In conjunction with Catalina Ouyang’s exhibition it has always been the perfect instrument, writers Mia Kang, Paul Legault, K-Ming Chang, Maryam Ivette Parhizkar, LA Warman, and Yanyi will share their poetic translations contributed to Ouyang’s ongoing project [Conclusion and Findings].
For [Conclusion and Findings], Ouyang pollutes the email inboxes of hundreds of strangers and friends with a 2016 legal document that weaponized institutional language to exonerate an act of violence. The recipients are then invited to appropriate, handle, and “translate” the contents of that document back to Ouyang. While the exhibition presents Ouyang’s reordering of the nearly 40,000 words generated by the contributions to [Conclusion and Findings], this evening allows for some of the original translations and transmissions of the document to hold space.
About the exhibition
Catalina Ouyang: it has always been the perfect instrument presents sculptures made over the last two years alongside a new two-channel video installation that comprises Ouyang’s reordering of the nearly 40,000 words generated by the contributions to [Conclusion and Findings]. The works in the exhibition, however, instead grow out of a space where language fails and in resisting any overarching material, disciplinary, or tonal vocabulary, it has always been the perfect instrument trades linguistic and taxonomic control for a landscape of rhythm, texture, touch, and communion.
About the contributors
K-Ming Chang is a Kundiman fellow, a Lambda Literary Award finalist, and the winner of a 2019 Pushcart Prize in poetry. Her debut novel is forthcoming from One World/Random House in September 2020.
Maryam Ivette Parhizkar is author of two chapbooks and most recently a Belladonna* chaplet, Somewhere Else the Sun is Falling into Someone’s Eyes. She studies and teaches in American Studies and African American Studies at Yale University and is a CantoMundo Fellow. Born and raised in Houston, Texas by Iranian and Salvadoran immigrants, she lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Mia Kang is the author of City Poems (2020), a pamphlet from ignitionpress. She was named the 2017 winner of Boston Review’s Annual Poetry Contest, and her writing has appeared in journals including POETRY, Washington Square Review, Narrative Magazine, and PEN America. A Brooklyn Poets Fellow, she has received awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. Mia is a PhD student in the history of art at Yale University.
Paul Legault is a New York-based writer. His books include Lunch Poems 2 from Spork, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror 2 from Fence, The Emily Dickinson Reader: An English to English Translation of The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson from McSweeney’s, The Other Poems: a series of 14-line plays also from Fence, and The Madeleine Poems from Omnidawn. Currently, he is a poetry editor at Fence. With Sharmila Cohen, Paul is also the co-founder of Telephone and co-editor of The Sonnets: Translating and Rewriting Shakespeare published by Nightboat Books, featuring more than 150 contributing writers.
LA Warman is a poet and performer. Warman has had work in shows at MOCA Cleveland, ICA Philadelphia, Time-Based Art Festival, General Public Collective, Flying Object, and Open Engagement. She is the author of a book of lesbian erotica titled Whore Foods. She founded the Warman School where teaches classes online and in Brooklyn.
Yanyi is a writer and critic. In 2018, he won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, awarded by Carl Phillips, for his first book, The Year of Blue Water (Yale 2019). His work has been featured in NPR’s All Things Considered, Tin House, Granta, and A Public Space, and he is the recipient of fellowships from Asian American Writers’ Workshop and Poets House. Currently, he is poetry editor at Foundry and a poetry review editor at Public Books.