Artist Run Machines, Open Source Culture

Saturday, April 12, 2008 - 5:00pm to 7:30pm

Artist Run Machines, Open Source Culture is a public think tank hosted by artist activism author Clive Robertson with panelists Vera Frenkel, OCAD Integrated Media Professor Richard Fung, Steve Loft and Caroline Seck Langill.

Together with the audience, this seasoned multi-functioning group of artists, academics, critics, curators and activists will bring their unique experiences in the media arts to bear on questions of the sectors viability and validation within greater social, political and economic spheres. The audience will be challenged to interpret and evaluate the hybrid forms of organization and action that exist in the many territories between the institution and individual practitioners.

Richard Fung is video artist, cultural critic and educator. His video narratives move through individual lives to explore the fateful repercussions of culture and history. The politics of race, sexual orientation and colonialism are central themes in his work. His lectures and writings are on the forefront of arts and cultural activism. He currently teaches at OCAD.

Venue & Address: 
Gladstone Hotel, Melody Room 1214 Queen St. W., Toronto, Ontario

Moving Stories

Friday, November 9, 2007 - 5:00am to Sunday, December 30, 2007 - 5:00am

Curator Kai Chan, an OCAD alumnus, brings together four artists who explore the theme of Moving Stories: Ingrid Bachmann, Integrated Media Professor Richard Fung, Diane Nasr and Joel Robson.

Venue & Address: 
York Quay Gallery 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto, Ontario

Re:Orientations...THREE DECADES LATER. A new film by Tenured Professor Richard Fung

poster for the premiere with photograph of three young men of south asian background behind a camera
Saturday, May 28, 2016 - 4:30pm

WORLD PREMIERE / Inside Out: Toronto LGBT Film Festival

Saturday May 28 at 12:30pm / TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 2


Re:Orientations, 2016, 68 min

In 1984, Richard Fung released his seminal first documentary Orientations: Lesbian and Gay Asians. Featuring 14 women and men in Toronto of South, East and Southeast Asian backgrounds, Orientations was the first documentary to explore the experiences and perspectives of queer Asians in North America. Re:Orientations revisits seven of the original participants as they see anew the footage of their younger selves, and reflect on their lives and all that has changed over the intervening three decades. Their interviews are deepened and contextualized by conversations with six younger queer and trans activists, scholars and artists.

Venue & Address: 
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 2

Richard Fung wins prestigious Kessler Award

Image of Richard Fung
Thursday, October 8, 2015 - 4:00am

Richard Fung has been named the recipient of the 2015 Kessler Award. This prestigious honour is given to an artist, scholar or community member whose body of work has had a powerful influence on LGBTQ studies. Fung will receive a monetary prize and, on December 16, 2015, deliver the annual Kessler Lecture in New York City.

In 1986, Fung made his first documentary, Orientations: Lesbian and Gay Asians. Fung’s new long-form film revisits seven of the 15 original participants three decades later. His Kessler Lecture — entitled “Re:Orientations” — will include clips from that documentary in progress.

Fung is a Trinidad-born, Toronto-based video artist and cultural critic. He joined the faculty of OCAD University in 2003 and teaches in Integrated Media and Art & Social Change. A former Rockefeller Fellow at the Center for Media, Culture and History at New York University, Fung has lectured across North America and in Europe, Asia and Australia. He served on the founding board of directors of the Images Festival, the first Racial Equality Committee of the Canada Council, the board of the Toronto Arts Council and was an editor and contributing editor to FUSE Magazine.

Congratulations to Richard Fung on this important recognition of his success in linking research, artistic practice and community engagement.


Research Rendezvous

Image of a group of individuals in academic robes
Image of a man wearing a white mask
Thursday, March 12, 2015 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Presenter 1: Martha Ladly, Faculty of Design

Bio: Dr. Martha Ladly is a Professor of Design and Graduate Studies at OCAD University. She specializes in experience design, interactive media, art, and technology research. She is a founding researcher with the Mobile Experience Lab and a principal network investigator with the GRAND Canadian National Centre of Excellence, and the Centre for Innovation in Data Visualisation and Data-Driven Design (CIV-DDD). She is the author of numerous articles on digital technology and entertainment and has shown her work internationally. In the 1990s, Martha was the Head of Design with Peter Gabriel’s Real World Group in the U.K. She had a prominent international career as a performer, writer, and recording artist in the 1980s. Martha completed her PhD on Eros, Women, and Technology in 2013, in the Communication and Culture Program at York University, and continued her research as a Visiting Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, in 2014.

Project Title: Data Corpus: Personal Narrative & The Sensory Body

Abstract: As a narrator I am embodied and given materiality and relationship through production, reproduction, and reception of my story. Through the introduction of a series of collaborative mobile and interactive artworks and design projects and interventions (2007-2015) employing narrative in shared public and private space, I will show the sensory body in relation to place as the locus of my research practice.

Presenter 2: Richard Fung, Faculty of Art

Bio: Richard Fung is an award-winning video artist and writer. His tapes, which include My Mother's Place (1990), Sea in the Blood (2000) and Dal Puri Diaspora (2012), have been widely screened and collected internationally, and broadcast in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean. His essays have published in numerous journals and anthologies, and he is the co-author with Monika Kin Gagnon of 13: Conversations on Art and Cultural Race Politics (2002). Among other grants and awards, Richard is a recipient of the Bell Canada Award for Video Art and the Toronto Arts Award for Media Art. He teaches in the Integrated Media program and the Art and Social Change minor at OCAD University.

Project Title: Re:Orientations

Abstract: Re:Orientations is a four-year research creation project culminating in a documentary film. In 1985, he released his first video, Orientations: Lesbian and Gay Asians, which was the first documentary focused on queer Asians and on racialized queers in Canada. Re:Orientations records original subjects as they review their interview footage from 30 years ago, triggering reflections on their life journeys as well as on the shifts and continuities in sexual and racial identities, conditions and politics. The project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.


Venue & Address: 
OCAD University 205 Richmond St. W. Digital Futures Salon, Room 701K  


Still from Richard Fung's film Orientations. Image courtesy Richard Fung.
Still from Richard Fung's film Orientations. Image courtesy Richard Fung.

Richard Fung, a video artist and an Associate Professor in OCAD U’s Faculty of Art, is the recipient of a major Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight grant for RE:ORIENTATIONS, a project that revisits the interview subjects from his ground-breaking 30-year-old documentary filmOrientations: Lesbian and Gay Asians (1985). The grant is one of two awarded to OCAD U (the other project funded is David McIntosh’s QUIPUCAMAYOC).

Fung’s project will reposition the original film’s themes and examine important shifts both in the community and in the greater international context. The grant will help fund project development for four years and is valued at $149,023.

“In Canada LGBTQ people have come a long way in gaining rights and protections, but these advances, even though freshly won, are being used by conservative elements to justify Western domination of ‘backward nations.’ At that the same time governments in countries such as Uganda and Russia are defining national identity by attacking queer citizens,” says Fung. As a result of what he considers worrying developments and the role of rights in north-south politics, Fung decided to look at his original film again. “For me, as a Canadian of Chinese descent from the Caribbean, it’s important to examine transnational themes.”

Part of the project of the new film and research will also be to re-interview subjects. Fung plans to capture their reactions as they watch footage of themselves onscreen in the original film and ask them to describe who that person was and who they are today.

“Thirty years ago was a very different time. It was before any of the rights were granted in Canada and the community has changed,” Fung says. “In the first video there was a marked sense of optimism around coming out and making a difference. The original film was about sexual desire and representation, but the issues relevant to the LGBTQ community today and how they feel have shifted.”

After 30 years, the 14 original subjects of the film have moved on in their lives and work. Many of the subjects went on to highly successful political careers. Alan Lee became one of Toronto’s leading HIV doctors, works with refugees and undocumented immigrants and was also the first out national president of the Chinese Canadian National Council. Mary-Woo Sims became the head of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Tony Souza was the first race relations advisor to the Board of Education. Sadly, three of the interview subjects died of AIDS-related causes.

Fung’s original film was financed with the support of a community grant. “I’m not sure this work would have been supported by the research council in 1985,” he says. “Now SSHRC is interested in how the research information we’re finding circulates as knowledge, so we’re going to travel with the work and produce collaborations. The purpose of the grant is also to look at how university research can inform what’s happening on the ground in communities, which is why dissemination is important.”

Fung is working with a research and creative team on the project including a creative editor and cinematographer together with academic collaborators from the University of Toronto and York University, and both undergraduate and graduate research assistants. The project will culminate in a national tour of the film, together with a website, scholarly articles and a book of interviews and essays, which are all intended to foster collaborations between academia and community.

About Richard Fung

Richard Fung is a Toronto-based video artist, writer, theorist and educator. His film work is intended to challenge and covers subjects ranging from the role of the Asian male in gay pornography to colonialism, immigration, racism, homophobia, AIDS and his own family history. He is an intellectual who pushes forward the debates about queer sexuality, Asian identity and the uneasy borderlands of culture and politics.

Orientations was his first film, created in 1985 as a pioneer project in response to dominant impressions and assumptions about homosexual identity. It featured interviews with 14 lesbians and gay men with diverse backgrounds, lifestyle experiences and outlooks.

Learn More

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) 

Original Orientations film 

Richard Fung website

Richard Fung faculty biography 

OCADU's Art Creates Change speaker series opens with Ambarien Alqadar and Samina Mishra

Monday, September 27, 2010 - 4:00am

(Toronto — September 27, 2010) The Faculty of Art at OCAD University (OCADU) launches Art Creates Change: The Kym Pruesse Speaker Series with a talk by filmmakers Ambarien Alqadar and Samina Mishra, in conversation with Richard Fung, on Wednesday, October 13 at 7 p.m.

Ambarien Alqadar and Samina Mishra’s presentation “Documentaries from Jamia Nagar” asks the question, “What are the dilemmas faced in making documentaries about one’s own neighbourhood when that community is a loaded site of refuge, stereotyping and police repression?”

Alqadar and Mishra both graduated from the prestigious AJK Mass Communication Research Centre (MCRC), which houses India’s only MA program in film and television. The MCRC and its host university Jamia Millia Islamia are located in the neighbourhood of Jamia Nagar, increasingly referred to as Delhi’s Muslim ghetto. As filmmakers with roots in Jamia Nagar, their complex and probing documentaries address both “insiders” and “outsiders” in raising difficult questions about gender, sexuality, class, religion and nation.

Alqadar will screen excerpts from Who Can Speak of Men, about women who cross dress, and Between Leaving and Arriving, which probes the infamous “Batla House encounter,” in which neighbourhood youth were killed by police. Mishra will screen from A House on Gulmohar Avenue, which uses her own story as the great granddaughter of Dr. Zakir Hussain, India’s first Muslim president and a founder of Jamia Millia Islamia university, to explore what it means to be a Muslim in India today, and Come, Walk Through Our Streets, produced with children from Jamia Nagar.

These screenings will be followed by a conversation on the ethics and politics of neighbourhood autoethnography with Richard Fung, Associate Professor in OCADU’s Integrated Media program, and Visiting Professor at the MCRC in 2009.

Alqadar and Mishra’s presentation is generously supported in part by the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival.

Art Creates Change: The Kym Pruesse Speaker Series

Ambarien Alqadar and Samina Mishra:
Documentaries from Jamia Nagar

Wednesday, October 13, 7 p.m.

OCAD University
Auditorium, 100 McCaul Street, Toronto | 416-977-6000

All are welcome and admission is free.

Art Creates Change: The Kym Pruesse Speaker Series will continue in 2011 with the following presentations:

Susan Buck-Morss
Thursday, February 3, 2011, 7 p.m.
Susan Buck-Morss is Professor of Political Philosophy and Social Theory in the Department of Government, and a member of the graduate fields of German Studies and History of Art at Cornell University. Her training is in Continental Theory, specifically, German Critical Philosophy and the Frankfurt School. She is currently researching and lecturing on politics and religion, theories of sovereignty, legitimacy and faith, and economies of political vision.

Wafaa Bilal
Thursday, February 10, 7 p.m.
The Chicago Tribune named Iraqi born Wafaa Bilal Artist of the Year in 2008 and called his dynamic installation, Domestic Tension, “one of the sharpest works of political art to be seen in a long time.” Through his varied art practices of installation, photography and performance, and utilizing the interactivity of the Internet, “re-skinned” video games, or body tattoos, Wafaa Bilal provokes and challenges audiences to consider the absences that result from war and contemporary violence. His works are incisive and chilling, conceptually driven, and at the same time playful and full of mourning. Wafaa Bilal is Assistant Professor of Art at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

All events are free and open to the public, and take place in OCADU’s Auditorium.

About Kym Pruesse
“Kym [Pruesse] was complex, complicated and often challenged those around her to think profoundly and creatively.” — The Globe and Mail, December 8, 2010

An artist, educator, writer and theorist, Kym Pruesse is celebrated as an expert in popular culture, art and design history, visual activism, art criticism and curatorial practice. A part of the OCADU community since 1994, Kym taught courses in media and cultural studies, contemporary theory, women in art, art criticism, popular culture and studio. She believed in a cross-disciplinary perspective and taught in both the Faculty of Art and the Faculty of Liberal Studies at OCADU. She passed away suddenly in June, 2009. The Art Creates Change series commemorates Kym’s work at OCADU, as well as her contribution to the Toronto art community.

The Kym Pruesse Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a student in excellent standing who shows a demonstrated interest in curatorial practice, art and design activism and/or popular culture. If you would like to make a donation in support of the scholarship, please contact Julie Frahar, Manager, Individual Giving & Alumni Relations, at 416.977.6000 Ext. 485.

About OCAD University (OCADU)
OCAD University ( is Canada’s “University of the Imagination.” The 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. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

- 30 -

For more information, contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)

ReOrientations: A Retrospective on the Works of Richard Fung

ReOrientations: A Retrospective on the Works of Richard Fung
Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 4:00am to Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 4:00am

Richard Fung is Associate Professor in OCAD U's Faculty of Art

The Dr. David Chu Program in Asia Pacific Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, and its co-sponsors are thrilled to present a retrospective on the work of Richard Fung, the renowned Toronto-based video artist, writer, cultural theorist, activist, and educator.

Fung’s videos have been screened and archived throughout the world and he has been widely recognized with awards such as the Bell Canada Award for Lifetime Achievement in Video and the Toronto Arts Award for Media Art. In addition to his artistic work and writing, Fung teaches at OCAD University.

Beginning in 1985 with Orientations – his pioneering video on queer sexuality and its intersections with race and class – Fung’s creative and often highly experimental works have questioned normative understandings of history and memory, temporality, sexuality, identity, colonialism, empires, racism, classism, labour, authenticity, diasporic communities, the body, illness, trauma, food, writing, and so much more. Tracing diasporic movements and communities as well as the complex and constantly changing identities of Asians and others in places across the globe – most especially North America and the Caribbean – Fung’s works inspire us to “reorient” ourselves toward both the future and the past.

ReOrientations: A Retrospective on the Works of Richard Fung
At Innis Town Hall, University of Toronto, 2 Sussex Avenue

Please register for individual program events at the links below:

Friday, October 25:

4 to 6:30 p.m.:
- Screenings: Orientations (1985, 56 Min.) and School Fag (1998, 17 Min.)
- In Conversation with Richard Fung; Chair: Nayan B. Shah (Professor and Chair of American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California)

7:30 to 8:50 p.m.:- Screenings: My Mother’s Place (1990, 49 Min.), Sea in the Blood (2000, 49 Min.), and Islands (2002, 9 Min.)

Saturday, October 26:

2:15 to 5:30 p.m.:
- Screenings: Dirty Laundry (1996, 30 Min.) and Rex vs. Singh (2008, 30 Min.)
- Roundtable: Chair: Rinaldo Walcott (Associate Professor, Humanities, Social Sciences and Social Justice Education, OISE, University of Toronto). Panelists: Kass Banning (Lecturer, Cinema Studies Institute, University of Toronto), Roland Sintos Coloma (Associate Professor of Humanities, Social Sciences and Social Justice Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, OISE, University of Toronto), Ramabai Espinet (Sessional Lecturer of Caribbean Studies, University of Toronto; Writer and Critic), Lisa Lowe (Professor of English and American Studies, Tufts University), Monika Kin Gagnon (Professor and Interim Chair of Communications Studies, Concordia University).

7 to 9 p.m. at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema:
- Screening: Dal Puri Diaspora (2012, 80 Min.)
- Q&A with Richard Fung
Purchase tickets


ReOrientations Projections at OCAD University
October 24 to 29:

Jehad in Motion, 2007
Landscapes, 2008
Screening at 49 McCaul Street, Toronto

Venue & Address: 
49 McCaul Street Toronto, Ontario