If Revolution Is a Sickness
Diane Severin Nguyen
Published by Renaissance Society
Printed by Munsung Printing (Seoul, South Korea)
19.4 x 26.8 cm, 244 pages, color, offset, perfect bound, hardcover
Designed by Shin Shin
This catalog, published on the occasion of the exhibition If Revolution is a Sickness, presents the first monographic book on work by artist Diane Severin Nguyen, which considers how songs and shared histories are woven together across different times and places. The book centers on a new film by Nguyen that is set in Warsaw, Poland, and it loosely follows the character of an orphaned Vietnamese child who grows up to join a South Korean pop-inspired dance group. Popular within a subculture of Polish youth, the genre of K-pop is used by Nguyen as a vernacular structure as she traces a relationship between Eastern Europe and Asia that has roots in Cold War allegiances.
In addition to extensive imagery from the film and behind-the-scenes footage, the book also features essays by Cat Zhang on K-pop’s online communities and by Nathanäel on music, history, and geography; a pair of reflections on the film by curators Myriam Ben Salah and Sohrab Mohebbi; and a conversation between the artist and psychoanalyst Jamieson Webster. Also included with the book is a flexi-disc record featuring a song with music and lyrics co-written by Nguyen. If Revolution is a Sickness, was commissioned by SculptureCenter in New York and the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago.