds as bookmakeers, bookreaders
yet from the other end, produced by Barb Turner as an alternative to the run-of-the-mill public school assignments, is Gates to the Unknown, whose pages reconfigure our ways of reading books
and then there’s Randall Thomas who Abandoned Texts all over Calgary to see which ones would find their way home, all in the name of re-covering books from other publishings
though sometimes returns (read: distribution) comes in different ways as in the postcard project of Jin-Me Yoon’s Souvenirs of the Self and Hiromi Goto’s Tea, whereby the only suitable means of reading seems to be to stamp them and move them along to a friend
however, sometimes publishing is a means away from distribution and more of the process, as in the case with the three-envelope piece, a paper byproduct of a travelling writing workshop led by Robert Kroetsch, Aritha van Herk, and Fred Wah through the badlands of Alberta
or the ongoing wiritngs of Vancouver street poet Tim Lander, whose Ballad of Ronnie Walker is only one of countless works self-published by him and many others
and of course there are others still, working in basements and studios and offices and printshops and just about everyplace else, and some of their works are here but many more are not, and there is still so much yet to produce though the means are often a luxury and the book just a means of production and yet
book ends (west)
~an exhibition of intersting-looking books from interested people~
In November/94, the Vancouver artist-run centre Artspeak will be hosting “book ends (west)”, or what I’m calling ” an exhibition of interesting-looking books from interesting people”. As curator, my intent is to look for work produced, for the most part, in western Canada. I want to emphasize that I’m not necessarily looking for work produced by established artists, or even by people who consider themselves artists. What I am looking for are books of any kind—literary, visual, playful, whatever—which challenge the very idea of “bookness”, produced by anyone who has an interest in the question of making books. Work included in this exhibition may be books produced in multiples or as unique pieces. They may be made from paper, wood, or any other material you can imagine. But most importantly are the producers of the bookworks themselves: to reiterate, I’m hoping to receive work from a range of people, from established artists and writers to those who have never considered themselves to be creati e producers of any kind. Of particular, but not exclusive, interest for this exhibition are “bookproducers” who consider themselves disenfranchised from general cultural/artistic circles.
Please submit work or queries to me c/o English Department, University of Calgary […]
All accepted work will be reutrned after the exhibition.
Deadline for submissions is Nov. 1, 1994
– May Day – Mayday – Maydaze –
Artist: aly de la cruz yip, Ho Tam, Tania Willard
Publisher: Artspeak, Moniker Press
Printer: Erica Wilk, Moniker Press
Year published: 2021
Process: Risograph printed on 65# Natural Cover with medium blue, kelly green, yellow, bright red, green, purple, fluoro orange and pink rice bran inks
Dimensions: 279 x 431 mm
Weight: 4.5g each
Cost: $15 each; $40 for set of three
Proceeds to support a DTES-based charity
‘The Greatest Stories Ever Told’ is a collection of stories written in the style of poetry, a fable, or a nursery rhyme. The stories range from melodrama to political satire, and are inspired by collages made up of images found on international banknotes. This print designed for – May Day – is a selection of the images from these stories.
The images found on banknotes often depict important historical figures, symbols, landscape, architecture, fauna and flora as relating to the pride and legacy of the respective countries. By extracting these images I am interested in disrupting their original context. Placing them in the same space side by side, allows us to remove the material boundaries of the banknotes, and to examine the wider power structures around us, and to reconsider and question the ideological narratives of the Nation States.
HOTAM PRESS is a vanity press established by the artist Ho Tam. His self-important projects include three book series: THE GREATEST STORIES EVER TOLD, POSER and HOTAM. Recently, Hotam Press has ambitiously opened its physical bookshop/gallery space in Vancouver, Canada where print-based and original artwork by artists are exhibited regularly. Other collaborative projects by Hotam Press with other artists include XXXZINES and 88BOOKS.
aly dela cruz yip
a moiré pattern to make bad energy and spirits dizzy,
maybe not the time
when hybridity doesn’t feel harmonious
it’s time to go
image description: unlit abstracted joss papers (no gold) cascade and circle through the air, five cartoonish bats soar towards an unknown common centre, a few from behind and in-between ginkgo leaves in the two bottom corners. there are a few chrysanthemum buds floating amongst the leaves, all before a backdrop of a chaotic grid referencing ilokano inabel.
‘Memorandum of understanding’ extends some of the thinking around land and value from a previous series of work, Snowbanks and other Investments (2020). This work considers bureaucratic processes and language in generative ways that pair legalese with representations of land.