Ken Lum is an artist and M.J.Taylor Penn Presidential Professor and Chair of Fine Arts, Stuart Weitzman School of Design, University of Pennsylvania.
Ken Lum with Iyko Day
I first encountered Ken Lums work as a graduate student working at the early stages of what would become my book Alien Capital. Even though Ken and I are now based in the US Northeast, we are both from British Columbia and I still think of him as a Vancouver artist, whose multimedia works have profoundly shaped my own grappling with the contradictions of that city. I gravitated toward his art because it filled a gap that my previous interest in experimental poetry had left, particularly in terms of thinking about aesthetics and racial abstraction. Kens work helped me generate new ideas about place, occupation, work, and migration that better captured the scale of argument that I was hoping for in my project. His art animates the vexed intersections of race, class, global capital, and the neoliberal states production of multiculturalism. Our dialogue here delves into some of the push and pull of identity in Asian North America, and also more broadly in the US and Canada.