︎            ︎            ︎             ︎

   CYRIL.ART

Cyril Chen (陳嘉雯, they/them, b. 1998)
is a filmmaker & expanded media artist
based in Treaty 4 & 13

Drawings >


Animation Filmmaking >>


Mom's Garden - 妈妈的菜园 (independent)


Screened at the Animation Festival of Halifax (2021).
Installation screening at the University of Regina, Media Art and Performance lab (2019).

Mom's Garden - 妈妈的菜园 : An ode to paper animation; Cyril archives his mother-tongue as he draws from the roots of his Mother’s Garden, planted in Regina Saskatchewan with seeds carried over from Yangchun, Canton China.


Walleye: Series >

01. Animation Performance Test / Animatic



Link: https://youtu.be/nqqRM58t9to (0:49)

 
Premise: (for series)

Series Title: Walleye

This is Joshua’s second zombie kill, and he is still deeply disturbed by the act of it all; having to look a zombie in the eye, be encased in it’s putrid stench, only to be just close enough so that he can aim his shotgun juuuuussst right. He is absolutely sick of it all. He must do this, though, because his only child that just turned four years-old, needs feeding, and it craves just one particular meal …. other zombie brains.   

Logline:
In a small rural town overrun by zombies, a young man named Joshua is determined to protect and feed his extraordinary 4-year-old child.


My Son Conrad >

Publications >>






Soil Media Digital Suite - 



01. 

Thoughts of a
Digital Archivist

Neutral Ground Artist-Run Centre
Window Gallery, Regina SK
Sept_01-Oct_16_2020
featured on gallerieswest

THOUGHTS OF A DIGITAL ARCHIVIST: by Cyril Chen (they/them) is an evolving piece in response to their role as an archive assistant at Neutral Ground Artist Run Centre.

*********
‘The archival process is one of re-animation. An introspective endeavour in post-spectatorship. You become friends with unfamiliar people and places. You seek within yourself the same nodes of reflection, striving for sensitivity or humbleness towards these bodies of work; not to be simply reduced to a spreadsheet data point.

Can digital files become haunted? I look at images of eyes and hands who have reigned before me and I wonder if they see me too. In real life, I sort through boxes of documents and brochures, and out of date light fixtures, handled and touched for art exhibited in my absence.

Digital media possesses an uncertain finality. We feel these underlying anxieties. We try not to be shallow. What is not tactile but still holds place in the world? An illumination of the metaphysical.

CYRIL CHEN: was born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan, with family from the Guangdong and Hong Kong regions of China. Cyril’s work stems from interest and exploration of migration, separation, and the ways in which we are intertwined with cyberspace. A member of the CBC Creator Network, Cyril is a practicing expanded media artist.

Keep updated on this evolving piece through social media, as new AR and video components are added to the window.
Artivive Feature

Find more of Cyril’s work at cyberspacevoid.xyz and @cyberspacevoid’

********************************************* 
on permanence,
on illumination,
on ghosts
02. CBC Visual Storytelling Piece:  

On International Transgender Day of Visibility, artist Cyril Chen explores happiness


Mar_31_2021 - CBC Nova Scotia - article link

I knew that I was a boy ever since I was two. Long before trauma, and long before gender preconceptions could make any influence on me. It may as well have been one of my first memories. I remember looking at newspapers and books, seeing boys, and asking my older sister, "Don't you wish you were one of these, too?"

I found happiness in places where I could escape these feelings and the anxiety that came along with it. I still find so much happiness in these places now. Being in nature, playing music, being a part of bigger art projects helped me both cope and distract myself from what I used to describe as a mind-body incongruity. As I have gotten older, I learned more about the scientific literature behind gender dysphoria and transgender identities. That has been the most empowering for me.

Growing up, these feelings were quite suppressed, but they jumped out from here and there. My sister and I frequented a united Chinese church in Regina. Not because my parents forced us; my mother used to attend church, and my father is more so on the atheist side but still practises some Buddhist and Taoist customs. We ended up being churchgoers, just the two of us, because we met friends who spoke Cantonese and joined the Sunday band.

I remember zoning out in the pews during service. I wondered if I'd burn at the touch of holy water. I fantasied I was possessed by a male entity — that one day, I would engulf into a fire of brimstone gay transgender flames. That I would use all the gay power unbeknownst to me to cast hellfire over any belief rotten with bigotry. That I could shake out the real devils residing in organized religion.

We ended up not going anymore for various reasons. I was in high school at that time and feeling more dysphoric than ever. I studied at the University of Waterloo in 2016. At student health services, I finally obtained a diagnosis for gender dysphoria.

I was in Halifax the year after. I needed an excuse to situate myself in a city that had a thriving animation industry. I studied at Dalhousie for one year and then NSCAD University the next. I met more friends who fully embraced my identity, accepted my pronouns and also felt dysphoric themselves.

During the pandemic, I kept in touch with a friend from NSCAD, Excel Garay, who is non-binary and baklâ. Talking about our dysphoria empowered me to start my transition. We're both lifting each other up, albeit through digital space. The second panel of this comic is inspired by one of our life-saving conversations.
03. 

Hyperallergic:
RIP Adobe Flash


︎︎︎ https://hyperallergic.com/609682/rip-adobe-flash-five-takeaways-about-the-plug-ins-legacy-in-net-art/
December 18, 2020
by Rea McNamara

“While a large portion of the projects have been exhibited long-term in the SoilMedia Digital Gallery & Archive, a lot of exhibitions, performances and events were not,” writes Cyril Chen, who recently led a “Gone In a Flash” workshop about Conifer, and shared their experiences preserving Flash-based works from Neutral Ground’s digital art collection. It involved them sourcing documents and various email chains through old drives, recovering what they could from a website backup and viewing SWF files — an Adobe flash file format containing videos and vector-based animations — via open source emulation tools. “Open source archiving tools and communities are the best option for smaller arts organizations, independent creators, and the general public.”

[...]

“Online communities have been the driving force for open source digital archiving missions,” explains Chen via email, citing the Internet Archive’s repository of user-generated flash collections and Archive Team, an online archiving group founded in 2009 that was partially responsible for preserving Geocities. “These organizations were created in response to the ever changing nature of the web […] There is a bit of hope that our web history won’t be erased because of a few predatory business moves or myopic legislations passed in favor of mainstream media industries and tech conglomerates.”

UKAI Projects, Prototyping Residency (Summer 2020)
MIGRATION
is a residency that ‘brings together performing arts organizations drawing on non-Western or hybrid forms with artistic and technical support in order to create work that allows for under-represented communities to better see themselves during this period of isolation brought about by COVID-19’  (https://www.ukai.ca/eventsandworkshops/migration)

I worked on this prototyping residency with Atina Chung & Njo Kong Kie.
The final result is on:

https://whoisasey.github.io/musicpicnic/



UKAI Projects - Prototyper Toolkit Q&A

Cyril Chen - October 29, 2020


honoured : values, integrity

(a) how were your values honored through the process?/ (p) how did you honor the artist’s values?


Setting time/work boundaries: understanding the time required to achieve a certain milestone of a project, understanding how to mitigate “busy work” in order to get to the core values/reasons for a project’s existence. My co-prototyper, Atina, helped steer our project in such a way that honoured everyone’s values, in time commitment, delivery of the messages of Kongkie’s practice, and goals of the project. We ended up creating a dreamy/whimsical/humourous web prototype that showcased Kongkie’s works as a composer-performer.


feelings : time

(a) (p) what did you feel as the creation evolved?


Throughout the month of July, my schedule was at a standstill, and ever since February my outlook of the world was becoming more cynical. Working on this project, which was a dreamy web prototype of KongKie’s artist portfolio, has helped ground myself, and essentially gave me a bit more hope about the future of work and collaboration. I felt sometimes that I rushed to get a certain quota or number of elements/animations/graphics for the deadlines that we have set for eachother. It’s a tricky in-between state of work, when acknowledging the harm that capitalism/business-driven work has implemented every mode of thinking for us, while trying to also dismantle these systems.


shifting perspective : process

(a) (p) in as much detail as possible, describe the process during the residency:

what tools and work methods did use? which apps or approaches did you implement?

how did you document? where is the final result?

I was the digital prototyping artist, Atina Chung was the prototyping developper, and Njo Kong Kie was the artist who we were creating a prototype for. We had several video/voice calls, and interchanged messages throughout the month to keep on track and maintain communication.

I started off sketching how I would envision the text interfaces to possibly look like for KongKie’s website, and created a motion graphic sketch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zxpm6pwzlgw And received positive feedback from our team members, and we envisioned some more after. We started brainstorming and thinking about how we’ll incorporate everyone’s skills and sensibilities to create this project.

I used photoshop, an intuos tablet, adobe dimension, and scanned various found objects. I created simple black and white graphics that would be animated on the web page by Atina, and various layouts, and animation using the materials that I gathered, compiling them all using photoshop layers and photoshop timeline. With the digitally drawn grass animations, I created using an animation program called ToonBoom Harmony Pro, which is given and taught to me as a student at Sheridan College. I documented this by saving all of the files within my laptop in a way that made sense to me, which I have emailed via google drive. I also wrote a lot of sketchy, sometimes illegible notes, which i decided not to share, because they are hard to read, and also because I personally use note-taking as a way for overall cognition/long term knowledge-storing, and honestly, the notes sometimes don’t make sense to me.  


creation : translation

the prototyping process translated the artist’s original art form to exist online in a way that is healthy now

(a) how did you translate yourself?  / (p) how did you translate the artist’s practice into an internet form?


I used the forms which I have always found easiest to translate myself: drawing and animation. I think these visual forms, especially drawing, is a direct link to the soul. In our meetings, I described my methods via an analog lens, as the specs of adobe and digital programs may not be well understood by those who aren’t acquainted with digital media softwares. As describing layers to KongKie, I described them as pages of a book, or looking through a light table. As describing the discord interface as well to KongKie, I compared it to an older messaging platform like aol or msn.


unknown experience : output

(a) your message to put others at ease if they undergo a similar process /

(p) your message to encourage artists to undergo a similar process

Projects such as these can help you realize how much you can achieve, with people you may have never worked with, and with the time constraints involved. Once you are complete, you will be so much more empowered to tackle another project, whatever it may be, knowing that you have achieved so much already. The ways in which you are supported by UKAI Projects, or similar incubators/non-profits, will give you the encouragement you need to face the uncertainties of such work. It can help invigorate your work, as long as you maintain the boundaries that you need throughout these processes.


residencies

// Digital Prototyper Residency @ MIGRATION // UKAI Projects // https://whoisasey.github.io/musicpicnic/ // https://www.instagram.com/p/CCtPTG0AIc_/ https://www.ukai.ca/eventsandworkshops/migration - 2020


Work I created as a User Experience Design student at the University of Waterloo, under the Global Business and Digital Arts Program:

// Project: Better - QHacks Best Design Award - UX/UI Designer - Queen's University - https://devpost.com/software/better - https://twitter.com/AutocodeHQ/status/960172056959766529 - Kingston, ON - 2018

// Stratford Campus UXPerience Design Camp - Project: Beyond Innovation - University of Waterloo - https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1gduKB1tD_K9hkNHiIrF0siZfy2Gp2t9mm2g-C3Y7TGk/edit#slide=id.gd9c453428_0_16 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3I5U2_mcjrg - Stratford, ON - 2016



Copyright ©2022 artist Cyril Chen.
Last web update: December 2021  (more updates incoming)