Tea Base in Residence at MOCA

From December 2020 until May 2021, the collective Tea Base will be in residence with MOCA. Initially invited to create programming that could be hosted within Michael Lin’s immersive painting Archipelago this now mainly virtual residency has expanded in scope to include virtual workshops, a sound installation, performances and a research project.

Tea Base is a curious community arts space tucked away in Tkaronto/Toronto’s Chinatown Centre Mall. The community aims to make accessible space for intergenerational activists and artists who support social justice movements in and around Chinatown. Tea Base is a space that develops solidarity across marginalized groups through relationships, joy and collaboration. Members taking a lead in MOCA’s programming include Christie Carrière, Hannia Cheng and Florence Yee.

Mahjong Performances

Join Tea Base at MOCA for a series of performative Mahjong games and sanitation performances. Members of the Tea Base collective will play this popular East/South-East Asian game, which they work with as a tool for social engagement, atop the painted platforms of Archipelago created by Michael Lin. This response to Lin’s installation, which creates a space for gathering and the sharing of artistic practice and knowledge, is book-ended by Sanitation Performances of the game and tiles.

Performances will be scheduled once the Museum is permitted to reopen.

An instructional manual has been produced by Tea Base that anyone can download or pick up at MOCA to spend more time with.

Mahjong is a tile-based game played in much of East and South-East Asia, originating sometime in the Qing dynasty. There are different rules in each location, although the version Tea Base will play is Hong Kong style. It is meant to be a gambling game, but most people only use chips to keep score. As a tool for social engagement, it is often seen as a game for seniors, like in the dozens of Mahjong halls in family associations in Toronto. It is used by Tea Base and the community as a way of practicing Cantonese, connecting others and working the brain.

Florence Yee and Joy Wong: 熱鬧 (yeet nao)

Installed in the South Stairwell at MOCA, 熱鬧 (yeet nao) is a multi-channel sound installation that takes inspiration from the Cantonese expression 熱鬧 (yeet nao), meaning lively or hot and noisy.

Oral Histories

Tea Base and Unit 2 will be conducting research into oral histories to create a living archive of grassroots endeavours by queer and BIPOC collectives in the neighbourhood. Led by Hannia Cheng and Rosina Kazi, a series of interviews will be conducted to better understand the history of art and cultural practice on Sterling Road. Discussions will specifically address the importance of placemaking as artists/cultural workers, issues of displacement and the complexities of the role that artists/cultural workers play within these transitional spaces. Working with local musicians pothound and LAL, a compilation of the recorded material will be reformatted to create a sound piece that will be performed in or around MOCA in May 2021.

Animation based on an illustration by Christie Carrière