My months-long Tumblr art project, Streethaiku in America, has just come to a close. Part of the Museum of Chinese in America’s America through a Chinese Lens exhibition, my project looked at photography in the context of social media and sharing sites. I quite enjoyed it. After a year of living in Asia and trying to understand how I saw China and the Philippines through an American lens, I had just returned to the United States. The project was very much a living photo diary of explorations and discoveries back in my home country, a sandwich of time between my year in Asia and what will soon be roughly a year in Africa (more on that to come).
Curator Herb Tam had this to say on his Facebook:
Today was the last day of “America through a Chinese Lens” at Moca Nyc, marked by the last post of the online photo essay by An Xiao Mina that was its pulse. The work, consisting of nearly 90 photos and texts by an artist who looks at wherever she is with the profound awareness of a poet-anthropologist, is called ‘Streethaiku in America’.
No one’s ever called me “a poet-anthropologist” before, but I’ll take it! Herb is right that I’m a constant observer of the world, and I take multiple approaches, whether that be visual, poetic or ethnographic. The brilliance of 21st century cameras–simple, portable tools with automatic sharing functionality–is that they allow for a breadth and diversity of exploration. In a networked world, photos are not simply a form of documentation or expression: they are catalysts for conversation, reflection and connections. (cf. Tricia Wang’s brilliant use of Instagram for live ethnography)
The show received quite a bit of attention, including nods from The New Yorker, TIME LightBox, the Huffington Post, Time Out New York (a Critics’ Pick!), China Daily, Capital, WNYC (Must-See Arts!), and Robin Cembalest of ARTNews. I think this is a testament to the growing influence and importance of MOCA, and the incredible hard work of the curators and press team in bringing in solid artists and putting together truly thought provoking shows and events. I can’t wait to see what they’ll be unveiling in future exhibitions. It was a great honor to work with them, Herb Tam and Ryan Wong in particular.
You can find the entire ‘Streethaiku in America’ series at http://chineseinamerica.tumblr.com/tagged/Streethaiku-in-America. If there’s demand/interest, I might consider printing them out and binding them into a book, so let me know!