YOUMNA CHLALA & KEN CHEN
June 1, 2014

The Impenetrable Star: A Tour

Artist Youmna Chlala and writer Ken Chen conduct a special tour of a house on Governor’s Island. Facts are transferred to you and learned. Walking and searching occurs. Photos are or are not taken. You will definitely write. Be amazed. Tour the Impenetrable Star.

Photography by Stephanie Orentas

Youmna Chlala is an artist and a writer whose work investigates the relationship between fate and architecture through drawing, video, sculpture, prose and performance. She participated in the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo (2018), Lofoten Bienal (2017), Performa Biennial (2011) and has exhibited widely including at the Hayward Gallery, Rotterdam International Film Festival, The Drawing Center, Dubai Art Projects, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, ICA London, Hessel Museum of Art, MAK Center for Art and Architecture and Art In General. Her book of poetry The Paper Camera was published by Litmus Press in 2019. She is the recipient of a 2018 O.Henry Award, Joseph Henry Jackson Award and founding editor of Eleven Eleven Journal of Literature and Art. Her writing appears in publications such as BOMB, Guernica, Bespoke, CURA, Prairie Schooner, MIT Journal for Middle Eastern Studies and XCP: Journal of Cross Cultural Poetics. She is the co-founder of the Mutating Cities Institute. Chlala is the recipient of several residencies including the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Headlands Center for the Arts, Hedgebrook and CAMAC: Center for Art and Technology. She is a Professor in the Humanities & Media Studies and Writing Departments at the Pratt Institute.

Poet and attorney Ken Chen earned his BA from the University of California, Berkeley and JD from Yale Law School. His debut collection of poetry, Juvenilia (2010), won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. The book traces the development of a poet from child to adulthood and is marked by “the inability to communicate, an affliction that spans across generations for this Chinese American family,” according to poet Rigoberto González. Judge Louise Glück noted that Chen’s book is “exhilaratingly modern … while at the same time never losing his attachment to voice, and the implicit claims of voice: these are poems of intense feeling.” Chen’s poetry and nonfiction essays have appeared in journals such as Fence, Boston Review, Best American Essays, and elsewhere. He lives and works in New York City, where he directs the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and founded CultureStrike, a national organization seeking to bring artists into the migrant justice movement.