A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America
July 25, 2014 10:35 AM   Subscribe

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center presents an experiment in cultural democracy – the first crowdsourced photo gallery of the Asian Pacific American experience around the world as lived on one day: May 10, 2014.

The day was May 10, 2014, the 145th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railway. The Transcontinental Railway was an unprecedented national project that relied heavily on Chinese labor, but whose Asian history was excluded from its visual documentation in the iconic picture of the Golden Spike ceremony at Promontory, Utah taken on May 10, 1869. This crowdsourced experiment is motivated by this exclusion.
posted by sarahnade (7 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

Thank you for posting, this is really cool! I did a minor in Asian American studies in college and thus have a lot of friends and acquaintances who would totally be the type to be involved in something like this, and scrolling through I kept wondering if I would see a familiar face. So far I only recognize Jean Quan, but I did spot my neighborhood cafe.
posted by sunset in snow country at 12:01 PM on July 25

Still curious to understand how the APA experience can be lived around the world. Is the APA who live elsewhere or the Asians and Pacific Islanders in their countries of origin?
posted by infini at 12:05 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]

Everyone is at heart an American.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:39 PM on July 25

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center issued a call to populate the online world with Asian Pacific American representations of life on a day when Asian Pacific American experiences were historically spectral. On May 10, 2014, over 500 people joined the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center for A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America by capturing over 2,000 photos and videos throughout the course of a single day. Works were submitted from everywhere – throughout the United States and from around the world. This exhibit features a small selection of the work and remains an experiment in envisioning the Asian Pacific America experience as a vast and complex identity, with a history that grows richer and more complicated with each new day.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:42 PM on July 25

So I claim my former identity as an APA, who just happens to be living in Scandinavia?
posted by infini at 1:00 PM on July 25

infini, if a white American of mixed Irish and German descent living in Norway can continue to call themselves American and view their experience as something affected by the facet of being an American expatriate, then you can also make similar claims regardless of whether your ethnic heritage is Chinese, Egyptian or North European.

One doesn't have to simply stop being American the moment they take up a foreign residence, in the same way that one does not have to stop being Pakistani once they set up a home in North Carolina. We are vast and contain multitudes, and this insistence that one must drop an identity in favor of an adopted one, or must somehow have their identity dictated by the circumstances of the borders that they inhabit is a distinct bug of the American 'melting pot'

but, don't mind me, I'm a Canadian. We've always preferred to think of our country as a mosaic made of different cultures.
posted by bl1nk at 6:19 PM on July 25 [2 favorites]

infini: "Still curious to understand how the APA experience can be lived around the world. Is the APA who live elsewhere or the Asians and Pacific Islanders in their countries of origin?"

Just from the first half-dozen images:
Bessie Badilla
Ariel’s Point | Aklan, Philippines
1:00pm: “When was the last time you did something for the first time? Fil-Am visits her country of birth and Cliff Dives at age 55. It is never too late for a little adventure.”

Dao Strom & Kyle MacDonald
Banh It Cham Tower | Quy Nhon, Vietnam
“Seeking bird self”

Tammy Nguyen
Venice, Italy
“Early in the morning, fresh octopus for sale at the Rialto Market.”
Badilla certainly seems to identify as Filipina-American whether she's in the Philippines or the US.
posted by Lexica at 9:36 AM on July 26

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