High (bridi) Tea
Fred Wah, Haruko Okano
High (bridi) Tea is a performative collaboration between artist Haruko Okano and writer Fred Wah that explores the visual and textual terrain of racial and cultural hybridity. The performance installation centres on table settings for 16 guests and, based on a material relationship on fungus and mould, plays with issues of contamination. Through a series of anecdotes and textual surprises, Okano and Wah interact with audience assumptions and expectations to create an unstable and questioning emulsion of language and memory. Haruko Okano is a multidisciplinary artist based in Vancouver. Fred Wah is a Calgary based writer and teaches at the University of Calgary.
High (bridi) Tea originated at the Banff Centre in the fall of '98 as a collaboration between Haruko and Fred. A batch of Haruko's Kombucha fungus had become contaminated with a mould and the two of us conversed around contamination, hybridity, the hyphen, and race. The first performance/installation was the Centre in December 1998. We followed this up in August of 1999 with a futher improvisation around our materials for the Kootenay School of Writing at the OR Gallery in Vancouver. This particular production for grunt gallery at the Nice Cafe in Vancouver continues to play with the materials and ideas we've continued to explore. This particular chapbook includes, in the lower half of the pages, Haruko's complete "Hybred Kafe," originally offered at the OR Gallery as an audience-collated "receipt book". The top half of the pages reproduces the original 'jingo' cards Fred produced for the Banff performance along with sections of the 'Diamond Grill Menu' he presented at the OR performance plus chunks of text from his books Diamond Grill and Faking it and other sources.