The China Outpost^

noun (pl.)

中華前沿

01:  My self-imposed sweatshop of one. It operates within a migratory framework where I transform discarded plastic bags into threads.  I amass this as one of the core building materials for the eventual reconstruction of my ancestral house.









02:  The sum of nomadic spaces on contentious sites - creating social platforms for meaningful conversations about migration, survial, the labor of adapting to a new home and the journey towards becoming.  The activities, gestures and dialogues at the outpost honor the heroic mundane, the invisible labor that surrounds us.


Invisible labor is the work that goes unseen, unheard.  Those who put in the labor repeat the task over and over again.  This over and over again in itself may sound easy but it’s not.  It is an ardous conditioning of the mind to stomach the pace, the rhythm to this “over and over again.”  This conditioning is heroic because collectively these unspoken tasks are the voiceless blood and tears of our cultural landspace.  

Since 2011, I’ve undertaken a lifelong project entitled The China Outpost which moves from one contested site to another while creating makeshift forums to engage in meaningful conversations about migration, longing, loss, memories, sense of place and belonging.  Such sites in the past included Los Angeles’ Union Station, one of the last major train terminus constructed in the West at the cost of displacing community members of what was Chinatown at the time.  In Spring 2016, the Outpost occupied open parking lots of big box stores along Cerrillos Road - a major thoroughfare leading to Santa Fe that has eroded its intimacy to a web of such megastores.
 
The project moves like a river.  It will continue to do so.  It will traverse across continental US as the China Outpost takes on The Grand Army of the Republic Highway from west to east.  Intersecting towns become sites for the outpost’s sociopolitical intervention that reimagine a migrant’s “Manifest Destiny.”  From east to west, the outpost shall make pilgrimages to decaying mining and railroad towns where Chinese migrant ghosts once worked.  

The sections below map the formation of The China Outpost.  They are collections of ephemeral moments stitched together in varying forms ranging from poems, essay films, writings, photo documentations of installations and performances. Together, they contextualize the work.   



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My Ancestral House (1998-2003)

01 Papa, do we have relatives here?
02 Lynne, how do I document this? 03 What’s a 6b pencil?
04 I barely scratched the surface of a migrant’s story.


Stationary Sites (2010-2014)


01 China Outpost @ ChungKingRoad
02 China Outpost @ Mandarin Plaza


Migratory Sites (2013 - present)


01 China Outpost @ Armory
02 China Outpost @ HDTS
03 China Outpost @ Union Station
04 China Outpost @ Santa Fe 



Contested Sites - Excavating Spacial Injustices

01 Grand Army of the Republic Highway 02 Sites of Migrant Ghosts

03 Angel Island
04 Shamian Island
Stories
01 I’m gonna reconstruct my ancestral house. 02 This is not even enough $$ to fund the annual budget for toilet papers here. 03 You have two days to move/
04 Live, Ustream.  I failed.

05 Captain Mundane
06 Show and Tell


Essay Films
01 Born by the River 02 Shitpipe Explosion @ The China Outpost 03 A Grain of Rice Under a Microscope 04 The China Outpost > on the road @ Union Station 05 The China Outpost > on the road . New Mexico


Poems
01 North, East, South, West ... or, are they the other way around? 02 Wanderings:  Selected Poems from The China Outpost