Lost Chinatowns (in process)
Lost Chinatowns explores the destruction, lost vibrancy, and historical erasure of Santa Cruz’s Chinatowns from 1860-1955. Santa Cruz, now known for being the ultra-liberal “leftmost” city of the US, was once the center of virulently xenophobic anti-Chinese racism in California in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This ongoing, iterative project takes multiple forms — site specific performance art, experimental video, theatrical dance, participatory social practice — and aims to make connections between the historical othering of Asian bodies and current-day Islamophobic and anti-Latinx xenophobia in the US.
Here are some glimpses of the project thus far:
In this performance art piece, I build and dismantle sculptural abstractions of each of Santa Cruz’s five Chinatowns, incorporating archival visual materials such as photographs, newspaper clippings, and maps.
Lost Chinatowns is being developed in part through “Borders Resurfacing,” a web-based creative process of the Post Natyam Collective.