Tree Identification for Beginners
This publication consisting of coloured newspaper with a red-and-white softcover and flaps documents and contextualises a performance by the Moroccan artist Yto Barrada in a highly illuminating way. Commissioned for the Performa Biennial New York 2017, the work reached across the generations to mirror the first trip to America made by Barrada’s mother in 1966, when, in spite of her socialist convictions, she was invited on an educational tour of the United States along with 52 other young members of the elites of African states. The first section of the publication features numerous historical documents from the tour such as registration forms, reports, evaluations and photos, mostly printed on a single page of the green paper with a margin. The second section on grey paper documents the performance in photographs of the stage and objects, a script and an interview with the artist. The final part of the book, on pink paper, features historical material, this time on the situation of African Americans in the 1960s, again mostly on single pages. The documentation and presentation are an outstanding reflection on the artistic practice, and there are fascinating discoveries to be made on almost every page. Given the big gallery behind it, the publication is pleasantly understated.