Two Karen, One Gold Mountain
The first Karen is Karen Tam. I just finished speed-reading through the book to her 2004 exhibit at the M-A-I called Gold Mountain Restaurant Montagne d'Or, which I picked up at the Grande Bibliothèque (late by two days now, and back by the end of today) six weeks ago, as I was doing some background research for the round table.
It took me a while to realize what it was about, because I was originally looking for a documentary film, not an art exhibit that is a critique of orientalism through the recreation of a Chinese restaurant with a number of interesting modifications, justaposition of objects not usually found in the real world.
The installation was of great interest for me, especially after the experience of Chinese Restaurants, even if in fact, what I had in mind entering the Bibliothèque was (vaguely) the work by a second Karen, Karen Cho. That was a movie called In the Shadow of Gold Mountain, a documentary, also made in 2004, telling the story of survivors of the exclusion act era. The Chinese Family Service showed her movie at some point during the past year, but I wasn't following the e-mail lists carefully, and missed it. However, I clearly remember this Karen speaking at the public hearings in Montreal for the then-upcoming formal apology by the Canadian govt, emotionally describing the hardships of Canadian Chinese of this era, including that of her own family. But then, I have no idea why "Gold Mountain Restaurant" was not totally unfamiliar. To make matters even more confusing, both are Montrealers by birth, graduated from Concordia (albeit in different concentrations, of course).
So, Gold Mountain Restaurant: an art installation by Karen Tam, and In the Shadow of Gold Mountain, a documentary film by Karen Cho. Got it.
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