photo by janice karam chung

she/they

is a writer and editor from queens, ny, currently based in the hudson valley (ancestral lands of the Esopus peoples of Lenapehoking).

they are the current and founding editor of The Amp at Asian American Arts Alliance, as well as the editor of Hyundai Artlab Editorial. her writing covers art, ecology, and asian diaspora.

previously, she worked as an associate editor for Artsy covering news and the art market.  they also worked for the PR firm, Cultural Counsel and co-founded the experimental environmental journalism platform, Silica Mag.

in a previous life, they played in a band called Teen Body. she also cooks food for people sometimes. 

work status:
closed for freelance assignments


︎ cv
︎ shannyown@gmail.com
︎ shannonlee@aaartsalliance.org
︎ @shannpo


photo by janice karam chung.


she/they


is a writer and editor currently based in kingston, new york (ancestral lands of the Esopus peoples of Lenapehoking). they are the current and founding editor of The Amp at Asian American Arts Alliance, as well as the editor of Artlab Editorial. her writing covers art, ecology, and asian diaspora. in particular, they are interested in cultural practices that reframe/reclaim our relationship to nature.

she is a co-founder of the experimental environmental journalism platform, Silica Mag and used to play in a band called Teen Body. they also cook sometimes.

work status:

closed for freelance assignments

︎ shannyown@gmail.com
︎ shannonlee@aaartsalliance.org
︎ @shannpo
recently:




The Group Forging a Community of Color Upstate

On an unseasonably warm afternoon last October, amid a dazzling field of blooming cosmos overlooking rolling hills, members of Upstate Color (UPCO), a community group for people of color, exchanged stories while assembling custom-scented bath salts. Taking in air perfumed by the scent of rose, mint and lavender essential oils at the Indigenous-led arts nonprofit Forge Project, folks shared what brought them to the Hudson Valley, and what their experiences up here have been like.

“If I had to pick one scene that really captures the essence of what UPCO is to me, it’s that,” said Jordan Casteel, an artist and the founder of UPCO. “It was such a wonderful example of how we could create space with intention for people.”

Read more
february 22, 2024

profile
times union




Vivien Sansour Plants Seeds of Hope for Palestine

“In Palestine, we bury our seeds in ash,” said Palestinian American artist and researcher Vivien Sansour, beckoning us to take a handful of soil and a packet of seeds. They are rose winter radishes, an heirloom from Palestine from her ongoing project, Palestine Heirloom Seed Library. “I invite you to bury with it the parts of you that are willing to accept this mediocrity.”

Organized by Sansour along with a group of faculty, staff, students, and community members at Bard College on a recent Friday afternoon in December, the symbolic funeral brought together nearly a hundred mourners to the campus’s Blithewood Garden to affirm life and hope in the face of suffocating death and destruction.


Read more
december 18, 2023

profile
the amp





Arooj Aftab, Shahzad Ismaily, and Vijay Iyer on Love in Exile 

When musicians as singularly virtuosic and acclaimed as Arooj Aftab, Shahzad Ismaily, and Vijay Iyer are come together to merge their talents, it can often be a challenge to produce something whose sum is greater than its already enormous parts. Yet the group’s transcendent, self-titled debut, Love in Exile, accomplishes exactly that.

“It’s no small thing to remark on mutual understanding and chemistry and it’s not always clear what the source is. But one source may be the recognition of the self in the other; when the sun speaks to the sun, when the moon speaks to the moon.” —Shahzad Ismaily



Read more
july 13, 2023

interview
the amp 





A Trickle in Time: Mary Mattingly’s Watery Manifesto for Collective Futures

Faced with the increasingly volatile forces of nature brought on by anthropogenic climate change, our seemingly solid structures often reveal themselves to be all the more transparently hollow. Like much of Mattingly’s practice, this exhibition works overtime, both identifying problems of ecology and the environment while offering potential curative alternatives—all with her characteristic sense of joy, community, and most urgently, hope. In doing so, she follows in the footsteps of artists like Agnes Denes, Mel Chin, and Maria Thereza Alves who have long recognized that it is not enough for artists to simply point to an ill; it is the artist’s distinct power to imagine something beyond it.

Read more
july 10, 2023

review
mold 





Director Celine Song on Her Debut Film, “Past Lives”

Based on events in Song’s own life, the drama and tension of the film lies in the profound melancholy of life moving on and the agony of possibilities. Told from the lens of immigration, these experiences are drawn even closer to the surface; past lives still haunt the present. Since premiering at Sundance this past January, the film has been dubbed the best movie of the year thus far and is already being teed up for Oscar nominations.

Ahead of the film’s nationwide release on June 23, we sat down with Celine Song to discuss the debut, her prior work as a playwright, and why the concept of alternative realities, past lives, and multiverses seems to have particular resonance within AAPI and immigrant storytelling in recent years.


Read more
june 13, 2023

interview
the amp 




TJ Shin De-Sanitizes Natural History

Arranged in a mycelial pattern on a low floor plinth, a smoldering network of incense made from mugwort transfected with Shin’s DNA rests on a chalk-white bed of diatomaceous earth. Recalling rituals of cremation by merging their own genetic material with the anti-malarial weed, Shin binds themself to this storied plant as it burns slowly against a snowy substrate of insecticidal fossil dust. In doing so, the artist becomes a fumigatory agent, or a weapon of sanitizing purity and cleanliness.

Read more
april 19, 2023

review
the amp



Shahzia Sikander on Using Art to Inspire Possibilities

“Society’s perception of the tensions between women and power and how erasure is enacted by the social forces that shape women’s lives constructs what femininity means to me. The feminine as the monstrous, the abject, the fecund, the immense, and the vulnerable have permeated literary history. Intimacy, selfhood, valor, resistance, and femininity’s intersections with race and war are indicators of the fear that lurks when boundaries melt.” -Shahzia Sikander

Read more
march 21, 2023

interview the amp




Tomie Arai and Diane Wong on Collecting AAPI Stories

“How do we build memorials and public spaces to process our collective grief and loss?”
-Tomie Arai


“What’s beautiful about memory work is that it can shape-shift with time.”
-Diane Wong


Read more
march 6, 2023

interview the amp




CFGNY on Using Fashion to Expand Asian Identity

Depending on when and who you ask, the fashion label-cum-art collective CFGNY can stand for either “Concept Foreign Garments New York” or “Cute Fucking Gay New York.” These interchangable definitions both summarize the group perfectly in their own way, one in meaning and one spirit, and together are demonstrative of a deep-seated dedication to the pluralistic and plastic.


Read more
february 10, 2023 

interview the amp




“This is Home” Captures the Everyday Beauty of Community

What makes a group of people a community? When does a place become a home? Reigning in the year of the water rabbit, the current exhibition at Flushing Town Hall features the work of three photographers capturing NYC’s AAPI enclaves. Titled “This is Home,” the show explores the indelible sense of belonging, pride, and self-assuredness present in these neighborhoods.

Read more
january 24, 2023

review
the amp




Searching Beyond the Immediately Observable: Choe U-Ram at MMCA

We often think about technological progress within linear terms, like an arrow that only moves forward from its starting point. We tend to assume technology is a positive thing; that this ceaseless pursuit into the unknown is synonymous with advancement. Little Ark is a directionless vessel, heading nowhere discernable and to no foreseeable end, calling to question whether this assumption about progress is really true.

Read more
december 21, 2022

essay
hyundai artlab




Kyung-Me on Depicting the Labyrinth of the Psyche

Meticulously detailed, each of the eight ink drawings depict surreal scenes that attempt to uncover a spiraling psychology. There is a maddening, inescapable symmetry to these works. Kyung-Me’s beautiful labyrinth of mirrors is a world that is both collapsing in on itself and opening wide like a maw, consuming its viewers.

Read more
december 13, 2022

interview the amp



Lily & Honglei on Using Old Stories to Heal New Wounds

“We found a lot of similarities between Asian immigrants’ life and ancient Chinese folk stories. Those hundred-year-old stories can be easily related to people suffering today. We place the ancient characters in today’s American society to reflect the isolation, family separation, and hard conditions in new immigrants’ life.” 
-Honglei


Read more

december 2, 2022

interview the amp






Leah Thomas is Building a Generation of Intersectional Environmentalists

According to Thomas, while environmental justice establishes the policies and the data, intersectional environmentalism establishes the culture and framework needed to tackle the climate crisis. “Through environmental justice research, we’ve been able to see how racism and income are often compounding factors and big determinants as to whether or not, for example, people will live with toxic waste in their neighbourhood,” Thomas explains.

Read more

october 31, 2022

profile
gal-dem






How Filipino American artist Carlos Villa poignantly visualised Asian American invisibility

In 1958, 22-year-old Carlos Villa (1936-2013) received a troubling answer to a pressing question. As a young Filipino American student at the San Francisco Art Institute, Villa was curious to know about the history of Filipino American art. But when he asked his professor, Walt Kuhlman, he was bluntly told, “There is no Filipino American art history.” By Villa’s telling, this conversation catalysed a lifelong dedication to exploring and expressing his identity through his work as an artist, activist and educator.

Read more

may 3, 2022

review
the art newspaper








Behind Dansaekhwa’s Rapid Rise into a Blue-Chip Movement

Translating to “Korean monochrome painting” in English, Dansaekhwa developed its universe of austere abstraction of its own accord, inspired by the specific dispossessing trauma of the Korean War and its wake. “We have come to a point where it is no longer possible to represent anything,” Park Seo-bo said upon the debut of his essential “Ecriture” works in 1973.

Read more

october 25, 2021

essay
artsy







A Modern American Roadtrip

Coming from the farmlands of South Korea, [my grandparents] rooted themselves in what they knew and understood best—the soil, trees, mountains, and rivers. On rare leisurely weekends, all six of them went camping at Wisconsin Dells State Park a few hours away. Laughing around a campfire, they piled kimchi onto their hotdogs and played the Korean version of rock, paper, scissors. Years later, when they moved to California, they visited National Parks like Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Arches, in awe of their impossible grandeur.


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summer 2021

essay
your national parks magazine







Utopia in Bursts: The Insitute of Queer Ecology

A pervasive and narrow-reading of Darwinian evolutionary theory provided further cause for queer subversion. That reproduction and competition is the crux of all life on earth is one the earliest, most fundamental principles taught in biology, summarized roughly as the “survival of the fittest.” This limited understanding, however, has led to a harmful and widespread determination that, scientifically, queerness is unnatural when it is anything but—biology is brimming with instances of queer life.



Read more

fall/winter 2020

profile cura







On Russian Terraforming: The Space Race to Re-Engineer Our Imagined Futures

Founded by entrepreneur and philanthropist Alexander Mamut in 2009, the Strelka Institute is hardly what one might expect from a Russian university. With a mission to "educate the next generation of architects, designers, and media professionals, enabling them to shape the 21st century world,” it feels distinctly of the kind of heady cultural ilk affiliated with DIS Magazine and Hito Steyerl videos (i.e. intellectually radical, politically egalitarian and decidedly "cool").


Read more

the dirt issue 2020

essay 
silica mag







Golf Poems: A Transcendentalist Ode to the Anthropocene

meander the coastal dunes during the front nine  to the rocky coastline

a shot over the Pacific,
guarded majestic oceanfront

par three’s number fifteen
number sixteen par four seventeen

back-nine Holy Grail

its place in the upper echelon of history


Read more

the homeland issue 2019

poems
silica mag






updated april 2023