Ho Tam

Cartes de Visite

May 7 - June 5, 2010

Totem Poles
Grand Canyon


Paris, 2010
archival inkjet print mounted on aluminum
ed. of 8
22.5 x 36 inches

Cartes de Visite is based upon a fictitious traveller/explorer from an
ambivalent time. Dressed in the 19th Century clothing, the traveler
goes back and forth in the timeline visiting and investigating cultural
and historic sites. The photographs are the documentation of his
various trips.

In the first series (China 2010) is a set of archival photographs that
seem to be taken at various iconic sites of various continents. Further
inspection reveals the sites to be merely replicas of the real
locations. In fact, the images are all taken in a miniature theme park
(Windows of the World) in Shenzhen, China. The situation presents a
paradox of double-takes, playing with the ideas of "travel" and
"tourism." The layers and the reconstructions question the perception
of time, space and identity.

The title of the work, Cartes de Visite, refers to the old time
"visiting card" popularized the 1900s. In this work the size of the
photographs is substantially magnified while the title suggests
multiple readings.

Ho Tam is a media/visual artist who has worked in advertising and
community psychiatry.

Tam was born in Hong Kong and received a BA from McMaster University
and an MFA from Bard College (NY). From 1996 to 1997, he was a
participant at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program.
Tam has exhibited in public galleries and alternative spaces across
Canada, including the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography
(2001). Over 15 of his experimental film/video works are in circulation
including screenings at Centre Pompidou, Paris, Toronto International
Film Festival, Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival and
the travelling exhibition Magnetic North: Canadian Experimental Video
organized by the Walker Art Center, Minnesota. Tam is a recipient of
various grants and awards, including the Grand Marnier Video Fellowship
from the Film Society of Lincoln Center (New York) and the Best
Documentary Feature at Tel Aviv GLBT Film Festival. From 2004 to 2011,
Tam taught in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Victoria.
Ho Tam lives in Vancouver, BC. He recently edited and published Frontline:
Interviews with International Photo-based Artists
. He is also the publisher of
88Books, an independent press for artist's books.