Hungry Ghosts
Paul Wong, 2003
5 channel video installation, variable dimensions, can be shown with or without Hungry Ghost Prints (series of 10 photograph)
or single channel video, Hungry Ghost Mix, 33 min, colour, stereo


Definition of hungry ghosts:
those in the spirit world that are cared for by the living. A main principle of ancestral worship where hungry ghosts are fed so they will not come back and disrupt the lives of the living.

HUNGRY GHOSTS a site specific journey, 5 channel video /sound installation with large format digital photo works.

Death is a recurring subject in Paul Wong’s art. From the 1970’s to the present, he has dealt with life and death issues in his videotapes, multimedia performances, photography, installations and writings. HUNGRY GHOSTS is a collaboration between the artist and the curator. The video installation provides an ephemeral form where interdisciplinary elements from the disparate past are configured with unsettling current issues and produced as a new whole. Fleeting moments, manipulated images, visual clips, still photographs, text, narrative stories, home movies, sound bites, edited fiction and real time documents will be digitally seamed and beamed onto transparent surfaces. The video projections shown in a moving vaporetto (sea bus) will transport both the work and audience on a journey. The time-based work will float by the post-modernism of Venice, a rich port for thriving trade and now in the 50th edition of the Venice Biennale, the international art market converges to make the trade. This work is a site of memory where the very private becomes public. It is a virtual ‘walking the mountain’, a way to honour and remember those who have gone before.

There is elements from various works such as: 60 Unit Bruise (1976) – a blood brother ritual; Murder Research (1977) – investigation of a murder; in ten sity (1978) – performance for the suicide of a friend; Dave (1991) – a funeral for a murdered Hell’s Angels enforcer; Chinaman’s Peak: Walking The Mountain (1992) – ancestral worship and feeding the hungry ghosts;  and Dead Man Talking (1998) a performance that began Wong’s interest in streaming together his death works.  It will be an opportunity to contextualize projects spanning three decades and to present them as a whole to an international audience.

This project was granted the official patrocinio of the 50th Venice Biennale, 2003. It was 1 of 18 projects selected for the EXTRA50 Section of the Biennale. Funded by The Canada Council (Visual + Media Arts), BC Arts Council, Department of Foreign Affairs and the Canadian Embassy in Rome.

Artist: Paul Wong
Curator: Elspeth Sage
Commissioned by On Edge, Vancouver + Nuova Icona, Venice
Collaborator:  Neutral Ground, Regina, Canada
Website: Art Engine, Ottawa,

Distributor: Paul Wong Projects