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Soundwave at The CJM

Thursday, Oct 24, 2019 | 6:30–8pm

ADMISSION: $6 Members and Soundwave season pass holders; $16 general (includes Museum admission)

In the performance DIALECTS, artist Szu-Han Ho draws from sounds, songs, and stories about migration and displacement, both human and nonhuman. Ho’s work explores the relationship between bodies and the places that preserve history and memories. DIALECTS was created in collboration with Sandu Ndu.

Presented by Soundwave curator Patricia Cariño Valdez, and in conjunction with Izidora Leber Lethe: Peristyle, on view at The CJM through January 19, 2020.

More about DIALECTS

"DIALECTS considers Szu-Han’s personal history and delves into her interest in language. The project germinates from stories of her family’s history in Taiwan: her great-grandfather’s murder, her family’s migration story to the U.S., and their history of owning a tamarind farm in Tainan. This performance emerges from a reflection on the tamarind fruit and its translation in Taiwanese “giam seng di,” which means salty, sour, and sweet. Szu-Han finds inspiration in the ways in which language conveys not only meaning, but a method to transmit quality of tones, sounds, and emotions. She asks how both a musical chord and a memory can sound salty, sour, and sweet. Language and sounds bridge time and distance: ‘I was separated from my mother at a pretty young age for a matter of months when she came to the U.S. She left a cassette recording of her voice and her singing for me. It’s probably what held me together in some ways. The feeling of being displaced or constantly looking for a home is one that is really familiar to me.’ For DIALECTS, Szu-Han invites collaborating vocalists to weave together diasporic narratives with abstracted dance beats and harmonies to consider transformations and dynamism in migratory movements." 


About the Artists
Szu-Han Ho

Szu-Han Ho's work in performance, sound, installation, and text addresses the practice of exchange through diverse collaborations and constellations. Recent projects include Migrant Songs, a choral performance art piece incorporating stories and songs of human and nonhuman migration; BORDER TO BAGHDAD, an exchange between artists from the US-Mexico border and Baghdad, Iraq; and Shelter in Place, a sculptural installation and performance inspired by her family’s history in Taiwan. Szu-Han lives and works in Albuquerque, New Mexico and is currently Associate Professor in Art and Ecology in the Department of Art at the University of New Mexico.

Sandu Ndu

Sandu Ndu is a Nigerian American musician currently based in Oakland, CA. Ndu has contributed to and collaborated on a number of live and recorded projects as a vocalist and songwriter, including works with DJ Center (Everything in Time LP) and Nomadic Wax (Diaspora Mix Tape Volume 2). Currently, she is co-leading the band Bells Atlas, who in addition to working on their own music, write original music for the WNYC Snap Judgement tour. She’ll be releasing her solo material, titled Chew FuFu, in 2020.

about the curator
Patricia Cariño Valdez

Patricia Cariño Valdez is an independent visual arts and public programs curator based in Oakland, CA. Currently, she works at the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA), where she develops public programs that amplify the special exhibitions such as The World of Charles and Ray Eames and Queer California: Untold Stories. In 2019–2020, she will be curating OMCA’s Fiftieth Anniversary programs. Most recently, Valdez curated Super Sarap at Erica Broussard Gallery (Formerly Gallery 6/6/7) in Santa Ana, CA, and in March 2019, an expanded version of the show traveled to Asia Society in Texas. She is one half of Casa de Palomitas, a collaborative research and writing project with Cesar Valdez.


Soundwave—a San Francisco Bay Area organization operating at the intersection of art, technology and music—co-presents this performance as a part of the ninth edition of their innovative Soundwave Festival, focused on the theme “of tTime” inat venues across the Bay Area. This year's festival features art parties, performance, dance, video, and music for our boldest, most interdisciplinary festival to date. Artists explore subjects like intergenerational history, the cultivation of safe spaces for healing and joy within black, brown, and queer communities, art grown out of migration and displacement, and our current political reality.

about the exhibition

Izidora Leber LETHE: Peristyle is the first solo museum exhibition of Croatian-Swiss, Oakland-based artist Izidora Leber LETHE. Drawing from the visual languages of Brutalist architecture and minimalist performance scores, this site-specific installation and performance mines the layered memories of the double émigré artist. The artist’s lived experience of diaspora—a history shared by Jewish and many other populations over millennia—informs her conceptual inquiry. Excavating ideologies found in Ancient Roman architecture and the systems of meaning that define The CJM’s Daniel Libeskind-designed building, LETHE’s work imagines a reconfiguration of relationships in the face of irresolvable diasporas.  


membership at the cjm

Membership at The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM) grants you access to an exciting array of contemporary art, music, film, and educational programming. Not a Member? Join today!


The CJM strives for a welcoming environment for all of our visitors. In addition to ample space for wheelchairs and a friendly environment for service animals, sign language interpretation (ASL) can be scheduled for all programs with at least two weeks notice.

FM assistive listening devices (ALDs) for sound enhancement are available for all talks and tours. Please note that we would like to maintain this as a scent-free environment, and encourage visitors to refrain from using scented products out of respect for visitors with allergies or chemical sensitivities. For additional accommodation requests, please contact The CJM’s Access and Community Engagement Manager at or 415-655-7856.


Public Programs at The CJM are made possible thanks to generous support from Grants for the Arts and the Walter & Elise Haas Fund.

Image Credit

Courtesy of Szu-Han Ho