Throughout American history, stereotypes and marginalizing representations of racialized subjects have been repeatedly reproduced and perpetually circulated in many forms of media. We have been categorized and subordinated as a racialized other that is not figured into the national narrative defining “Americanness” or setting the protocol for U.S. national belonging. Instead, the Asian American identity has been forced to fulfill the myth of the “model minority.” This separate history of the violence strongly present in the processes of cultural assimilation is defined by “gaps in history: the absence of information bespeaks a historical trauma that defines Asian Americans” (Feng 17).
I plan to address the issue of representing Asian American identities and histories through alternative models of audio-visual art/media practices. These alternative media practices will be employed to address discourses on the discontinuous history of Asian American cultural formation and the exclusion of historical accounts of Asian American activist communities from the “official” historical narrative still legitimizing U.S. nationalism. These discourses also attempt to counteract the myths about Asian American identity constructed by the dominant ideology, which also have fashioned the American Dream pertaining to immigrant communities and the “Model Minority” myth directly imposing values on Asian American individuals struggling through the process of identity formation. As I critically engage in the abovementioned discourses and organize the stories on the politics of assimilation, I also want to investigate the possibilities of imagining aesthetics and formal strategies geared specifically for mobilizing (cultural) activists to make the desired social and cultural transformations.
Asian American artists and activists must work together to experiment with alternative formal strategies capable of representing the liminal existence of Asian Americans and the liminality of their identities situated between Americanness and the Asianness. Imagining a new Asian American culture and history also implies that we cannot ignore the gaps in the official history, which failed to include our struggles of assimilation and memories of how we entered the liminal space in the threshold between national (Asian American nations and the U.S.) boundaries.
(to be continued…)