Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, KOK Siew-Wai 郭小慧 started out as a video artist, now more 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 America, where she based from 1998-2005. Siew-Wai has shown her videos, performed and presented her works in Asia, Europe, Canada and USA, including Nimman Film Festival 2017 (Thailand), Choppa Experimental Music Festival 2016, 2017 (Singapore), Singapore International Film Festival 2015, Singapore Night Fest 2016, Asian Meeting Festival 2015 (Japan), RRRec Fest 2015 (Indonesia), 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, Kuala Lumpur Contemporary Music Festival 2009, 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 avant-garde, improvisational and experimental 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 lacking of alternative voices in the local art scene, Siew-Wai has decided to devote her time and energy mainly 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-festival director of Sama-sama Guesthouse Mini Alternative Art Festival 2010, a no-budget art festival; and co-curator of the music programme in Notthatbalai Art Festival 2007. Siew-Wai’s most committed role is as the co-founder, co-curator and festival director of the Kuala Lumpur Experimental Film, Video & Music Festival (KLEX) since 2010. Through KLEX, she is actively connected with the international experimental art communities, and has shown her curated screening programmes in Belgium, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and USA. Siew-Wai 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 at the moment and reflecting oneself inwardly. To her, reflecting daily life experience and understanding the basics of human existence is a very practical yet significant inquisition. She believes that insights and wisdoms are discovered from the most honest and banal daily happenings. Her artmaking method is an extension of diary writing, a self-reflecting activity, and a habit that she has adopted since 8 years old. In her 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, through music improvisation. Siew-Wai performs regularly in Kuala Lumpur, and at times being invited to perform internationally such as in Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan, China, South Korea, Canada and USA.
See full curriculum vitae here.