The Radical Other
Installation // Plexiglass, oranges, plaster oranges manipulated to look real, fruit scale, milk crates, video // 2019. Photos taken by Sara Stern.
The Radical Other is an installation made in response to the Latasha Harlins Murder that began the 1992 LA riots. Latasha Harlins was a fifteen-year-old black girl who was shot in the back of the head and killed by Soon Ja Du, a Korean store clerk while trying to buy orange juice. Soon Ja Du was found guilty of murder and sentenced to community service. The Latasha Harlins case is commonly overshadowed by the Rodney King case. As a woman, and member of both of these communities, I juice oranges overlaid with the security camera footage from the Latasha Harlins murder in a video looping in the background. Oranges are juiced until they overflow and spill off camera, as the Latasha Harlins security footage is blurred and cropped until the image becomes unrecognizable. The soundtrack collages excerpts from Korean women affected by the LA riots, the news real from the Latasha Harlins case, and Tupac "Thugz Mansion." In front of the video, plexi signs are hung from the ceiling and etched into the surface. On the plexi, I overlay a childhood experience, the scientific genetic make-up of an orange, and excerpts of a personal note written to Soon Ja Du to delve into notions of fugitivity and anti-blackness within the Korean community while exploring the intersections of authenticity, cultural hybridity, perception, fear, and solidarity. Some of the oranges are real, while others are cast from plaster and painted to look real.
In different iterations of the work, the combined oranges total the bodyweight of Latasha Harlins.