Brandon Shimoda with Aisuke Kondo
This special program, presented in conjunction with the Poetry Coalition, is one of many nationwide during March in relation to a common theme: “What is it then between us? Poetry and Democracy.” It borrows a citation from Walt Whitman’s poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” 2019 being the bicentennial of Whitman’s birth. Funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation to the Academy of American poets in support of the Poetry Coalition.
Brandon Shimoda was born in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles and now lives in Tucson, Arizona. His recent books are The Desert (The Song Cave), Dept. of Posthumous Letters (Argos Books) and The Grave on the Wall (City Lights). He is the co-editor of To look at the sea is to become what one is: An Etel Adnan Reader (Nightboat Books, 2014).
Shimoda is researching, writing and disintegrating a book on the ongoing afterlife-ruins of Japanese American incarceration. His writings on Japanese-American incarceration have appeared in the Asian American Literary Review, Densho, Hyperallergic, The Margins, The New Inquiry and elsewhere.
Born and raised in Japan and now based in Germany, Aisuke Kondo explores questions of belonging, identity, memory and history across a variety of media, from collage and gallery installation to video and performance. In 2008, he completed a graduate degree at Berlin University of Arts.
He received a grant from the Asian Cultural Council to research his great-grandfather, who was incarcerated at Topaz concentration camp in Utah during World War Ⅱ. He received a grant from Japan’s Cultural Affairs Agency to conduct fieldwork as a visiting scholar at SF State. In his Matter and Memory series (2017 – present), Kondo retraces his great-grandfather’s life as a U.S. immigrant since his arrival in the early 1900s.
Kondo has had solo exhibitions at Gallery Turnaround in Sendai, Japan; Kommunale Galerie Steglitz-Zehlendorf in Berlin; MINTMOUE in Los Angeles; and the Kyoto Art Center.