Vindication Vault (2019)
13.5" x 13.5" x 13.5"
MDF, brass hinges and hasp, cardstock, paint, play money, two-way mirrors, computer tablets, earplugs, aluminum foil, wire, coins, childhood photos, digital videos
In this vault, I explore how commerce mediates not only pop culture depictions of East Asians, but also my personal experiences with race and the ways I have been reacted to, or in a very foundational manner have defaulted to thinking about myself.
One computer tablet loops through blurred images of people from my life with things they have said pertaining to me being Asian, while the other tablet loops through images of East Asians in pop culture. The vertical two-way mirror not only reflects one tablet's images over the other's, but also viewers' eyes back at themselves within the opposing money slot, indicating viewers' multiple roles in this system: producer and consumer, voyeur and co-conspirator, judge and judged, supporter and denier, reflected and othered, self-aware and hypnotized.
Even my personal narrative, represented by my photos on the ground floor of my safe, is now (at last or tragically) a recognizable commodity in an economy that valorizes “relatability” by way of “authenticity” and “diversity.” Is the opportunity to be heard in this context vindication?
Detail views (click to enlarge):