Yvonne Welbon by Lawrence Chua

Part of the Editor's Choice series.

BOMB 57 Fall 1996
Issue 57 057  Fall 1996
​Yvonne Welbon

Yvonne Welbon. Courtesy of Third World Newsreel.

In Yvonne Welbon’s short films and videos, memory laps at the crumbling shoreline of history. This promising young film and video-maker uses autobiography and the poetic self as a springboard into other discourses, challenging the conventional separation of personal recollections and official narratives of history. For Welbon, sentiment does not preclude critical reflection or narrative innovation. In Remembering Wei Yi-fang, Remembering Myself(recently aired on POV), she narrates in the English and Mandarin voices of her African-American and Chinese personae, weaving an account of her experiences learning Chinese in the “racism-free zone” of Taiwan with her grandmother’s recollections of coming to the US from Honduras and learning American traditions of racism. In Monique, Welbon fuses bruised black and white home movie footage with a disturbing remembrance of how white supremacist cultural values are internalized, even in the play of children. Welbon’s almost goofy Sister in the Life: First Love uses a self-reflexive mockumentary-style interview with a 30-something black lesbian to look at how memories, both real and electronic, shape our desires. As the interview subject recounts how she fell in love with her best friend in high school, Welbon pushes at a way of imagining the past beyond the cinematic flashback. By affirming the complex experiences of blackness through a growing experimental vision, Welbon shows us the truth of Artaud’s maxim: There are a million beings in the human heart. I is just one of them.

—Lawrence Chua

Maurice Berger and Patricia Williams
​Patricia Williams 01

Maurice Berger and Patricia Williams are old friends from very different backgrounds who have been dialoging on race for years. This time we were lucky enough to sit in as they take on the widening gap in America’s race relations.

Philip Kan Gotanda by David Henry Hwang
Gotanda 02 Body

Playwrights Philip Kan Gotanda and David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly) compare notes on the East/West conflict, the Third World Movement, and Gotanda’s play, Ballad of Yachiyo.

Building a Bigger Table: Stefanie Batten Bland Interviewed by Rachel Stone
Five performers surround a long table with a white female dancer sitting on top of the table, her arm outstretched.

Interrogating constructed behaviors of intimacy.

Originally published in

BOMB 57, Fall 1996

Featuring interviews with Jasper Johns, Tobias Wolff, Laurie Simmons, Sapphire, Scott Elliott, Brenda Blethyn, Craig Lucas, Suzannah Lessard & Honor Moore, Peter Dreher, and Richard Einhorn.

Read the issue
Issue 57 057  Fall 1996