The Audain Visual Artist in Residence (AVAIR) program brings artists and practitioners to Vancouver who have contributed significantly to the field of contemporary art and whose work resonates with local and international visual art discourses. The visiting artists interact with the students and faculty of the School for the Contemporary Arts as well as the broader visual arts and cultural communities and the community-at-large. In keeping with the experimental nature of the School for the Contemporary Arts the terms of engagement are open and change from artist to artist. The cornerstone of the residency is the sharing of artistic research. The program is generously funded by the Audain Foundation Endowment Fund.


Oana Avasilichioaei

Oana Avasilichioaei

MOUTHNOTES (2016), multimedia performance; concept, text, images, and sound by Oana Avasilichioaei, video design by Jessie Altura, 12 min.

Oana Avasilichioaei

THRESHOLDS (2015), multimedia performance; concept, text and sound by Oana Avasilichioaei, design and visual effects by Jessie Altura, 19:11

Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts (SCA) is pleased to welcome Oana Avasilichioaei as the Audain Visual Artist in Residence in January 2018. Avasilichioaei’s practice is concerned with textuality, polylingual poetics, the social and political forces/voices of the polis, and the intermediary spaces between word, sound and image, exploring the transgressions of these terrains through poetry, translation, performance, and sound work.

During her time in Vancouver, Avasilichioaei will do a public talk and multimedia performance, as well as visit interdisciplinary, graduate and undergraduate art classes and facilitate a workshop. In conjunction with faculty member Allyson Clay, Avasilichioaei will work with third-year visual art students towards conceptualizing and creating work for the annual student exhibition in the Audain Gallery. Conceived as a laboratory of research and making, her intervention will focus on unpacking various notions of border—border as wall, border as place, border in translation—proposing some theoretical and aesthetic reflections on its reverberations. Given current polylingual contexts, migration and displacement, wall-building and global-village thinking, various boundary disputes around the world, and the increasingly hazy distinction between private and public, this is a crucial moment to consider how one conceptualizes national, physical and personal boundaries, in order to discover whether productive crossovers are possible, as opposed to more rigid and entrenched responses. Some questions worth considering include: How do we enact borders? How do we translate them? What are the ethical implications of this translation? Is a language a border? By encouraging various translations/transpositions between text and performance, image and sound, text and image, the organic and the technological, materiality and musicality, etc., the lab will investigate the border as a potential in-between, porous space; disputed, yet also productive.

As part of her residency, Avasilichioaei will present LIMBS & THRESHOLDS, an immersive multimedia performance of poetic texts, involving layered voices and live vocal play, sampled sounds, effects pedals and electronics, a theremin, and textured projections of poems and images (created in collaboration with Jessie Altura). In a world where the political, linguistic and bodily border is a place of strife and violence, LIMBS & THRESHOLDS explores ways of rethinking the border by breaking down the boundaries between word and sound, sense and resonance, original and translation, image and reflection. Based on Avasilichioaei’s hybrid book Limbinal (Talonbooks 2015) as well as current project Eight Track, the performance presents a series of phonotopes, in-between places of sound and figure, orchestral and in flux, generative and inhabited.

Oana Avasilichioaei: LIMBS & THRESHOLDS
January 24, 2018 at 7:00pm
Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre
SFU at Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
149 W. Hastings, Vancouver

Oana Avasilichioaei’s five poetry collections include feria: a poempark (2008; a poetic investigation of the fractured historicities of Vancouver’s Hastings Park), We, Beasts (2012, awarded the A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry; a textual architecture of orality, animality and the fairytale) and Limbinal (2015; a multi-genre polylingual work on notions of borders). Increasingly interstitial, her work has also gone outside the bounds of the book, encompassing various formats such as multimedia performance, sound work, photography, graphic score, and installation; recent multimedia performances include THRESHOLDS (2015) and MOUTHNOTES (2016). Also a translator of prose and poetry from French and Romanian, her most recent translation is Bertrand Laverdure’s Readopolis (2017 Governor General Literary Award for Translation). Avasilichioaei has performed her work and given talks in festivals, art spaces, universities, theatres and other venues in Canada, USA, Mexico and Europe and was the 2009 Writer in Residence at Green College, UBC and the 2010–2011 Writer in Residence at the University of Calgary. Her curatorial and collaborative work has taken numerous forms, such as founding and curating the Atwater Poetry Project (2004–2009), writing “Folding Borders: Experimenting in the Canadian Laboratory” (series of commentaries on Jacket2, 2011), and co-writing Expeditions of a Chimæra with Erín Moure (2009). Multimedia collaborations include videos such as “Mirrored” (with Jessie Altura, 2011), text for From what hand to speak (composer Adam Scime, 2015), and the libretto for Marionette (composer Anna Hostman, forthcoming). Avasilichioaei’s current book/beyond-the-book project is Eight Track, a poetic, sonic investigation of the multifold meanings of track and tracking. Based in Montreal, she frequently crosses borders.

Walid Raad & Jalal Toufic

Walid Raad & Jalal Toufic

Walid Raad, Sweet Talk: Beirut (Commissions)_1992 (detail), 1992. Black and white photograph. © Walid Raad.

Walid Raad & Jalal Toufic

Jalal Toufic, How to Read an Image Past a Surpassing Disaster no. 5 (detail), 2010. © Jalal Toufic.

Walid Raad & Jalal Toufic

This fall the School for Contemporary Arts and SFU Galleries are hosting Walid Raad and Jalal Toufic, contemporaries whose art and writing are, almost uncannily, aligned. Walid Raad was AVAIR in Fall 2016 and returns to present his exhibition Sweet Talk: Commissions (Beirut 1994) in Audain Gallery. Jalal Toufic will present a series of lectures and screenings, his first in Canada.

The works of Raad and Toufic destabilize narratives of history by way of fictive philosophical and logical constructions that fold time. Each artist’s work engages a divergent range of topics, but repeatedly returns to query the history of Lebanon and its civil wars. Always eschewing a positivist reading, their works ask us to consider the form, logic and conditions of the question as to how violence affects bodies, minds and culture.

Fiction has to reveal to us the anomalous, labyrinthine space-time of ruins; and, in case no ruins subsist for the ghost to appear, to supplement reality as a site of return of the revenant. In postwar countries, fiction is too serious a matter to be left to “imaginative” people.

–Jalal Toufic, Ruins, 2010.

Walid Raad was born in Chbanieh, Lebanon and works in New York where he is Professor of Art in The Cooper Union. Solo exhibitions include the Louvre, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Kunsthalle Zurich; Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; and Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin. His works have been shown in Documenta, Venice Biennale, Whitney Biennial, Sao Paulo Bienale, Istanbul Biennial, and Homeworks. He is a member of the Home Workspace Program in Beirut and The Gulf Labor Coalition.

Jalal Toufic is a thinker and a mortal to death. He was born in 1962 in Beirut or Baghdad and died before dying in 1989 in Evanston, Illinois. His books, a number of which were published by Forthcoming Books, are available for download at his website. And his videos are available for viewing at: He, along with artists and pretend artists, was a participant in the Sharjah Biennials 6, 10 and 11, the 9th Shanghai Biennale, the 3rd Athens Biennale, and “A History: Art, Architecture, and Design, from the 1980s Until Today” (Centre Pompidou). In 2011, he was a guest of the Artists-in-Berlin Program of the DAAD; and in 2013–14, he and Anton Vidokle led Ashkal Alwan’s third edition of Home Workspace Program, based in Beirut. He has been the director of the School of Visual Arts at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts (Alba) since September 2015.

Co-presented by SFU School for the Contemporary Arts' Audain Visual Artist in Residence Program and SFU Galleries, with the Vancouver Art Gallery and Western Front.


Walid Raad in Conversation with Jayce Salloum on Beirut
Tuesday, October 10, 7pm
Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Center, SFU Vancouver

Walid Raad Opening Reception
Wednesday, October 11, 6 - 9pm
Audain Gallery

Walid Raad Artist Talk
Wednesday, October 11, 7 - 8pm
Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Center, SFU Vancouver

Scrivener's Monthly: Jalal Toufic on "The Dancer's Two Bodies"
Thursday, October 12, 7pm
Western Front, 303 E. 8th Ave.

Screening and Discussion of a Trilogy of Videos by Jalal Toufic and Graziella Rizkallah Toufic
Saturday, October 14, 8pm
Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema, SFU Vancouver

Jalal Toufic on "The Withdrawal of Tradition Past a Surpassing Disaster" 
Tuesday, October 17, 7pm
Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Center, SFU Vancouver

Book Launch and Talk for Jalal Toufic's What Was I Thinking (Sternberg Press, 2017)
Wednesday, October 18, 3pm
Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby St.

Exhibition Tour with Curator Melanie O'Brian in Dialogue with Art Historian Jeff O’Brien 
Saturday, November 18, 2pm
Audain Gallery (part of a downtown exhibition tour with the CAG at 3pm)

Screening of Jayce Salloum's This is Not Beirut (There Was and There Was Not), 1994 and Walid Raad and Jayce Salloum’s Talaeen a Junuub (Up to the South), 1993
Wednesday, November 22, 7pm
Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema, SFU Vancouver