A couple of years ago I joined Hyphen Magazine as the Artwell Section Editor. Hyphen is a niche indie pub, which focuses on Asian American politics and culture. It’s a beautiful print and online magazine that, remarkably, is all volunteer-run. To be honest, I’ve never really experienced an organization like Hyphen. For over a decade, Hyphen staffers (who I might add, all have full-time jobs and lives) have dedicated themselves to Asian American news with unprecedented passion, vigor and generosity. All to produce this magazine. And not one person is paid. Repeat. Not one person is paid.
I approached Hyphen because I wanted an opportunity to practice refining my voice towards one that was more mainstream and accessible. I love academia but am constantly frustrated by how aloof the language can be. I also wanted to be able to write about topics that weren’t necessarily art (hello tv and pop culture) or art for an “art world” audience. The art world has a way of speaking about itself to itself, which has its place but I find tedious and ineffective after a while.
I’ve learned a lot about all the things you’d expect, publishing, editing, writing, non-profit orgs that run on “passion,” but have mostly felt so honored, and often in awe of the endless generosity these folks give in their time and talent. This is a labor that is fundamentally rooted in activism. Perhaps not to change policy but to educate, take back the media and contextualize our culture in our own terms. It’s been quite a ride.
Since I started, I’ve been a part of many issues of Hyphen, written about lots of different topics and had the privilege of editing for so many fantastic writers. Following are a smattering of past pieces published in print and/or online. Wafaa Yasin is a brilliant performance/video artist who I’ve written about before, but here’s a short piece published in Issue 25: Generations. Also, we spotlit painter Taravat Talepasand’s beautiful and powerful works in Issue 27: Sex in a six-page printed spread! Occasionally I review music as in the SF band Largesse or Adam WarRock. Sometimes films. Take a peak if you have a sec!