ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS
Skin We Wrought:
Critical Dancemaking, Autoethnography, and Asian American Identity
Master of Fine Arts in Dance
University of California, Irvine, 2019
Associate Professor Jennifer Fisher, PhD, Chair
This research is focused on the current cultural Asian American experience through personal, familial, social, and artistic contexts, how the historical impact of racism towards Asian Americans has influenced me as an artist, and how I’m interpreting those histories and current social attitudes through a critical-theoretic art-making model. I explore what my identity is within the Asian American experience, cross-racial intersections in Brooklyn through an experience that I name the catalyst incident, and how my art-making reflects and represents historical and contemporary representations of Asianness. Through a collaborative process, I created a multi-disciplinary performance work interweaving contemporary dance and experimental filmmaking based on my autoethnographic and cross-racial historical findings. The culminating thirty-minute work entitled, Skin We Wrought, investigates themes of silence, assimilation, resilience, and community through a series of vignettes performed in the Experimental Media Performance Lab at UC Irvine. In this intersectional art-making study, I find that negotiating identity remains an important and complex issue. Pervasive stereotypes continue to shape my life and the lives of others, and art has the power to make change.