Friday, October 15, 2021

Flora Yin-Wong | Liturgy

Flora Yin-Wong
New York City, USA: Primary Information/PAN, 2021
120 pp., 4.31 x 7.12", softcover
Edition of 2200

Flora Yin-Wong is a young Chinese-Malaysian multidisciplinary producer and DJ who was born in London and has also lived in Hong Kong, Berlin, and Paris. Pitchfork described her music as "gorgeous ambient tones and textures that feel more composed than found." 

Yin-Wong's sonic art was introduced to a larger audience when it appeared on the influential ambient collection Mono No Aware, put out by the PAN label, founded by Bill Kouligas. 

PAN's stated goal is to release music by both "established pioneers like Rashad Becker, Trevor Wishart and Florian Hecker" and "emerging talents such as Pan Daijing, M.E.S.H. and Yves Tumor." In addition to experimental musicians, the label is also home to conceptual artists, such as Mark Leckey. 

This mandate of publishing both emerging and established artists - as well as cross-disciplinary works - is akin to what James Hoff does with Primary Information. Hoff also releases his own recordings on PAN, making this project a collaboration between three interconnected artists, two of whom are also publishers. 

Liturgy is Yin-Wong's first book, released in between reissues of classic works by Dan Graham and Dara Birnbaum (which just arrived in the mail the other day). The slim volume is divided into eight chapters: Rituals & Fire; Omens; Hexagrams / Oracles; Curses; Gods & Creatures; Places Doors to Hell / Ghost Cities; Paradoxes; Sound Phenomena; and Reality. These provide a deceptive structure for a title that functions more like a fragmented constellation. 

Folklore and superstition intermingle with their contemporary counterparts, such as conspiracy theories and urban legends. There are stories of voodoo dolls, meditation, parallel universes, and paranormal phenomenon (including the artist's own form of second sight, which she discovered as a young child).  Historical information is often recounted second or third-hand, with the artist exploring the blurred lines between fact and fiction, memory and truth. 

Originally intended as a companion of sorts to her 2020 album Holy Palm (with track titles and concepts from the LP references throughout the text), Liturgy functions as a stand alone artist book for those unfamiliar with her music. 

The book is available from Primary Information, here, for $16.00 US. 

MARIANA BEREZOVSKA: And what about the book, I read you were releasing it with PAN?  

FLORA YIN-WONG: Yeah, the book is already done. Primary Information will publish it. They are based in NY. James Hoff runs it, and he also releases on PAN, which will be the collaboration between all of us. We’ve got some really interesting graphic designers who are working on the project so it will be really nice. 

MARIANA BEREZOVSKA: Is it a diaristic book? Is it kind of a diary the way the album is as well — the memories, some reflections? 

FLORA YIN-WONG: I try to explore the links between reality and unreality and what that means, so it’s like memories, then memories of memories and false memories, stories and fake mythologies. It merges all these layered topics, and I guess they all seem based around things like spirituality to mental illness even, psychology. I have some very personal stories, also traumatic experiences that were released right in the book. 

MARIANA BEREZOVSKA: That’s cool because music can be much more abstract in this way. And the book is a big statement. It’s a big confession. 

FLORA YIN-WONG: Yeah, it is going to be very personal. Again I feel weird with it being written down, but I think it’s good to do that. 

MARIANA BEREZOVSKA: Were you also writing it when you were travelling or after you came back?

FLORA YIN-WONG: Both. But some of the things are really from my whole life. I’ve always collected and written down some things. I just thought I wouldn’t do anything with them. 

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Wolf Vostell

Wolf Vostell was born on this day in 1932. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Toronto in Last Night


Somewhat off-topic, but a week from today I am hosting a "reading group" (as I've taken to calling it) around Don McKellar's 1999 film Last Night

I was invited to be one of several  'artists in residence' this fall by Ontario Culture Days, and the plan was to screen my forthcoming film Dead Ringer, about Casa Loma, in Casa Loma. But in-person events in Toronto are still hindered by Covid19, so this has been postponed until next year. 

In lieu of this, I proposed that I host an intimate 'book club' with the 'text' being the film. We would screen it for a small group and then discuss it afterwards. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense to have McKellar participate, and luckily he's a friend of a friend, and she put us in touch. 

So please join us on October 20th for a free screening of the brilliant film (starring Sandra Oh, Tracy Wright, David Cronenberg, Callum Keith Rennie, Sarah Polley, Jackie Burroughs, Arsinée Khanjian), followed by a conversation between myself and it's director. 

In advance of this, those that register will be sent "Reading Lists" of other important Toronto films, other good end-of-the-world movies, etc. etc. 

Register here to participate: 

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Carolee Schneemann

Carole Schneemann was born on this day in 1939. She took on the last name of Schneemann to shield her parents from the explicit work she was making, never revealing her birth name. She died on March 6th, 2019. 

Monday, October 11, 2021

Andria Morales | As You Change: 2010 + 2104

Andria Morales 
As You Change: 2010 + 2104 
Brooklyn, USA: Small Editions, 2014
[12] pp., 19 x 13 cm., staple-bound
Edition of 100 

The first in a series of three planned publications, this zine features nude portraits of the artist's childhood friend as they transition from female to male. As an act of solidarity, Morales poses alongside her friend, serving as a support to them, but also as a control for the project. 

The staple-bound volume also comes with a wallet sized c-print of the pair when they were much younger. 

Originally selling for $10, the publication is sold out at Printed Matter, and the publisher's page. 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Steve Reich | Conversations

Steve Reich—who celebrated his 85th birthday a week ago today—will release a new book in March of next year, titled Conversations. Published by Hanover Square Press (a subsidiary of Harper Collins), the volume will include interviews with "collaborators, fellow composers, musicians, and visual artists influenced by his work, to reflect on his prolific career as a composer as well as the music that inspired him and that has been inspired by him." These include Richard Serra, Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood, Kronos Quartet's David Harrington, Stephen Sondheim, Nico Muhly, Brian Eno, Elizabeth Lim-Dutton,  Micaela Haslam, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, and many others. 

Dust jacket blurb accolades include "a surprising, enlightening series of conversations that shed new light on the music and career of 'our greatest living composer'" (The New York Times) and "Through this series of insightful, wide-ranging conversations starting from his student days to the present pandemic, we gain a compelling glimpse into the mind of 'the most original musical thinker of our time'" (The New Yorker). 

The title is due to be released on March 22, 2022 and is available for pre-order now.