The Uncertainty of Nostalgic Things


mix media installation - bicentennial milk glass plates, pulped paper, spices


This work explores how simple decorative household objects carry powerful traces of diverse histories. The handmade, densely layered paper wedges comprise a peculiar kind of “slice of American pie”. They are made from shredded documents: copies of the Declaration of Independence, US immigration visas and petitions, my parents’ personal post-war letters and correspondences, American musical scores and lyrics (“My Country, Tis of Thee”), the naturalization Oath of Allegiance, the leaked draft of "America First Caucus", newspaper clippings, and much more. Erasure is an act of violence. The information in each slice is indecipherable and dyed in spices from colonized territories and nations. Hung above each pie wedge is an altered/sliced US American pressed "Colonial White" milkglass bicentennial commemorative plate (released between 1973 - 76). These were also the final years of the US war in Vietnam and thus the beginning of hundreds of thousands of "Boat People" fleeing as refugees–myself included.