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Will Kwan: A Littoral Reconstruction

Born in Hong Kong and based in Toronto, Will Kwan has performed and exhibited his work internationally. Responding to Simon Starling’s intervention in Lake Ontario, Will Kwan presents a new performance that considers how national identity is delineated through a population’s claims to land, landscape and natural heritage. During the summer and fall of 2007, a number of assaults targeting Asian Canadian anglers in Ontario were reported to authorities. The incidents unhinged certain established assumptions about multicultural Canadian society, revealing an undertow of xenophobia. A Littoral Reconstruction is a performance that attempts to retrace the physical and mental landscape of the incidents by combining material from a preliminary report drafted by the Ontario Human Rights Commission, press coverage, blogs, site visits, interviews, extracts from Ontario Tourism promotional literature, and Group of Seven biographies. The narrative seeks to reconsider the landscape as a social and potentially nationalistic territory rather than a natural phenomenon that transcends cultural difference.