Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, KOK Siew-Wai 郭小慧 started out as a video artist, now active as an improvised vocalist and independent artist-curator & organizer. She received her B.A. in Media Study at University at Buffalo, and M.F.A. in Electronic Integrated Arts at Alfred University in USA, where she based from 1998-2005. Siew-Wai has shown her videos, performed and presented her curatorial video programs in Asia, Europe, Canada and USA, including CTM Festival 2019 (Germany), allEars Improvised Music Festival 2018 (Norway), Hanoi New Music Festival 2018 (Vietnam), Nusasonic 2018 (Indonesia), KaoHsiung Film Festival 2018 (Taiwan), Choppa Experimental Music Festival 2016, 2017 (Singapore), Singapore International Film Festival 2015, Asian Meeting Festival 2015 (Japan), Asian Film & Video Art Forum 2015 (South Korea), Asian Experimental Video Festival in Hong Kong 2014, Video Art Attack! 2013 (Belgium), Bangkok Experimental Film Festival 2012, Malaysia-Japan Video Art Exchange 2009-2010, International Film Festival Rotterdam 2007, Les Rencontres Internationales 2007 (France), solo exhibition & performance in Beyond/In Western New York Biennial 2005 (USA) and many more. Her video-text and improvised vocal performance piece “Language of Self” (2011) was collected by the He Xiangning Art Museum in Shenzhen, China.
Siew‐Wai has a deep passion for the experimental and improvisational arts. She feels that it is important to embrace the variety of unique expressions in the arts, especially not to discriminate works that are lesser known or that challenge conventional codes and expectations. After moving back to Malaysia in 2005 and realising the lack of alternative voices in the local art scene, Siew-Wai has decided to devote her time and energy as an artist-organizer. She set up SiCKL (Studio in Cheras Kuala Lumpur), an alternative artist collective with her peers, and organized many DIY video screenings and music events since then. She was the co-director of Sama-sama Guesthouse Mini Alternative Art Festival 2010, a no-budget DIY art festival. Siew-Wai’s most committed role is as the co-founder, co-founder/curator/director of the Kuala Lumpur Experimental Film, Video & Music Festival (KLEX). Through KLEX, she is actively connected with the international experimental art communities, and has shown her curated video programmes in Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and USA. She is currently teaching at the Faculty of Creative Multimedia, Multimedia University, Malaysia.
Siew-Wai’s artworks are mostly personal and poetic, expressing various subjects in everyday life such as emotions, contemplation and the human body. Her greatest inspiration in artmaking comes from “the little things in everyday life”. She works with video and music improvisation, and is most interested in focusing and expressing the moment and reflecting on oneself inwardly. Her artmaking motivation is simple: she believes that insights and wisdom are discovered from the most honest and down-to-earth daily happenings. Her video making method is an extension of diary writing, a self-reflecting activity and a habit that she has adopted since 8 years old. In her improvisational vocal works, Siew-Wai is interested to explore the possibilities of the human voice, which can be a versatile musical instrument and an extension of human emotions. She is also keen on finding the “hidden sounds” within her being. She performs regularly in her native city Kuala Lumpur, and has been invited to perform in Asia, Europe, Australia, Canada and USA.
See full curriculum vitae here.