Swarm (How To Fly A Tank) Public Performance

Exhibition Title: Swarm (How To Fly A Tank) Public Performance

Artist: David Khang

Opening: One Performance Only

Exhibition Dates: Thursday, August 9, 2018, 6 - 8 PM

Participatory Public Performance: Bring your bicycles & your wildest butterfly costumes! Children welcome!

Date/Time: Thursday, August 9, 2018, 6 – 8 PM
Start Location:  Science World at TELUS World of Science, 1455 Quebec St, Vancouver, BC V6A 3Z7
Departure: 6:15 PM from Science World
Bike Route: We will ride together along the False Creek Bike Path
Destination Point: 7 PM Chain And Forge Granville Island, 1402 Anderson St, Vancouver, BC V6H 4E5 (under Granville Bridge)

ARTIST: David Khang

How does art transform cities? How can artists activate public spaces?

How can visual imagery invigorate the public’s creativity and imagination?

For Swarm (How To Fly A Tank), David Khang creates a new public performance from recurring tropes in his art – monarch butterflies that camouflage a military soldier and his bicycle-powered tank. 

The public will be invited to a butterfly-themed bicycle ride through the city, accompanying the tank from Mount Pleasant, along False Creek, to Granville Island, forming a “swarm” of cyclists. The monarch-covered tank will then “take flight”, along with a dozen live monarch butterflies. The work concludes with video projection that tells a narrative of Khang’s vision of social metamorphosis.

The project is the last of a series of site-specific and site-responsive works produced by Khang over the past 10+ years as the Wrong Places Project. Earlier iterations have been presented in Toronto, Montréal, Edmonton, Mexico City, Santiago (Chile), and Nicosia (Cyprus). The most recent project was presented in Vancouver in 2016, at Malaspina Printmakers on Granville Island, under the title The Tank, The Poem and the Uniform. For each site, the work addressed the specific history of the place, and as a series, forms a trajectory of works framing political history through the lens of social justice.


David Khang is a visual, performance, and biological artist whose practice is informed by education in psychology, theology, dentistry, and law. Khang selectively imbeds these disciplinary codes into his work, to compose interdisciplinary languages that materialize in visual, textual, and spoken forms. In performing, Khang often embodies these languages to interrogate social constructions – of gender, race, and interspecies relations – that are present within dominant historic narratives in contemporary culture. By strategically employing non-native languages and code-switching, Khang produces divergent, dissonant, and often hyperbolic and humorous readings that re-imagine the poetic and the political.

Khang received his BSc (Psychology) and DDS (Dentistry) from the University of Toronto, BFA from Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design, and MFA from the University of California, Irvine, where he was the recipient of the University of California Chancellor’s Fellowship. Khang concurrently completed UCI’s Critical Theory Emphasis, for which he worked with Jacques Derrida, Etienne Balibar, Fred Moten, and Laura Kang. In 2004, Khang’s thesis was chosen to represent UC Irvine at the Distinguished Master’s Thesis Writing Competition (USA). Khang was a 2006–07 recipient of the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art Award (Brooklyn, NY), and in 2010, an artist– in–residence at SymbioticA Centre for Excellence in Biological Arts (Perth, Australia). Khang was born in Seoul, grew up in Toronto, and currently resides in Vancouver, where he has been dividing his time between art practice, part-time dentistry, and part-time teaching at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Khang is currently a JD candidate at Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia (2016–).



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