The Brooklyn Rail

JUL-AUG 2022

All Issues
JUL-AUG 2022 Issue
Critics Page

Sowon Kwon and Joe Wood and Alice Yang

At this prompt I feel wistful, as memories of late friends I wish to be in dialogue with still and more than ever, rise top of mind.

I fight the feeling as melancholic and incongruent with a call toward futurities of verve and momentum. But there it is.

In a snapshot (Rollei 35?) writer Joe Wood and curator Alice Yang stand together in conversation at an opening of my show in Soho. Alice’s brow is raised in surprise as she recognizes the photographer, and her smile is of someone who laughs deep and often. Joe, his hat just so (Kangol?) hasn’t noticed me just yet. His hands are in mid-flip through a pamphlet. Some part of me regrets having interrupted them this way. Rather that I were fly, wall. What had Joe been noticing? I’m so curious. An awareness of the photograph as an “illogical conjunction” of “spatial immediacy and temporal anteriority” and a “memento of the absent” per Barthes and Berger, will have to do, and has done. Over the years I have come to understand this record of our triangulated moment as also a summoning, and as such, a holding to account.

If we can circle back and linger for a while in this drift into past—or is it historical present—tense, I have this photograph to share (Joe contends with and weighs the givens, perhaps; Alice with her generosity and goodwill, recognizes you) with some recommendations for two books, an essay, and a song:

Ferguson, Russell, Martha Gever, Trinh T. Minh-ha, and Cornel West, eds. Out There: Marginalization and Contemporary Cultures, The MIT Press: Cambridge, MA 1990.

Green, Renée, ed. Negotiations in the Contact Zone/Negociacoes Na Zone De Contacto, Assirio and Alvin: Lisboa, Portugal, 2003

Wood, Joe, “The Yellow Negro,” Transitions (No.73, 1997): 40-66

Sly and the The Family Stone, In Time, track 1 in Fresh, 1973


Joe Wood

Joe Wood is a writer.

Sowon Kwon

Sowon Kwon is an artist.

Alice Yang

Alice Yang is a curator.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUL-AUG 2022

All Issues