01.09.17 Annie Wong: The Centre for Communication and Poetry Research

Exhibition: January 9th – 12th at the Saint John Free Public Library, 1 Market Square, Saint John, NB

Artist talk and Closing Reception: Friday, January 13th at 7:00 PM at Third Space Gallery, 407-89 Canterbury Street, Saint John, NB

The Centre for Communication and Poetry Research is a pop-up research centre interested in proving the hypothesis that the underlying purpose of communication is to elicit the feeling of someone else’s attentive presence. Contrary to the priority given to the exchange of information, the centre is interested in how the linguistic ambivalence of poetry combined with the utility of telecommunication can privilege the act of listening over the act of interpretation. Wong proposes that sometimes, the meaning of a message is not information but empathy, articulated through the cadence, resonance, and sentiments embodied in the human voice.

The Centre for Communication and Poetry Research will set up shop at the Saint John Free Public Library where the artist will engage strangers over the telephone to read them poems. Cold-calling numbers from the local residential phone book (white pages) and pre-generated phone list (through a call for volunteers), the call centre will run for 4 days, conducting 6hrs of research each day. During this time, drop-in research and visiting hours are open to the public to conduct calls with one-on-one guidance from the artist. Each research day concludes with a public workshop about how to make a telephone call based on the Centre’s official manual, equipped with scripts, instructions, and warm-up exercises.

Annie Wong is a multidisciplinary artist, arts educator and writer. Her practice involves engaging communities, institutions and various audiences in the artistic process of making meaningful experiences. Her work has been exhibited by Intersite Visual Arts Festival, Art on the Danforth, Nuit Blanche, and the Modern Literature and Culture Research Centre. She is currently Broken Pencil Magazine’s Education Coordinator, where she collaborates with young people to create a variety of art experiences. She holds a BA in English Literature and a MA in Communication and Culture from York University.

The Centre for Communication and Poetry Research is part II of Cold Calling, a three part interdisciplinary series of performance and public installation projects with visiting artists Vanessa Vaughan, Annie Wong, and Brandon Vickerd.