Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion- New-York Historical Society
There was a Macaulay Snapshot event in the New York Historical Society on November 23rd. We went there to see snapshots that other Macaulay kids had taken and the pieces that Macaulay students had curated out of the pictures sent in. After the event, I was wandering around and saw a sight for the Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion exhibit. I decided to go in and check it out because I was already there and why not?
I thought this exhibit was wonderfully curated since it was so easy to follow but at the same time was very engaging and interesting. It starts out with the first Chinese who immigrated to America and goes on to talk about those who are Chinese American. One part of the exhibit that stood out was a graphic novel type piece that told the story of a woman’s family, her mother and father had immigrated from China and she had been born there. It talked about the struggles of growing up Chinese in America and immigration issues.
I think my favorite part about this exhibit was the table that showed the immigration interview, as the picture show above. It was actually set up in a way where it was as if you were witnessing this boys trial in his journey immigrating. The trial starts and you hear the, what I assume is guard or lawyer, asking the boy for his name and information. A projection pointed at the desk allows you to see his file open up, and the written notes that the officer would have taken, to be seen by the visitors of the exhibit. You then hear him speak as well as a witness. I thought the way they set this up was incredibly smart since I actually felt like I was there.
An important aspect of art is that of immersion. It’s one thing to view an installation, another to feel as though you are a part of it. Your note on how you felt as though you were actually there struck a particular chord with me.
One gains a deeper understanding of something when he or she is forced to experience first hand. Although I have nothing in common with a Chinese woman who immigrated to this country in the early twentieth century, I imagine that viewing something like this would force me to explore the fundamentals of what separates us and unites us as members of the human race.
This post was really insightful. You’ve definitely motivated me to start attending some more Macaulay events!