Boogie Wonderland: Ho Tam and Raphael Sanchez
curated by Lucas Cabral
Boogie Wonderland looks at the importance of queer space making through the work of Raphael Sanchez (Toronto, Ontario) and Ho Tam (Vancouver, British Columbia). Separated by more than ten years, the works in Boogie Wonderland look at the importance and development of nightlife spaces for queer Asian communities and how these events serve as safe spaces for intimate exchange
Ho Tam’s Discopedia, filmed at a monthly Asian night at a Toronto nightclub, documents negotiations of desire and identity in the margins of the gay world, through the lens of the artist as a participant. Between blurred lights and boys dancing we read the artists’ narrated take on exchanges between attendees. Discopedia studies and spells out the language of desire and the psycho-social dynamics of the club culture.
Created over 10 years after Ho Tam’s Discopedia, Toronto-based artist Raphael Sanchez’s work is informed by his work developing and promoting queer Asian nightlife through his involvement with Toronto-based collective New Ho Queen as a DJ and photographer.
For Boogie Wonderland, Sanchez created a new mix, pairing it with images and GIFs from events he photographs. Through still and animated images, Sanchez highlights the energy of these spaces and the thrills of fleeting nightlight intimacy these spaces allow for.
Boogie Wonderland examines the work and value of space making, and explores night life relationships that exists in these spaces including those between attendants, between space makers and attendants, as well as the social contracts and care that takes place in this space making.
Ho Tam was born in Hong Kong, educated in Canada and the U.S. and worked in advertising companies and community psychiatric facilities before turning to art. He practises in multiple disciplines including photography, video, painting and print media. His first video, The Yellow Pages, was commissioned by the public art group PUBLIC ACCESS for an installation/projection at the Union Station of Toronto in 1994/95. Since then Tam has produced over 15 experimental videos. He was included in the traveling exhibition Magnetic North: Canadian Experimental Video by Walker Art Center, Minnesota. His feature documentary film “Books of James” was awarded Outstanding Artistic Achievement (Outfest, LA) and Best Feature Documentary (Tel Aviv LGBT Film Festival). He also publishes several series of artist’s books and zines. Tam is an alumni of Whitney Museum Independent Studies Program, Bard College (MFA) and recipients of various fellowships and artist’s grants.
Raphael Sanchez is a Toronto-based artist, photographer, video editor and DJ, often combining and layering these in his practice. Sanchez is contributor to the Toronto-based collective New Ho Queen and is a graduate of the Digital Painting and Expanded Animation program at OCAD University.
Lucas Cabral is an artist, curator, and arts administrator who has held positions in marketing/communications and community engagement at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, McIntosh Gallery in London, and The Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, and Artcite Inc, Windsor. Lucas’ practice explores the ways we nourish/are nourished through intimacy and the dynamics that inform these exchanges.
Recent curatorial projects include HOTSPOT and I Can Boogie But I Need a Certain Song at Artcite Inc. and If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It at McIntosh Gallery. Lucas contributed to the development of Inclusion 2025: A Practitioners Guide to Inclusive Museums, a project organized by the Royal Ontario Museum, Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, and the Ontario Museum Association that aims to encourage public art institutions to meaningfully engage diverse communities.