The Awkwardness I Sometimes Feel as a 20-Something Art-Adjacent Asian-American in NYC Chinatown

Location: New York, New York

Year: 2019

There’s something complex and uncomfortable about the dynamics of Manhattan’s Chinatown today.  It’s about race, class, power, money, and even sex (not gender). As a 30-year-old art-adjacent Asian-American, I often find myself in the uncomfortable position of belonging to two opposing and irreconcilable extremes– a privileged high fashion high art predominantly white American one and an older working class immigrant Chinese one.  I don’t want to rely on second-generation assimilation clichés like “best of both worlds” because there is enough of that in the world and I want to confront more serious and unspoken realities. Because sometimes it’s awkward and uncomfortable and actually problematic and a little bit racist and I don’t want to not talk about it.

 

I’m an architect so I made a kind of space– something to move around, through, behind… But unlike most buildings, it’s very literal and deliberately fragile.