How quickly trends come and go. Remember the highly charged identity politics and representation debates of the 80s and early 90s? You know, the ones taking a beating from today's fashion favouring individuality over community and consumerism over activism? Well, here's a book strong enough to give this fad a good fight.
A collection of essays, Like Mangoes In July: The Work Of Richard Fung pays homage to a man who has spent more than 20 years presenting humanized portraits of gays, lesbians and people of colour in such videos as Orientations (1984), Out Of The Blue (1991) and Sea In The Blood (2000). (See cover story, this page.)
Spearheaded by editors Kerri Sakamoto and Helen Lee, it boasts an all-star crew of over 30 contributors, including Richard William Hill, Gabrielle Hezekiah, Lisa Steele, Clive Robertson, NOW writer Cameron Bailey, Patricia Zimmermann, Thomas Waugh and John Greyson.
Monika Kin Gagnon's essay, Agency, Activism And Affect In The Lifework Of Richard Fung, is an excellent starting point for the Fung novice.
Some facts are frequently repeated in Like Mangoes, but this is easily forgiven since each contributor enriches his or her take on them with a unique perspective, giving both the cultural theory and video art fan a treat.
What's exciting about the book is that it stays true to the personal-is-political theme that predominates in much of Fung's work. The man and his work are inseparable, allowing for a refreshing aftertaste that's neither overly academic nor mushy.
Check out our cover story on Richard Fung
Like Mangoes In July: The Work of Richard Fung edited by Helen Lee and Kerri Sakamoto (Insomniac/Images Festival), 144 pages, $19.95 paper. Book launch Sunday (April 14), 2 pm, at sPaHa (66 Harbord). 416-260-6133. Rating: NNNN