Missed Connections is SAVAC’s new pedagogical and research platform that thrives on the intersections of various modes of thinking, doing and being. By bringing differing ideas, philosophies and artistic methodologies closer together, the program’s ethos unfolds in the power and necessity of convergence. With the intention of a deeper understanding of situated and syncretic artistic practice, the program attempts to arise curiosity and wonder through learning together and welcoming the unexpected. Missed Connections hopes to embody that fleeting moment of connection between people or ideas as an energetic field that we desire to hold on to.
Over the course of 2021, Missed Connections unfolds as a series of explorations by artists Hiba Ali, Parastoo Anoushahpour, Serena Lee, Aman Sandhu, and Annie Wong, whose projects take place concurrently as reading groups, learning exercises, sensory workshops, conversations, and guidebooks. Public events will materialize online (for now) and culminate in a digital compendium of visual and text-based learning tools.
The Black Indian Ocean Reading Series by Hiba Ali visualizes the histories and futures of African descent communities in the Indian Ocean region through curated film screenings and generative pedagogy.
Never No More Lonely by Aman Sandhu is a research project looking into improvisation, specifically forms of improvisation found in jazz as a methodology for decentering whiteness in artistic practice, from the studio to pedagogy to institution-making.
The time that separates us by Parastoo Anoushahpour considers Lot’s wife, an ancient salt-rock formation overlooking the Dead Sea, as a portal through which to face the contemporary Jordan River Valley and the stigmatized realms of desire, sexuality, and gender encoded within this highly mediated political landscape and its related sites of mythology.
Like the children’s word game, Opposite Day by Serena Lee is an entry point for playing with paradox through language and its limits. As an open-ended framework for embodied study inspired by oblique Daoist dialogues, Opposite Day brings the artist and ‘players’ together for a series of encounters across time zones and proximities, kneading the edges of talking and doing.
How to Be a Chinese Ally by Annie Wong is an anti-racism audio, print, and online resource in Mandarin and Cantonese for the Chinese community in Canada. In the form of personal essays and intimate conversations with Black and Indigenous artists and researchers, the resource documents Annie Wong and collaborator Chen Chen’s process of disentangling Chinese identity with white supremacy in light of their own vulnerability and complicity.
Parastoo Anoushahpour (Iran / Canada) is an artist originally from Tehran now based in Toronto working predominantly with video and installation. She holds a BA in Design for Performance, University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design; a Postgraduate Diploma from the Architectural Association School of Architecture (UK), and a Master of Fine Arts, Interdisciplinary Art, Media & Design from the Ontario College of Art & Design (Toronto). In 2019 she was artist in residence at the Mohammad and Mahera Abu Ghazaleh Foundation (Jordan), and a Chalmers Arts Fellow. Her recent solo and collaborative work has shown at Punto de Vista Film Festival, Tabakalera International Centre for Contemporary Art (Spain), Sharjah Film Platform, Viennale, NYFF, TIFF, IFF Rotterdam, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, Experimenta (Bangalore), and Media City Film Festival. www.p-f-r.com
Serena Lee’s practice stems from a fascination with polyphony and its radical potential for mapping power, perception and belonging. She plays with movement, language, cinema, dialogue, and space, practising collaboratively and aleatorically. Since 2010, Serena has worked with Read-in, collectively researching political, embodied, and situated practices of reading. Serena also collaborates with artist Christina Battle as SHATTERED MOON ALLIANCE, a framework for sci-fi world-building through living research and transmedia publication. Originally from Tkaronto/Toronto, Serena is currently a PhD candidate at the Akademie der bildenden künste Wien (Vienna, AT) and holds an Associate Diploma in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Annie Wong is a writer and multidisciplinary artist working in performance and installation. Conceptually diverse, her practice explores the intersections between the political and poetic in everyday life. Her current research focuses on the ways in which affective knowledge, particularly intergenerational feminist anger, the melancholy of ancestral amnesia, and hauntologies of diasporic displacement, are embodied in these muddied intersections. Wong’s practice is heavily collaborative and often engages diasporic communities to produce a collective form of carework as the basis for artistic production, allyship building, and spiritualism. Wong has presented across North America including at the Toronto Biennale of Art, Studio XX and SBC Gallery (Montreal, QC), Third Space Gallery (Saint John, NB), and has been awarded residencies with the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Power Plant (Toronto, ON), The Khyber Centre for the Arts (Halifax, NS), Banff Centre for Creativity and Art (Banff, AL), and is currently the community artist in resident at the Varley Art Gallery. Her literary works in poetry, art writing, and non-fiction can be found in Koffler.Digital, The Shanghai Literary Review, C Magazine, Canadian Art, and MICE Magazine.