Ghost Town is a 3D large-scale drawing depicting a sino-futurist Chinatown. It is part of a workshop I created around sino-futurism where are then invited to draw their own neo-noir streetscapes. I hope to eventually realize this piece as a light-based installation.
Neon lights are part of a visual tradition that ties traditional East Asian culture into fantasies of the future. Darkened streets studded with lambent signage are visible in Chinatowns across America, and are also iconic of East Asian mega-cities. These scenes heavily influenced future noir narratives, with their archetypal neon-hued skylines flashing East Asian text and imagery. Yet tech noir borrows Asian aesthetics to invoke a technological future while overwhelmingly featuring no Asian characters — as recently as this year’s Ghost in the Shell but also in The Matrix, Blade Runner, Neuromancer, Firefly etc. This phenomenon of invisibility also exists within the technology industry, where Asian manufacturing labor is largely neglected and hidden and were even Asians within high-tech experience a noted bamboo ceiling. These drawings were a way for me to use cyberpunk visual tropes to re-imagine the many tech-related spaces (media, but also workplaces and social spheres) where Asians supply the labor but not the vision.
This work will be presented at Processing Community Day 2019.