Relational Reconstructions of Erased Historic Neighborhoods of Color by Innovator in Residence Jeffrey Yoo Warren
In 2024, the second year of his residency, Yoo Warren will work with artist and educator Dri Chiu Tattersfield to reconstruct the historic Chinese vegetable gardens of Portland, Oregon. He will also host public workshops on a national tour of former Chinatown sites including Portland, Riverside, California and Terrace, Utah. The Innovator in Residence hopes his work will honor and encourage a deeper understanding of these lost neighborhoods and what their stories mean for Asian Americans today. Register for upcoming virtual and in-person events as we post them on our events page.
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The Relational Reconstruction Toolkit External is a guide to Jeffrey's method, a set of practices for creating an immersive (virtual, 3D) reconstruction of an erased neighborhood. Though Chinatowns are a starting point for Jeff, due to his work in Providence's Chinatown, the methods in the toolkit are designed to support multifaceted remembrance and correction, through relationships between the experiences partially represented in the archive, and today’s parallel experiences in minoritized groups. The toolkit features a written guide and video tutorials covering topics such as research External, modeling External, soundscapes External, atmosphere External, and a source set of free to use archival items from the Library of Congress found during his research.
About the Work
As an Asian American resident of Providence, Rhode Island, Jeffrey was shocked to discover the block he lived on was once the heart of a bustling Chinatown, and the degree to which this history was invisible today. As the Library’s Innovator in Residence, Yoo Warren is working with Library of Congress staff and collections to digitally reconstruct historic Chinatowns using 3D and virtual reality technologies. He will also publish a toolkit with research strategies and 3D modeling methods to empower other communities to do the same. The toolkit and related resources are available on the Library's Seeing Lost Enclaves GitHub repository External.
To learn more, watch this introductory video External and listen to Jeff discuss this effort External on the Federal News Network with Tom Temin. In this conversation with Scholar in Residence Maya Cade, Jeff describes how tenderness presents itself as an act of close looking at historic items in the Library’s collections External.
Jeffrey Yoo Warren is an artist, educator and co-founder of the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science. While a student at MIT, he co-developed the Grassroots Mapping methodology, blending Public Participation GIS and community-based Participatory Mapping with do-it-yourself aerial photography using kites and balloons. His current artistic practice investigates how people build identity and strength through their interactions with artifacts and histories, and the ways that objects can tell stories that people can be part of in the present. You can follow Jeffrey on Instagram @unterbahn and on Twitter @jywarren .