A year ago, Ryan Wong, a curator from New York, visited Visual Communications to look at our holdings– print and films– documenting the Asian American movement. This period in the late 60s and 70s saw Asian Americans come together to study their histories, question the government’s authority and decisions– particularly with Japanese American internment during World War II and the Vietnam War– and demand education in the creation implementation of ethnic studies departments at universities. It saw the creation of a pan-Asian identity. Visual Communications came out of this period, creating films that portrayed Asian Americans not as stereotypes, but as complex individuals.
Ryan curated an exhibit called “Serve the People: The Asian American Movement in New York” at the Interference Archive, a New York-based, completely volunteer-run archives that collects materials documenting social movements (amazing name, too!). We were so excited to be part of this exhibit and co-sponsored one of the events– the Film Night, which showcased four VC films– Wong Sinsaang (1971) by Eddie Wong, Manzanar (1970) by Robert Nakamura …I Told You So (1973) by Alan Kondo, and Cruisin’ J-town (1974) by Duane Kubo.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it to New York (Polar Vortex, anyone?) but we have all the films here on site if you want to watch them. Make an appointment and stop by!