Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Imin Yeh | I’m In Ya.

Imin Yeh
I’m In Ya.
Pittsburgh, USA: Self-published, 2019
[unpaginated], 12 x 7.5 x 1 cm., softcover
Edition of 200 numbered copies

Subtitled ten days of strangers making fun of my name on facebook, this small volume collects seventy messages mocking the artist’s name. The barrage took place from February 29th to March 10th, 2019, a few days before Covid lockdown. 

Each message is reproduced - one to a page - and paired with a thumbnail sketch by the artist of their profile pictures, in coloured pencil. 

The messages range from the pedestrian puns of "No you’re not”, "No your not”, "Are you in?", "You’re in my what?” to the hostile and racist ("Last hing I want is to be in you hen”), to the sexually aggressive ("fancy getting shit faced and sit on my face?”). 

These are not the 'micro-aggressions' of a minimum-wage earning teenager at Starbucks misspelling one’s name on a coffee cup. They are not the twitterverse attempting to amuse each other with banal variations on a theme. These messages were sent to the artist’s inbox. 

By using the offenders' full names, the work could be accused of doxing, but it seems more akin to Laurie Anderson’s habit in the 1970s of carrying a camera around and photographing anyone who catcalled her on the street.

I’m In Ya can be purchased from the artist, here, for $20 US. Images from our visit to Iain’s studio last week are below. 

“My name, Imin Yeh, is the result of a very careful and deliberate decision process by my parents. They emigrated to this country in the mid ‘70s, but my siblings and I were born in the States. Many Asian immigrants in this situation choose to give their children American names, reserving the Chinese name as a middle name, or for use at home. My parents intentionally chose to keep our first names Chinese. [...] Aware of the discrimination against women, my father chose gender neutral names to give to his two daughters. This is the way I have always thought about and loved my name”. 
- Imen Yeh, afterword

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