My Body Is The Architecture of My Every Ancestor
Performance // 1 hr 15 min // 2021. Performed at the Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative. Photos taken by Chan Williams.
"The 'model minority' stereotype isn't meant to define Asian Americans. Rather, it's meant to define African Americans as deficient and inferior to white people by using Asian Americans as a proxy...It was never an accurate portrayal of Asian Americans." - Scott Kurashige
I write with white chalk on the black rectangles behind me. I repeat four entries that are also etched into the plexiglass signs hanging from the ceiling and reflected on my body. The first entry speaks to a childhood experience when asked to identify my ethnicity to white elementary school kids. The second text is a poem written in response to the Latasha Harlins murder, and the third, an excerpt from a personal letter written to Soon Ja Du, the Korean store clerk who murdered Latasha Harlins over orange juice. The last piece of writing recites the genetic make-up of an orange swapping the hybrid counterparts of the sweet orange (mandarin orange and pomelo) with African-American and Korean. I then use the plexiglass signs to juice the oranges. The amount of oranges used equaled the average weight of a woman. My body is then used to erase the chalk on the wall, and the orange juice collected from juicing is used to clean the white residue off my body. The audience watches the performance from outside the glass window, and is pushed onto the sidewalk to view.