Prairie Art Book Fair books dancing back and forth

Yaniya Lee and Fan Wu | Revolution in Monogamy?

Sunday, September 13, 2020 | 2 pm CT

Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art is excited to present Revolution in Monogamy?, an online writing workshop with Yaniya Lee and Fan Wu as part of the Prairie Art Book Fair.

COVID enforces a couples-as-exception rule to social distancing: so we wonder, maybe now’s as good a time as any to sign up for monogamy, despite our queer-bred skepticism. The myth of triumphant monogamy has resurged, even though it never really went away.

The current global uprising against police brutality and systemic racism has prompted outrage at inequities that have, like the couple form, remained a constant presence throughout our modern age. Recent protests have demonstrated that the myth of the end of racism has hopefully been definitively overturned.

Amidst this cyclical return of protest, now in context of a pandemic, the monogamy of the couple form resists the rupture. These protests have made other forms of collectivity seem more necessary and urgent. This means that the couple form emerges as counterproductive to the aims of protest and revolution.

Does coupling up mean you are denying your revolutionary spirit? What are the stakes of monogamy, and how do they overlap, clash, or conspire with the stakes of revolution? How do monogamous attachments delimit the terms of revolution?

In this discussion & writing workshop, we will be putting the two curious bedfellows of revolution and monogamy side by side. We will wonder together whether revolutionary politics requires a revolution within the structures of monogamy itself

Monogamy projects an ever-receding horizon of happiness, while revolution projects an ever-approaching rupture in social configurations. These two ideals lie at the very core of our affective and political fantasies. We will be reading excerpts from Frank Wilderson’s “The Black Liberation Army and the Paradox of Political Engagement” and Assata Shakur’s “To My People” alongside My King as exemplary texts on revolution and monogamy. This workshop only begins to scratch the surface of these fantasies’ entwinement.

If you wish to participate in this workshop please email to register. Participants will be selected on a first come first serve basis.

Reference material will be sent to the participants prior to the workshop.

Fan Wu is a lonely nomad beholden, after all these years, to desire. His writing orbits around questions of poetics, publics, and the impossibilities of communication. In collaboration with various galleries in Toronto, he has hosted workshops on themes of grief & mourning (Art Metropole), experimental writing on the moving image (Trinity Square Video), and the intersections of desire and politics (Mercer Union, in collaboration with Yaniya Lee). You can find his writing online at MICE Magazine, Aisle 4, Baest Journal, and Koffler Digital.

Yaniya Lee is a Toronto-based writer and editor interested in the ethics of aesthetics. She was a founding collective member of MICE Magazine and is a member of the EMILIA-AMALIA feminist working group. Lee and curator Denise Ryner will guest-edit the upcoming fall 2020 issue of Canadian Art magazine, where Lee currently works as Features Editor. Lee was previously on the editorial advisory committees for Fuse and C Magazine, and she now sits on the board of directors of Mercer Union. Lee teaches Art Criticism at the University of Toronto and is the 2019-2020 Researcher-in-Residence at Vtape. Find her writing online at Vogue, Flash, FADER, Vulture, Canadian Art, VICE Motherboard and C Magazine.


We are on Treaty 1 Territory. Plug In ICA is located on the territories of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation.

We offer our sincere thanks to Red River Co-op for their generous support of our 2020 book fair. Thank You!

We are grateful to artists Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber for the Prairie Art Book Fair logo designed for our first fair in 2018.

Plug In ICA extends our heartfelt gratitude to our generous donors, valued members, and dedicated volunteers. We acknowledge the sustaining support of our Director’s Circle. You all make a difference.

We would like to The Winnipeg Foundation for their ongoing support of Plug In ICA.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council, the Manitoba Arts Council and Winnipeg Arts Council. We could not operate without their continued financial investment and lobbying efforts.

Plug In ICA relies on community support to remain free and accessible to all, and enable us to continue to present excellent programs. Please consider becoming a member of Plug In ICA and a donor at or by contacting Erin Josephson-Laidlaw at

For more information about the Prairie Art Book Fair, contact Erin Josephson-Laidlaw at or Luther Konadu at

For more information about our programming, contact Nasrin Himada at

For general information, please contact: or call 1.204.942.1043.