Long blue graphic with a green snakey curve at the top left overlaid on a stingray, a hand holding a starfish top right, a hand with the palm up holding shells and coral stretching up from the bottom right, and the text “Bodies of Knowledge” running across the graphic

The Project

Bodies of Knowledge is a digital zine publication that aims to critically archive and highlight significant media art pieces created by Asian Canadian media artists.

This publication includes three components:

(i) a curated selection of media artworks;
(ii) critical commentary written by Asian Canadian media researchers, curators, and community writers; and
(iii) primary narratives including oral stories, photographs, paraphernalia and correspondence, collected from the Asian Canadian community.

We seek to address gaps in critical engagement with artwork from the Asian diasporic community, trace relational contexts of creation and nurture interdisciplinary dialogue. Bodies of Knowledge is scheduled to be publicly released at the start of 2022 along with programmed community activations.

Any questions and inquiries can be directed toward hello.tacla@gmail.com!

Call for Community Writers!

We are looking for community writers from the Asian community who are interested in responding critically to the work of media artists that will be featured in this publication. We welcome writers especially in the early stages of their portfolio-building to apply!

  1. Writers are expected to produce a piece of criticism in either (text, audio / visual or mixed media formats) in response to an artist featured in the publication.
  2. Writers will be required to dialogue with their selected artist, and respond to the larger thematic questions the Bodies of Knowledge publication is exploring at.
  3. If selecting audio or visual formats, please note that writers are expected to have all equipment needed to complete their criticism piece. We are currently not able to provide support in equipment or production.

We are able to pay a $250 honorarium per piece, roughly calculated to be $0.25/word for 1000 words! We advise all writers to thoughtfully scale their work to the size of this honorarium.

Applications are due end of day June 30th. We will accept late submissions up to 6 a.m. for you night owls!

This gallery allows you to preview the entirety of the application form.

A note that not all artists featured in Bodies of Knowledge have been listed on page 2 of the application. Artists not listed here have already been assigned writers.

Contextual Points of Departure

The impetus behind the Bodies Of Knowledge project is to give more life and attention to the work being done by artists in our communities.

As art is created, it often moves beyond the grasp of the community contexts which it might draw from. This, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. However, as current models of critical engagement meant to draw art into communal conversation often represent and centre a limited set of perspectives. As communities who play a big role in nurturing the possibilities of those art forms lose access and are not engaged any further, these repeating exclusions, over time, reinforce the consumption, appreciation and circulation of art in set pathways. 

In thinking through digital archival, we hope to be creative and caring in our methods, in direct protest of the extractive pathways that the art industries often tread when it comes to exhibiting and taking up art. Whether it be discourse, presentation or even value, the communal relations from which the work arises are often disappeared by the time the art piece is literally white boxed.

Bodies of Knowledge connects the creation of critical theory to TACLA’s principles of community-engaged contexts.

  • What would it mean to collect and value communal stories and voices that inform and engage the impact and performance of media arts work?
  • What does it mean to present those stories, contexts, subtexts alongside more conventional forms of critical theory?
  • How can we present them through innovative digital formats in an open and accessible way? 

TACLA Staff Ideation – Making Bodies of Knowledge

microscopic cross sections of an elm branch on the left and sumac on the right, laid over a background composite of brown acrylic paint, a blue stripe line and a photo of water.
Intergalactic, Kelly Lui
a figure of Death Note character L sitting in a brown leather chair getting a digital perm set against a red background with rows of orange circles. L’s hair looks like lightning under the perm machine’s tentacly contraptions.
Digital Kink, Grayson Lee
a combination of rocky and river landscapes overlaid on a coral sky with a rock where the moon would be. there are four red doorway portals embedded in the landscape. a grey heron is stalking in the foreground with red string trailing out its beak onto the rocks.
Portal in Coral, Nam Hoang
The language of sea matter, Özge Dilan Arslan

The language of sea matter, header banner also by Özge Dilan Arslan.

a figure of Death Note character L sitting in a brown leather chair getting a digital perm set against a red background with rows of orange circles. L’s hair looks like lightning under the perm machine’s tentacly contraptions.
Witness, Melina Mehr
a textured background comprised of images of topographies and landscapes from the macro level of cityscapes to micro images of nerve systems. a papercut basic hive tessellation is superimposed on the left side of the  image with various human arms snaking in and out and amongst the lines. There is a large hand stretching across the lower third of the image toward a flame at the bottom right.
Tessellating, Jasmine Gui

This publication is supported by the