January 15, 2009


Close Caption

James Sham

February 6th – February 27th

Opening Reception: February 6th 7 – 9 PM


This show is a combination of two related video installations, both dealing with the notion of imperfect translation. In Opera Telephone, the children’s game in which a message is secretly passed from person to person is played with a group of 8 adults. Each participant hears only the person before them and has the unenviable task of trying to replicate what she or he has heard. The appearance of order—of what each participant perceives as rational and encodable information, and the insecurity involved with mistranscription sets the stage as the message disintegrates. The initial message is an aria from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi performed by soprano Sarah Hershman. The sister piece to Opera Telephone is Close Caption. In this installation, a man with hearing impairment tries to keep rhythm with one of his favourite songs while a woman performs a hip hop standard in sign language.

James Sham, a dual-citizen of Canada and Hong Kong, received his MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2008 and his BA in Philosophy and Studio Art from Dartmouth College in 2005. Currently based in the US, James is a current fellow at the Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. James was also a 2007 resident at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Using everything from performance, video, installation and photography, James has exhibited his work in several exhibitions including Four Play, Area Lugar de Proyectos, Caguas, Puerto Rico; MINI-MINI-MAX, Appetite Gallery, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Vertical Hold, Ellensburg Film Festival/PUNCH Gallery, Seattle, WA; and MFA Biennial, Delaware Center of Contemporary Arts, Wilmington, DE. For more information please see:


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