Spectral Publishing


i write to the unconscious (spiritual) part of me, history, past, present (this is spectral publishing). That is my audience. (Immortal and mortal.)

I’m interested in exploring the ghost of intergenerational trauma, as a figure to research, embody and channel. I see Spectral publishing as ways to communicate, converse and dialogue with the ghost but also to circulate these findings amongst mortal and immortal audiences alike.

1) Joss paper, otherwise know as spirit money or ghost money, are paper offerings that are burnt in Chinese ancestral worship rituals. The practice can be seen as the continued practice of filial piety even when relatives have passed into the spirit world, a gesture of care expressed in the burning of paper offerings of money and replica’s of material luxury goods to ensure the material comfort for deceased relatives. If the burning is a channel for earthly beings to send to the celestial heavens, Chinese spiritual belief suggests that dreams are the channel in which ghosts send messages to the living. The spirit money is the messenger between the living and the dead, and a signal between past, present and future. Beyond using this channel to send my deceased relatives material luxury goods, I’m interested in experimenting with material and ephemeral forms of contact through spectral dialogues with the ghosts of my ancestral trauma. From this point of view, i’m drawn to the materiality, design and history of the joss paper; how do living beings design, communicate and publish for a spirit world? How do I to communicate with the realms beyond mortal life? What can be considered alternative forms of value to send? These are questions that I have framed as ’spectral publishing’

A Tale of A Tub

My mother and her aesthetic have played a large role in mending my Westernised perceptions of beauty. She has taught me to look at design through the Chinese value system of feng shui, which is based on spiritual and auspicious placement of objects in space to synchronise the energy of an individual to their environment. I’ve been closer to my mother’s value system and aesthetic sensibilities and her craft feels like an act of destiny making. What I learned of modernist design was how to communicate – or, more precisely, how to schmooze with mortals of a specific Western and privileged background. But what I learned from my mum’s aesthetic was how to communicate with the realms beyond mortal life – design as self-fulling prophecy.

So for the show at A tale of a tub, I published my mother’s drawings, our stories and conversations, on spectral garments, life-sized joss paper clothes designed to communicate with our ancestors, updating them about our messy attempts to mend the ruptures of migration; distance, time, language, culture and heartbreak. These spectral garments are experiments in spectral publishing. More and more, it feels like intergenerational mending, not only between my mother and I, but through this fire induced spectral medium we’re also attempting to reach the ghosts in our family in the hopes that they can hear.

- psychic protection/armour.

psychological protection, psychological

Departing from the idea that code-switching can be understood as a form of survival, i'm interested in clothing as a form of protection. Historically, protective clothing or armour was worn to shield against physical dangers such as the natural elements or human/animal foes, however there were also protective clothes that functioned as amulets to shield against dangers of a psychological or magical nature. Such clothes were worn as counter-magic to ward off bad spirits and maleficent forces.

For my project, I would like to explore the idea of what a contemporary psychological armour could look like for POC who are psychologically harmed by code-switching into predominantly white cultural institutions such as art schools, museums and galleries in the NL. Perhaps we can think of present day maleficent forces as institutional racism and discriminatory micro-aggression that cause to manifest double consciousness, inferiority complex and disguised communication.