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Empty Orchestra

Up close view of mouth with a karaoke singer on each tooth

Works by:

Candice Breitz, Wong Gongxin, Christian Jankowski, Karen Tam, Iichiro Tanaka

Empty Orchestra

October 16–November 13, 2008

Curated by Maiko Tanaka and Heather Keung

Presented in collaboration with the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival and Gendai Gallery

Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

Empty Orchestra explores karaoke (the word from which the exhibition title is translated) and its relationship to contemporary art and cultural diasporas. Karaoke originated in the ‘70s in Japan, and quickly entered many other cultural contexts. The exhibition presents works by Canadian and international artists who embrace, challenge, and query notions of karaoke as a medium of individual expression and collective identity.

Examining the phenomenon of karaoke as a commodified interface between technology and culture, the artists in the exhibition address its effects on social activity, diasporic communities, and popular culture in a global context. Empty Orchestra asks, among other questions, whether karaoke asserts a prescribed form of cultural expression, or, in its performative imperfections, allows possibilities for resistance.

Closing Reception + Karaoke After-Party

Thursday November 13th, 2008, 7-11pm
Featuring the work of Weekend Leisure, Vancouver-based karaoke video collective
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery
Arbor Room, Hart House

Artist Talk with Karen Tam

Monday October 20th, 2008, 7pm
Featuring Karen Tam
Hart House

Empty Orchestra LIVE

Friday November 14th, 2008, 8:30 pm
The Rivoli, 334 Queen St West


Featuring commissioned karaoke videos by Stephanie Comilang, Ann Marie Fleming, Alison Kobayashi, Karilynn Ming Ho, and Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay, made in collaboration with local Karaoke superstars.

Media Coverage

Our Supporters

We gratefully acknowledge the project support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Title Image: Iichiro Tanaka, Classical Music karaoke (video still), 2006. Interactive video installation, DVD. 11.5 min. Courtesy of Yuka Sasahara Gallery

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