Video

Confessions of A Salesman

Ho Tam

2008, 55:00 minutes, colour/B&W, English

TAPECODE 420.23

Confessions of A Salesman is a playful and satirical look at the process of image making in a world obsessed by profit and consumption. Taking the Chinese maxim of “Waste Not” to heart, it compiles footage from the artist’s archive, and stories ranging from early North American settlers, to Catholic schoolboys, Asian businessmen and movie stars. An immigrant from Hong Kong to Canada, video artist Ho Tam traces his own personal history, moving between art and commerce. His identification as salesman suggests multiple contradictions in a capitalist society and globalized world. Sensual as well as sly, whimsical yet provocative, Confessions of A Salesman presents the audience with Tam’s perspective on the double identity of the immigrant artist.

Mixing catchy tunes with provocative images, Tam is interested in creating an alternative and unique narrative to evoke both individual and collective memory. The music selections include a variety of Cantonese folk and pop music, children songs, Broadway musicals, along with original scores. Lyrical and entertaining, Confessions of A Salesman reinvents the journey of an Asian man in our world today.

"My great grandfather migrated as a laborer to North America in the late 1800s. My grandfather was born in the U.S. but later moved back to Hong Kong. A generation later here I am -- an immigrant in Canada.

In today’s world, an artist is often a salesman, moving between self-expression and mass appeal. As a queer Asian man living and working in North America, I would like to reflect of this subculture intersecting with the mainstream, and in so doing, addressing the past, present and possible future." - Ho Tam

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