In the United States, which today has become the country witnessing the highest level of displacement, the Chinese constituted the first minority that was excluded from immigration and naturalization formally and explicitly under the policies of exclusion in 1882. The formation of American Chinatowns took place as a sphere of self-protection. From a refuge of repressed laborers, to a tourist destination, a food town, and today’s transitional zone under the intertwined waves of immigration politics, tourism, trade relations and cultural self-fashioning, Chinatown is now full of layers of familiarities and strangeness as a diasporic battleground.
Chinatown Inclusion Act is a series of actions to justify and disseminate the history and identity of this unique cultural territory. Using Harvard GSD as a testing ground, I issue Chinatown passports for strangers and grant them with obligations and responsibilities upon passing an exam, as a means to help recognize the dignity of Chinatown people and to raise consciousness and communications between outsiders and insiders.
As food has always functioned as an important part of Chinatown’s economy and ecosystem, I collected food memories from locals who work in the food service industry at Boston’s Chinatown. By circulating these re-packed and re-labeled food ingredients, I am also responding to the common ignorance of Chinatown workers’ presence in the backstage production process. People are welcome to take a bag of the food (memory) that belongs to a Chinatown stranger and cook with the ingredient at home.