It’s Downtime, our regular series asking artists to share their cultural recommendations. This month, we caught up with Flora Yin-Wong.
Last year, London-based musician, DJ and writer Flora Yin-Wong released her debut album Holy Palm. For Yin-Wong, the record was a chance to reflect and delve into concepts like metaphysics, memory and superstition, as well as her own identity. For listeners, it also offered a means of escape from the insularity of lockdown life as it stitched together six years worth of field recordings collected from travels across the globe. Her debut book, Liturgy, released this year, occupies an equally personal and collage-like space too, with Yin-Wong exploring the links between reality and unreality. For Downtime, she teases us further into her ever-curious world and spotlights literature, film, art and, of course, delicious pastries.
InsaneWritten by Rainald Goetz
Insane is the debut novel by the German author who famously slit his head with a razorblade during a reading at a televised literary event in 1983. Published by the equally fantastic Fitzcarraldo Editions – who run an annual Essay Prize with Mahler & LeWitt Studios, where I’ll soon be doing an artist residency – it delves into the topic of institutionalising mental illness. The increasingly erratic ‘diary’ draws upon Goetz’s firsthand experiences in clinical psychiatry which highlights the failures of the system. Confronted by day-to-day practices and the reality of life in the psychiatric hospital, the once-idealistic doctor protagonist begins to fray at the edges – inciting the usual questions of what is madness, and who is truly mad?
CureDirected by Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Cure follows a detective investigating a mysterious string of gruesome murders bearing the same hallmarks, by different people who seem to remember nothing of the crime. The way the narrative unfolds and slowly moves into the supernatural is so expertly done. The way it’s shot and the visual motifs are so striking, it stayed with me for days.
I really love the work of my friend, artist and gallery owner behind Saigon Athens, who I met last year in the Greek city. His intricate work, often with a visually contemplative and visceral perspective relating to earth and stone, uses ballpoint ink, pencil and charcoal, as well as large-scale sculptural forms of submerged iron, rope and black resin. He’s currently curating a group show across the old mines and caves of the island of Serifos.
I’m a massive pastry-head, and this is one of my favourite bakeries in London that just opened during the pandemic. I really hope it survives its Covent Garden rent! It’s really reminiscent of bakeries in Hong Kong and Tokyo which fuse French baking with Asian ingredients like pandan, gula melaka, miso and perilla, housed in very minimal ‘Japandi’ design.
Flora Yin-Wong appears at Semibreve Festival on 30 October