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Faculty of Community Services

Taien Ng-Chan



Email Address:


  • Media arts


I am a writer and media artist whose work investigates everyday urban life through experimental and locative cinema, cartography, poetry, and documentary. I’ve published four books and anthologies, produced multimedia CDs and websites, and written for stage, screen, and radio. My video and media works have been shown across Canada, in the US, Korea, New Zealand, Sweden, and the UK. I’m a founding member of the Hamilton Perambulatory Unit (HPU), and I currently teach Media Arts at York University.

My current project for the FCS Artist-in-Residency is The Trajectories of Things, which proposes to trace the global movement of people through objects that act as repositories of meaning, as links to heritage or generational memories, and as symbols of identity. The concept is based on the idea of “thing poetry” (as practiced by poets such as Francis Ponge and Pablo Neruda) and what I am calling “object-oriented storytelling.” The project aims to investigate how ideas of home and belonging manifest themselves in daily life. During my residency at Ryerson’s Faculty of Community Services, I will meet with students, staff, faculty and the general public in order to gather stories and photos of things that have “memory value” for each person, which will then become the basis of the final experimental documentary work.

Current Courses:

Teaching interests:   

  • Media art
  • Cinema
  • Art and cartography
  • Spatial theory

Selected Publications:


  • Pavitra Wickramasinghe: Book of Light and Shadows (Artist exhibition catalog essay author and book designer). Montreal: FoFA Gallery, 2013.
  • Navigating Customs (co-editor). Montreal: Cumulus Press, 2007.
  • Maps of Our Bodies & the Borders We Have Agreed Upon. Montreal: Cumulus Press, 2005.
  • ribsauce: a CD/anthology of words by women (editor + contributor). Montreal: Véhicule Press & Wired on Words, 2001.


  • “Locating the Critically Creative Quotidian” in What is our Role: Artists in Academia and the Post-knowledge Economy. Toronto: YYZ Books. 2017, Fall (forthcoming).
  • “Detouring the Map” in Engaging Affects/Thinking Feelings. Susan Driver, Kara Stone and Melanie Patenaude, editors. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016. 62-78.  (peer-reviewed)
  • “Performing City Transit” in Mobility and Locative Media: Mobile Technology in Hybrid Spaces. Adriana de Souza e Silva and Mimi Sheller, editors. New York: Routledge, 2015. 115-131. (peer-reviewed)
  • “Acadie Fence” in Objects in Context: Theorizing Material Culture. Stephanie Anderson and Cierra Webster, editors. London, Ontario: Lulu, 2013. 25-37. (peer-reviewed)

Journal articles:

  •  “Towards the Detour: Commuting as Mobile Making” in Wi: Journal of Mobile Media 11(1), 2017. (peer-reviewed)
  • “Detouring the Commute (the art and practice of everyday travel).” Archée revue d'art en ligne : arts médiatiques & cyberculture, Fall 2016.
  • “Machinic Assemblages" essay accompanying the artist exhibition Proximities: Nahed Mansour, Lee Nutbean and Giles Whitaker at the Hamilton Artists Inc., July 18th-August 13th, 2016.
  • “Mapping Out Patience: Cinema, Cartography, and W.G. Sebald” in Humanities 4(4), 2015: 554-568. doi:10.3390/h4040554 (peer-reviewed)

Professional Affiliations:

  • Career Development Grant, Ontario Arts Council, 2016
  • Canada Council for the Arts, Production Grant , 2015 (also in 2009, 2006, 2005, 2003, 2002, 1999)
  • International Cartographers Association Research Scholarship, 2015
  • Accelerator Award, Concordia University, 2015
  • Doctoral Award of Excellence, Concordia University, 2013 - 2014
  • Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Doctoral Scholarship, SSHRC, 2010 - 2013
  • Concordia University Special Entrance Award, 2010
  • Travel grant, Québec Conseil des Art et des Lettres, 2010 (also in 2009)
  • Writing Grant, Québec Conseil des Art et des Lettres, 2006 (also in 1999)

Selected Publications & Presentations:

  • Stratigraphic City (interactive video installation). Downtown/s: Urban Renewal Today for Tomorrow, the Art Gallery of Windsor Triennial of Contemporary Art, Windsor, ON, 2017.

  • Reconnaissance: Windsor Armouries (participatory walk, image and textile installation). As part of the Hamilton Perambulatory Unit and in collaboration with In/terminus Research Collective. Downtown/s: Urban Renewal Today for Tomorrow, the Art Gallery of Windsor Triennial of Contemporary Art, Windsor, ON, 2017.

  • Strata-Walk: Mile End Version (participatory walk and mapping). As part of the Hamilton Perambulatory Unit. Montreal Monochrome IV: Study Hall, articule artist-run centre, Montreal, 2016.

  • Superhighway Suspense Movie (video). 6:39. Stories of the City exhibition, In/terminus Research Collective (2015), Windsor, ON, 2015.

  • Km2 (participatory walk  + city-film). As part of the HPU. Hamilton Artists Inc., ON, 2014.

  • The Multi-Dimensional Mapping Device (experimental collaborative video) 16:21. Screened at the International Cartographers Convention, Dresden, Germany, 2013.

  • Streets of the Saints (video), “Narrating Place” Exhibit, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia, 2013.

  • L’Acadie Fence, Montréal (digital photo-collage panorama). Contested Site: Archives & the City, FOFA Gallery, Montreal, 2012.

  • Essaie (multimedia mapping website) Developed using the Matricules archives at Studio XX in Montréal. Presented at Wired Women Salon #91, 2012.

  • Detours: Poetics of the City (multimedia mapping website) Developed in residence at Agence TOPO; launched at the Biennale internationale d’art numérique, Montreal, 2012; exhibited at Cross Sections, Modern Literature and Culture Research Centre (MLC), Ryerson University, 2014.

  • 80 du Parc (S16 & S8 film, video) 24:12. Cambridge International Super 8 Film Festival, Cambridge, UK, 2011; Square Pegs 4, Modern Fuel Artist Centre, Kingston, 2011.

  • Metro (experimental video) 1:20. What Happens When Nothing Happens, Gallery Rotor, Gothenburg, Sweden (May) and FOFA Gallery, Montreal, QC, Canada (September), 2009.

  • Three Seconds (photo collage with soundtrack) Visual Voice Gallery, Montreal, QC, 2009.

  • Heart-ache: Three Poems (video) 10:15. Dong-Seo University, Busan, S. Korea, 2008; Time Off, Gallery Art Mûr, Montréal, QC, 2008; the Play Chthonics/On Edge Reading Series, Vancouver, BC, 2009.

  • Roadmaps (video) 8:14 / Orange (video) 1:21 / Thin Walls (16 mm film) 11:00. Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival; Shockerfest International Film Festival, California, USA; Visible Verse, Vancouver, BC. 2005.

  • The Red Ribbon (16 mm film) 4:33. Winner of the Michel Trudel Award. Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, Vancouver Asian Film Festival, Regent Park Film Festival, Boulder Asian Film Festival, Colorado; Austin Asian Film Festival, Texas. 2004.

Position Currently Held:

FCS Artist-in-Residence (2017-18)

Creative activity
Awards and Honours

Contact details

What is your thing?

Share your memories of a thing that you value, particularly if it has no particular use or value, for my project: The Trajectory of Things