“The idea of multiples is the distribution of ideas.” —Joseph Beuys
This is how we think, work, and advocate for and about Chinatown.
Chinatown™ is an ongoing, multi-faceted public intervention project that treats “Chinatown” as a “multiple”—a multiple of a particular kind of community like the many around the U.S. that face similar circumstances, threats and opportunities. Many Chinatowns in the U.S. face pressures of gentrification, institutional growth and infrastructure expansion. The similarity of these experiences calls into question their causes, while creating a distinct pattern of social cultural, and economic experiences.
Our goal is to explore this pattern/hypothesis of the “social multiple.” The concept of Chinatown as a multiple is both documentary and ominous. As similar forces shape Chinatowns around the U.S., the more similar they become to one another—and more artificial and superficial. At the same time, what are the similar struggles that have happened? What are the similar campaigns that have been waged? What are the promises for the future of Chinatown(s) that have been carved out of the landslide of “progress” defined but rarely delivered?
Our intervention through each of these themes is designed to be a re-defining of status, re-gaining of control, and re-claiming of rights. Chinatown™ re-draws the physical and social boundaries of Chinatown through instruments of community. The re-drawing of these boundaries through our Social Performance Art is an activist act, and these artistic interventions will become activist tools for Chinatown.