Ugly Duckling Press: Modern Love by Constance de Jong
Constance DeJong's long-neglected, late-1970s novel, Modern Love, is one thing made up of many: It's science-fiction. It's a detective story. It is a historical episode in the time of the Armada and the dislocation of Sephardic Jews from Spain to an eventual location in New York’s lower east side. It is a first person narrator’s story; Charlotte’s story; and Roderigo’s; and Fifi Corday’s. It is a 150 year old story about Oregon and the story of a house in Oregon. Modern Love’s continuity is made of flow and motion, like an experience, it accumulates, as you read, at that moment, through successive moments, right to the end.
An important figure of downtown New York's performance art and burgeoning media art scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s, DeJong designed Modern Love herself and published it with help from Dorothea Tanning on the short-lived Standard Editions imprint. Critically acclaimed in its time, Modern Love is now back in print exactly 30 years since its original publication. Co-published with Primary Information
Well-known for her contributions to downtown New York's performance art and media art scene of the 1970s and '80s, and considered one of the progenitors of media art, or “time-based media,” Constance DeJong has worked for over three decades on narrative form within the context of avant-garde music and contemporary art. DeJong’s writing extends off the page through the body, resonating out of objects and into the space of the theater. DeJong extends her prose writing into multiple forms— performances, audio installations, print texts, electronic objects, and audio and video works. In 1983, DeJong composed the libretto for the Philip Glass opera Satyagraha. Since 1983, she has collaborated with Tony Ourlser on numerous performance and video works. DeJong has also been a writing collaborator with The Builder’s Association on SuperVision, 2005. Her books include Modern Love, I.T.I.L.O.E., and SpeakChamber and her work is included in the anthologies Up is Up, But So is Down: Downtown Literary Scene (NYU Press), Blasted Allegories (New Museum/MIT), and Wild History (Tanam). She is a recipient of awards from NYSCA for Media Production, NYFA for New Genres, and the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Media Production, among others. She has exhibited and performed both locally and internationally at venues such as the Walker Art Museum, the Wexner Center, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and in New York at The Kitchen, Threadwaxing Space, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Dia Center for the Arts. DeJong teaches at Hunter College for the MFA and BA in Fine Arts.