Richard Fung

Richard Fung is an award-winning Trinidad-born, Toronto-based video artist and cultural critic. He joined the faculty of OCAD in 2003 and teaches in Integrated Media and Art and Social Change. Other teaching positions include Chancellor's Visiting Associate Professor at University of California- Irvine, Visiting Assistant Professor at State University of New York- Buffalo and Visiting Scholar at the Mass Communications Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi.

Perceptual experiences of memory loss focus of media installation at Baycrest Health Sciences

Monday, February 11, 2013 - 5:00am

(Toronto—February 11, 2013) What does it feel like to have amnesia? How does one relate to space and place when robbed of the ability to create new personal memories? Can today’s hyper-connected, technology-driven world help people with serious memory impairment re-engage in the community and regain their voices?

Pathfinding, a media art exhibit which opens at Baycrest Health Sciences this week, sets out to answer these reflective questions. Inspired by Judith Doyle, a senior filmmaker and new media artist who is chair of the Integrated Media Program at OCAD University, the installation was created by two participants of Baycrest’s Memory Link program, both of whom have a severe type of amnesia. They worked on the project with Doyle and her assistant Emad Dabiri, well-known for his VJ live video mixes produced with Videodrome.

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Robin Len, 48, and, Kang Il-Kim, 23, have anterograde amnesia. This type of amnesia inhibits the ability to create new memories, although long-term memories prior to injury remain intact. Robin suffered his brain injury in a cycling accident; Kang from a brain tumor and subsequent surgeries. Both were participants in Baycrest’s innovative Memory Link program which uses specialized, cognitive training to help clients with severe amnesia learn to use smartphones, the iPod Touch and other handheld technologies as assistive memory aids.

With backgrounds in television and film study, Robin and Kang were interested in collaborating with Doyle on the Pathfinding project. The process involved shooting clips of imagery, editing and combining the clips, and devising an installation for exhibition of the video.  Pathfinding evokes aspects of the experience of memory and memory loss. Robin and Kang participated in all aspects of the project – videotaping, editing, planning, equipment sourcing, image composition, developing the installation setup, and contributing to printed matter. The collaboration has continued for over a year and combines real-world interaction as well as online and phone support.

“Baycrest embraces strategies for integrating creative expression into a client-centred approach to care,” says Bianca Stern, director of Culture, Arts and Innovation at Baycrest.  “Our ongoing partnerships with faculty and students from OCAD University, as well as collaborations with artists from across Canada, are providing Baycrest with new ways of exploring the impact of artful engagement on the wellbeing of adults with mental and physical impairments.” OCAD University received Baycrest’s Proud Partners Award in 2012. 

“The four of us worked closely in the digital studio of the Social Media and Collaboration Lab (SMAClab) which I direct. We filled it with vintage TVs for our experimentation, attracting many curious onlookers,” said Doyle, who received an OCAD University award in 2012 for Distinguished Research and Creative Activity. “For Pathfinding, we created a new form of media arts-based collaboration that tapped into preserved memory and embodied knowledge. Outcomes were positive for Robin and Kang. This is a central focus of my art practice.”

Pathfinding is on display at Baycrest Health Sciences
3560 Bathurst St., Toronto
from February 14 to March 1, 2013 
*Opening Night reception for media is Wednesday, February 13, 5 to 7 p.m.

The project received support from the Ontario Arts Council (Artists in the Community/Workplace), Brain Injury Services of Hamilton, and the Integrated Media Program and SMAClab at OCAD University.

About Baycrest
Headquartered on a 22-acre campus in Ontario and fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, Baycrest is a global leader in innovations in aging and brain health.

About OCAD University
OCAD University, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines.

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Kelly Connelly, Senior Media Officer
Baycrest Health Sciences

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416-977-6000 x327 (mobile x1327)