APEX Express

APEX Express – 9.7.23 – Under the Same Sun

A weekly magazine-style radio show featuring the voices and stories of Asians and Pacific Islanders from all corners of our community. The show is produced by a collective of media makers, deejays, and activists.

Host Miko Lee speaks with the creatives behind San Francisco Chinatown’s 2nd Annual Contemporary Arts Festival – Under the Same Sun: Reimagining the Edges of Chinatown. This community event is produced by Edge on the Square, the same folx who produced last year’s Neon was Never Brighter. Miko chats with curator Candace Huey and artists Connie Zheng and members of the Macro Waves Collective.


Under the Same Sun Transcripts

[00:00:00] Opening: Asian Pacific expression. Unity and cultural coverage, music and calendar revisions influences Asian Pacific Islander. It’s time to get on board. The Apex Express. Good evening. You’re tuned in to Apex Express.

[00:00:18] Jalena Keane-Lee: We’re bringing you an Asian American Pacific Islander view from the Bay and around the world.

[00:00:22] Miko Lee: I’m your host tonight, this is Miko Lee. And you get the pleasure of hearing about the amazing edge on the square second annual contemporary art festival. I speak with the curator, Candace Huey, along with some of the powerhouse artists that are behind the interactive events that are happening as part of this festival in San Francisco, Chinatown on September 30th. Also, I’m going to be there. From seven 30 to eight 30, Leading a panel discussion all about the intersections between arts and politics and ways that we can think about how to re-imagine the edges of social justice and equity. We hope that you’ll join us and listen tonight to this episode with some artists talking about how we can all be change makers, shake things up, enjoy some art and go out in the Chinatown community in San Francisco so enjoy the episode. Welcome Candice Huey to Apex Express.

[00:01:23] Candace Huey: Thank you, Miko. So excited to be back here with you again.

[00:01:26] Miko Lee: We are here to talk about Edge on the Square’s second annual Contemporary Art Festival. I loved last year’s Neon Was Never Brighter. First, just start by telling us about Edge on the Square.

[00:01:40] Candace Huey: Thank you, Miko. So edge on the square is a new arts and cultural hub located in the heart of San Francisco, Chinatown. It is a project by C Mac, and it is a place based cultural hub that celebrates, explores and supports leading and pioneering creative expressions at the intersection of community, art and multiracial democracy.

[00:02:04] Miko Lee: Ooh, that’s so many things and so many important things in this time of turmoil that we’re living in. Last year’s Neon Was Never Brighter was so fun, so much interactive art. Tell us about the theme for this year and how you came up with it.

[00:02:19] Candace Huey: Thank you. So this year, we’re excited to be back. It’s going to be Saturday, September 30th from 5 p. m. to 10 p. m. We were really excited to gather some amazing local and international API artists. We worked this year with esteemed curators. I’m joined by. PJ. Polly Carpio Arena, Alejo and Sarah Wesson Chang to help inform the vision of the theme, which is under the same sun. Reimagining the edges of Chinatown.

[00:02:54] Miko Lee: Oh, I love that title. I have been talking with some of the artists which we’re going to hear from soon about how they take that theme and what does it mean to them? Can you tell us what it means for you to have this theme of under the same sun? And what are the edges of Chinatown? What does this theme mean?

[00:03:12] Candace Huey: Sure. Happy to share about The theme of the festival under the same sun reimagining the edges of Chinatown for this year’s Contemporary Art Festival, while this year’s festival is really focused on the unity and solidarity of the API communities coming together during this tough time ongoing, we’re still grappling with the after effects of the pandemic and we’re still in the pandemic and we’re still facing a lot of adversity from the ongoing anti Asian rhetoric. And compounded with this past year’s moments of, you know, tragic tragedies in the Supreme Court with overturning of Roe versus Wade affirmative action and other discriminatory policy policies, not only affecting API communities, but other underserved communities of color. we felt that it was still really important to focus on unity on solidarity and coming together, but also thinking about how could we re imagined and redefine, both Boundaries and borders real and imagined that exists not only in Chinatown, but beyond between different communities of color and coming together and commenting on the fact that the critical work for social justice and equity is continuous and ongoing.

[00:04:27] Miko Lee: Okay, so as an audience member, I get myself into Chinatown. I’m on that the square. What do I see?

[00:04:35] Candace Huey: We’re having multimedia, fun, exciting art installations and activations ranging from dance performances to music to nighttime projections to artwork, interactive installations. There’s even a sound bath. That’s going to be located inside 800 Grant Avenue by the artist collective Macro Waves. We’re having a digital work by Indira Allegra, which is a digital tapestry, a collective new take on what is a memorial monument in the community sense, but basically edge on the square and this contemporary festival is thinking about how can we use art to come together And to heal and really think about potent regeneration and thinking about collective power.

[00:05:24] Miko Lee: Ooh, collective power folks join up and come to edge on the square, second annual contemporary art festival, the end of this month, September 30th. And we’re going to hear next from a bunch of different artists, including the macro waves and Connie Zhang. So stay tuned.

[00:05:40] Candace Huey: Under the same sun, reimagining the edges of Chinatown is a free, open to the public, family friendly event, accessible to wheelchairs. We are expecting lots of fun, so come, enjoy yourselves, and be delighted.

[00:05:56] Miko Lee: Candace Huey, thank you so much for joining us. And more than that, thank you so much for putting this artistry out into the community so that we can grow and heal and make changes together.

[00:06:07] Candace Huey: Thank you, Miko. It’s a truly an honor to speak with you and also to work with such talented artists and curators.

[00:06:17] Jalena Keane-Lee: Next up, listen, to find my way by Rocky Rivera.


[00:09:45] Jalena Keane-Lee: That was find my way by Rocky Rivera

[00:09:49] Miko Lee: Thank you, Connie Zheng, for coming on Apex Express.

[00:09:57] Connie Zheng: Thank you, Miko.

[00:09:59] Miko Lee: We are so excited to have you here. You are such a brilliant artist, scholar. You do so many different things. And I just love to hear a little bit more about who are your people and what legacy do you carry from them?

[00:10:15] Connie Zheng: Thank you so much for this question. It’s a really generous and expansive question .When I think about who my people are there’s a broader community of Asian American API progressives, artists, activists intellectuals who I consider part of my community. There’s also people whose legacy I’d love to carry. But who maybe I don’t know personally. When I think about who my people are they’re really people who are dedicated to creating better futures for all of us who are dedicated to collective thriving and liberation and change. There’s a very literal answer to that question, which is my people are other Chinese Americans, but I think it’s really important for me to think of a larger, more expansive community of people who are committed to the same sorts of Politics and goals for collective health and thriving and and freedom.

[00:11:41] Miko Lee: Thank you for that. And speaking of that, you are going to be one of the many artists in Chinatown Media and Arts Collaborative’s second annual arts event. This year it’s called Under the Same Sun, Reimagining Collective Liberation from the Edges of Chinatown. Can you tell me about what that theme title means to you? How do you interpret it?

[00:12:03] Connie Zheng: Yeah. Thank you. So when, yeah, the first time the curators shared the framework of under the same sun for me, I was really excited about this idea of collective thriving and growing. Because we are literally all under the same sun. Maybe it shines differently for different people or we all respond to it differently. This is a cheesy answer, but we are all actually on the same planet and we’re all responsible. That responsibility is distributed somewhat differently because of our how different people, use the resources and steward the land differently, but we are all responsible one way or another for , our collective future. For me, Under the Same Sun speaks to questions of responsibility, it speaks to questions of collective growth, and nourishment, and our ability to feel the same kind of joy or radiance, and the conditions that enable that radiance.

[00:13:12] Miko Lee: What do you think from the edges of Chinatown means?

[00:13:15] Connie Zheng: When I think about edges I think about borders and boundaries and how they’re often very porous, and also how the edge is really where I some of the most visible forms of change happen. It’s not usually from the center , I’m really interested in thresholds, and how no every edge is both the ending and beginning and that sort of space where beings and things and entities cross over to become something else is really fascinating for me, and so the edge of Chinatown there’s the literal boundary on a map of where Chinatown as a neighborhood begins and ends, but also the community in Chinatown , it’s not limited to those 9 or 10 or 11 blocks. It’s much bigger than that. It’s much more expansive and diffused than that. I think that slippage between where the sort of bureaucratic designation of a neighborhood and a community like that tension or flow is really interesting for me.

[00:14:42] Miko Lee: Oh, I like this philosophical every end beginning. That’s lovely. You were raised in China. So when did you first see San Francisco Chinatown? What was your first experience with that?

[00:14:53] Connie Zheng: I think I first visited Chinatown in actually in college. So I was born in China, and I mostly grew up on the East Coast. I spent a lot of time in Boston Chinatown and before that I lived in a very predominantly white working class town in Pennsylvania. There were not very many Asian people. My parents would have to drive two hours every month to the nearest Chinese grocery store. Growing up for me Boston Chinatown was like a revelation and coming to San Francisco for the first time and going to Chinatown was like a shock. It was incredible . Walking through the neighborhoods or walking past the small vendors, The stalls, reminded me of being in Asia and it was really magical. I didn’t know that existed outside of Asia. The more that I learned about San Francisco Chinatown, it’s history why the architecture is the way that it is and how it was really like a safe haven for a lot of people. Specifically during Chinese exclusion. It’s a place that is filled with so much significance and meaning, and it’s really special to have been able to do work there over the past year and to continue doing work there.

[00:16:25] Miko Lee: You’ve done a number of site specific interactive projects, can you tell us about the one that you will be doing as a part of the upcoming Under the Same Sun?

[00:16:33] Connie Zheng: I will be making a modular outdoor garden installation called Nine Suns, and it’s in reference to the Chinese myth of Houyi and the Ten Suns. In this story, there were once ten suns, in the days when gods roamed the earth. The ten suns would usually cross the sky one by one. One day all ten of the sun appeared in the sky at once and started burning the earth. This archer Shot down nine of the suns and left just the one that we have today. I’m really interested in trying to imagine a more gentle transformation of the nine suns who fall from the sky. In the standard myth the archer is like the hero but I’ve read like a number of sort of accounts that reference this myth that nuance the story a little bit by mentioning how like cruel and unkind this archer is. Especially since his wife is Chang’e, the moon goddess, who literally escaped from him I was really interested in reframing this myth and not having the emphasis be on this male archer who shoots down these nine sons, who Maybe we’re just hanging out together and in this garden installation there will be nine circular planter tubs that are mounted on movable circular dollies. That are painted to look like the suns that were shot down by the archer. And

[00:18:10] Miko Lee: so interest. That’s very exciting. Wait, where will it be located?

[00:18:15] Connie Zheng: I believe it will be located outside of CMAQ on Grant. I think the exact location is still being determined right now, but it’ll be a street level installation. Each of the planters will be somewhere around 2 to 3 feet wide. There will be 9 of them and they will be arranged in a sort of wavy horizon line and each of the planters will have like Asian herbs. On the day of the festival, there’ll be wavy line that’s reminiscent of an undulating horizon. After the festival, the planters will be moved to Kaiming Head Start Preschool actually for use. For the school to use in their outdoor education program, which is really exciting.

[00:19:04] Miko Lee: Oh, I love that. So you’re making it, you’re creating it for this one arts festival, but then it will have an ongoing life with young folks.

[00:19:12] Connie Zheng: Exactly. Yeah. And that’s really important. I think that was one of the most exciting things about this project. The planters, because they’ll be installed on these circular platforms that have wheels on them, they’ll be mobile and the idea is for them to be easily configured into different arrangements, depending on the school’s needs. That feature was really exciting to me because it’s inspired by The reality of very tight space in Chinatown and also in the interconnectedness of the community. I was like, really inspired by and struck by how so many residents of Chinatown are really mobile. They’re tracing numerous orbits a day as they go to school, go to work, run errands, see friends and family, and just build these very rich lives with Lots of nodes of connection. The sort of connectivity is really important for me to think about here. I wanted these planters to be mobile, to be easily configured and modular and also to have a life outside of this one day event.

[00:20:21] Miko Lee: So what is the walk away message that you want your audience, after coming to see this event, that’s a reimagining of this folktale that many of us grew up with, what do you want people to know or to think about when they walk away from your exhibit?

[00:20:37] Connie Zheng: It’s really exciting for me when a project that I’m working on opens up different angles of thinking about a story that we’ve inherited. What happens to the fallen sons in this story is something that was really interesting for me and that I hope is interesting for others. The reimagining of these nine fallen suns as gardens is a really lovely thought for me I was really excited about the idea of each of these suns after they’ve been shot down from the sky, going off and nurturing their own earth, after they’ve Fall out of the sky, they like maybe roam through the solar system, and or the nebula, and

[00:21:28] Miko Lee: They’re just out there roaming around the universe.

[00:21:31] Connie Zheng: Yeah, but then they find this maybe like a barren rock and then they nurture it into life. They start their own solar system, and so I think this idea of rejected things, creating new life or being the basis of a new ecosystem is something that’s always been fascinating to me and I hope that the installation might encourage others to think about that as well the idea of, Things that are fallen, or thrown away, or considered useless as these nine sons were, things that were considered useless, actually being like, the source of new life.

[00:22:09] Miko Lee: Rebirth. From the phoenix, they rebirthed.

[00:22:13] Connie Zheng: Yeah, totally. I love that.

[00:22:15] Miko Lee: Fun, fun. You do so many different types of mediums. You do film and drawing and writing, food events, maps, and plants, we were chatting earlier about mooncake design, and filmmaking, all these different mediums that you utilize. Can you talk a little bit about how the different mediums you use? impact the issue that you’re exploring? Are you drawn to film because of this issue or does it just come to you organically?

[00:22:43] Connie Zheng: I do like to come to materials organically. I think there’s like a lot of unconscious intelligence that we have. If I have an idea for something, usually I’ll try to sit on it for a while before I actually make the thing. There’s some projects where the form and the material manifest themselves very quickly and early on. Sometimes it’s just very obvious for example I recently finished a nine foot long map of Asian farmworker history in California, and I started making it while I was an artist in residence at the 41 Ross Space on Ross Alley. When I first started thinking about how to create this archive of Asian farmworker history in California, the map form was very obvious to me. I was like, oh, it definitely has to be a map. That was a project where I knew exactly what it would be once the idea, once the sort of like germ of the idea bloomed in my brain.

[00:23:59] Miko Lee: Oh, I look forward to seeing that work. That’s, is that up still?

[00:24:03] Connie Zheng: Yeah. Yeah. It’s up at the Berkeley Art Center right now, and it will be going To the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for the Bay Area now triennial in September. that show opens in October.

[00:24:16] Miko Lee: Oh, great. So folks can have access to your work in multiple ways.

[00:24:20] Miko Lee: I noticed in a lot of your work is addressing environmental awareness and climate change. Have you always woven your politics into your artistry?

[00:24:29] Connie Zheng: Certainly not. I think figuring out how to weave my politics into my creative work has been an ongoing process with a lot of trial and error. Not all of my work displays my politics so visibly. I feel like a lot of my creative practice is really just like a series of experiments to figure out what my creative languages. My earliest work was very personal, and as I started to have more of an audience for my work, I was trying to, figure out what kind of dialogue I wanted to have with people. My first short film was, very angry like film essay that was focused on how racialized and class, a lot of American mainstream media rhetoric about pollution is. That was very much inspired by my experiences of my childhood in China and also growing up traveling back and forth between China and the U S and seeing how intensely polluted a lot of the places where my family lived were and then learning more about how that came to be a lot of the worst pollution around the world , can really be traced back to multinational corporations that are based out of the U. S. or North America and Europe. A lot of this terrible pollution is outsourced to countries of the global south, developing nations and also like poor communities, often communities of color in the United States. And the more I learned about this, the more sort of furious I got about it. My first film essay was this extremely finger pointing piece, and the reception for it was really interesting for me. I noticed that the people who responded to it most tended to be like other Asian diasporic people or Asian Americans I received a lot of feedback from That it was didactic. At first that made me really angry to hear that it was didactic, mostly from white viewers and then I think that changed, , and then, , Got me thinking about , what kind of conversation do I want to have? How do I want people to respond to a work? I don’t necessarily mean is that going to piss them off or not? I realized that it felt uninviting for people and it felt uninviting for the exact, people I wanted to have that conversation with. I wouldn’t say like I’ve completely changed the way that I work. My writing tends to be much more pointed and my visual work I try to move through a spectrum of Different strategies and ways of weaving my politics into the creative work. Sometimes with certain projects, I want to be more inviting and to plant the seeds of that politics in people, and sometimes it’s more like an open conversation, and sometimes it’s a little more direct. For the last several years, I’ve really been experimenting with different strategies and approaches to bring my politics into the work and also to try to make it depending on the context, as inviting as possible without hiding what my politics are.

[00:28:32] Miko Lee: Thank you for that.

What are you interested in exploring at this Under the Same Sun event? Will you have a chance to walk around and see some of the other artwork, or are you staying with your exhibit?

[00:28:43] Connie Zheng: I hope I’ll be able to walk around and see other artwork.

[00:28:46] Miko Lee: And what is it for yourself? How would you like to walk away from the festival?

[00:28:51] Connie Zheng: I would love to have conversations with people about what the festival means to them and what questions it’s opening for them and how they see, the installation what inspires in them, what questions it opens for them, I’m really humbled when people bring any real presence to my work, and it’s not something I take for granted. I think really just engaging thoughtfully with a creative work that you see is it requires an act of like generosity. Would just be very excited to have conversations with people.

[00:29:38] Miko Lee: Well, Connie Zhang, thank you for spending so much time with me. I appreciate you, look forward to seeing your artwork.

[00:29:44] Connie Zheng: Thank you. Yeah this has been really lovely and thank you for your time and your attention.

[00:29:50] Jalena Keane-Lee: Next up, listen to turn you by Rocky Rivera.


[00:29:53] Jalena Keane-Lee: That was turn you by Rocky Rivera.

[00:32:53] Miko Lee: You’re tuned into APEX express on 94.1 K PFA and 89.3 KPFB in Berkeley and [email protected]. Welcome to Apex Express Macro Waves. I’m so excited to talk with you all. You are a locally based creative collective and you create interactive pieces that are around conceptual art, new media, and design. Welcome Robin Bird David, Dominic Cheng, and Jeffrey Yip to Apex Express.

[00:33:25] Dominic Cheng: Thanks for having us.

[00:33:26] Robin Birdd David: Glad to be here.

[00:33:29] Miko Lee: Can I just start with each of you, because we have three different important voices. Can I start with each of you telling me who you are, who are your people, and what legacy do you carry from them?

[00:33:45] Robin Birdd David: My name is Robin Bird David. I go by she, they, and that’s a big question. I don’t think we’ve ever been asked that question. I think it’s an important one. Specifically there’s five of us technically in the collective. There’s three of us today, who are working on our current project that’s coming up with CMAC and Edge on the Square. The collective also includes Tina Kashiwagi and Anam Awan but they are not here today. Specifically with us three, we’re all born and raised in the Bay Area, Asian American second generation. So I think that holds an important aspect of the communities we serve. We’ve been doing a lot of work around stories of different generations of migration, the diaspora particularly with Filipino American, Chinese American we’ve done work around Japanese American stories, intergenerational stories. So I’ll leave it there and pass it along to Dominic.

[00:34:50] Dominic Cheng: For the most part. We represent our collective, which is mostly Asian American and Pan Asian artists. All of us come from different backgrounds of art practice. we really strive to collaborate and share our skills and our different experiences and really tried to build upon work that isn’t necessarily representative of one single individual. And it’s more centered around our collective experience and so as My collective mate Robin had mentioned we do a lot of work that’s really introspective and looking at our ancestry as Asians in America or Asian Americans in America. We really try to focus a lot on exploring intergenerational experiences and issues, a lot of trauma and healing that we try to integrate with a lot of the work that we’re producing. And that’s what brings us here today to the project that we are creating as part of the Under the Sun Festival.

[00:35:57] Miko Lee: So Jeffrey, who are your people and what legacy do you carry from them?

[00:36:06] Jeffrey Yip: When I think of my people, I think of family. How I identify in general is for my upbringing, for my family and all the arguments I’ve had all the kind of love that was shown to me. I think as you get older, you start to have chosen family, right? Macrowaves we consider ourselves a family and I consider them my chosen family. Our broader community folks, there’s so many people, there’s so much love , in the Bay Area and specific being the creative kind of scene. Our legacy is we all have something to share in this world, right? As a collective, we’ve learned that we all bring something special to the table. We highlight our kind of like strengths. We do what we can to help each other. As a collective, we also do that in the broader kind of communities. It’s like we, we have something to share. We mentioned this before, is like a collaboration and bring people on board and get to know people, build community, and like grassroots kind of way.

[00:37:08] Miko Lee: So thank you for that.

[00:37:12] Robin Birdd David: The reason why Macwaves got together in the first place was because we were really craving a place for people of color. Queer folks to come together to have a safe space to create artwork together. That was really removed from the competitive nature that is often in art spaces, as we know, like art within capitalism and within the society, it builds this structure of you’re competing for grants or for residencies. The people that we want to serve and the people that we build with are other artists, queer people of color artists to really create a space where we can build and share resources and skills to create work together rather than to be competing. So that’s something that we emphasize in our work. I think the Bay Area holds a special place as a place where a lot of revolution has happened, a lot of community building has happened in the Bay Area for people of color, for marginalized communities. I think that is a legacy we hope to carry as we continue to do this collective work.

[00:38:16] Miko Lee: That’s so great. Can you talk a little bit more about how you came to be, how your collective came into fruition?

[00:38:23] Robin Birdd David: Yeah, that’s a good question. Jeffrey and I attended San Francisco State together and we met in a cybernetics new media art class. We were craving a space that wasn’t so white focus and wasn’t so white wall focus. My background is in painting and Jeff was in the program for new media. We felt that there was this divide of either like the fine arts world, which was a very like white wall space. Then there was the art and technology spaces, which also felt white. There was just a specific type of artists and community that came along with both those spaces and us being people of color, Asian, and growing up in the Bay area. I felt like I didn’t necessarily belong in those spaces at the time. We decided why don’t we do our own thing? So we started doing these one day events, art experiences parties where we would do like installations and have like DJs and performers and chefs come and we would do this whole experience where like different senses were activated. That’s how we started and it just formed naturally.

[00:39:35] Miko Lee: So it started out Robin, you, and Jeffrey, and then you’ve grown to add more people?

[00:39:40] Robin Birdd David: Yes, we started in the ideating phases, and then we brought in other folks, like Dominic, to come help and create these one day experiences. Then from there, the folks who were collaborating with us, we naturally formed into a collective.

[00:39:56] Miko Lee: Does each artist play a specific role? How do you interact with each other?

[00:40:01] Dominic Cheng: I think one of the things that we’ve felt really special about being in a collective is that we bring different strengths, but it doesn’t necessarily dictate like what we can and cannot do in the collective. There’s a lot of responsibilities with a lot of the organization, a lot of the finances, but then there’s also the responsibility of developing concepts and like refining what approach we want to take towards making installation or an experience. I think organically we have developed concepts for our projects collectively. Some folks tend to take lead on some ideas and others follow and provide support, which is always I think something that has been really uplifting for us is to not really. Think about it from like an individualized perspective where one singular artist needs to do every single thing on their own. That really opened up a lot of opportunities for us as creatives and artists to think beyond what we individually can create and really honing in on the resources and the creative like experiences and techniques that other folks bring to the table.

[00:41:14] Miko Lee: So macro waves focuses around future ancestry intergenerational experiences and collective healing. How does this relate to the Under the same sun, reimagining collective liberation from the edges of Chinatown, which is the theme of this year’s second annual festival.

[00:41:33] Dominic Cheng: We have been a collective since 2015. A lot of the work that we have been doing has been centered around storytelling and exploring our ancestry through a lot of experiences that we’ve encountered between us and our parents or us and our grandparents or others. Us and folks that are probably not an ancestor quite just yet. We have always been fascinated in utilizing that area as like a point of adventure as a place for us to explore ideas outside of conventional storytelling. We have been creating works specifically looking at how trauma has been passed along through cultures of just brushing things under the rug, or how those types of experiences can really build up a like a hard shell for folks to really break through and to heal. We’ve also been doing work that has been exploring some of the experiences that we all share like today especially through the pandemic

[00:42:38] Miko Lee: How does the theme of Under the Same Sun make you feel and what does it inspire in you all as a collective?

[00:42:46] Robin Birdd David: So MacroWave’s coming together in the first place. Is really reimagining art practice like collective work. In this case collective care, which is what our project focuses on. We’re really interested in including other communities in our work. We did a project called alternate realm in SF Chinatown, where we interviewed shop owners during the pandemic when a lot of the restaurants and businesses were closed down and we’re only doing takeout. And so we saw an area where we could. Utilize our work to help small businesses out.

And so we interviewed these small these business owners about their experiences around alters and specifically Qingming And we asked them how did their rest or their business restaurant shop start and what are your alters that you have at home. Through these interviews, we collaborate with other artists outside of the collective to create augmented reality alters that became a walking tour that communities can experience through their cell phones or iPads.

And so really just like bringing. outside communities that are not necessarily in the art scene to experience what other people are doing in the community and how do we bridge the gap between different generations of people and continue this legacy of storytelling and to learn more about in this particular project, more about like our Asian community and the diaspora and how they were able to start a business in the first place.

[00:44:27] Miko Lee: I really appreciated those short videos about Qingming and just getting to hear from a shopkeeper’s perspective about what the things they’re burning for their ancestors. I think about that a lot when I’m doing Qingming with my family. So I appreciate that there’s this video that’s there on the internet will just last, but then you had this temporary piece with where you would go and scan a QR code. Is that right?

[00:44:53] Dominic Cheng: Yeah, part of this. That project really involved us really capturing the stories of these local businesses who are not just only struggling financially and economically to survive, but they were also like experiencing heightened like violence in their communities and xenophobia. And this was like during a time where we felt that. It was important for us to open up this project as a platform for other creatives, other artists who identify as Asians to create a digital offering, like a digital art altar offering to each business in response to the stories that they were hearing

[00:45:33] Miko Lee: Jeffrey, can you talk about the piece that you’re going to be showing at the exhibit coming up for under the same sun?

[00:45:43] Jeffrey Yip: Yeah it’s a huge project and we’ve been conceptualizing for about two years now. It’s Actually a culmination of the work that we have been doing. In 2000, I think 17 or 16, we started creating like healing spaces. One of which was like Protectural Voyager, which showed at SoMa Arts. It was this geodesic dome and there was like healing feedback sensors attached to it. There was like one that could read your brain. A brain wave reader and what was a heart wave reader. We’re inviting folks to meditate inside this dome and when they we’re at a calmer state, then the visuals will be more meditative and encourage meditation. We’ve created a number of these kind of like healing spaces and exhibitions. Collective futures is the one that we’re going to be showing at this festival this year. Idea is around community care, collective care and also questioning the idea of self care and self care is important and we all need self care and sometimes that can get caught up in Western individualism and I think it is important to have that delineation and emphasize the the collective care because because you can’t do everything by ourselves. We need community. We need family members. We need people to show up for each other.

[00:46:59] Robin Birdd David: Our piece is called collective futures. Our installation is a critique about self care and coming out of shelter in place. We were encouraged to take care of ourselves, but also as a means to be productive and to get back out there and to work. it’s like what Jeff mentioned is really important, but there needs to be a shift to like community care like how do we take care of ourselves. If institutions aren’t are not working if certain systems are not working, how can the community show up for each other and I think that. Under the Same Sun is an example of this collective experience of coming together to reimagine new ways of experiencing art and really integrating and bringing together different communities outside of Chinatown, into Chinatown bringing other migrant, people of color communities who all have similar ways of showing up and caring for each other rather than being segregated Into like different communities by ethnic groups, but like, how do we come together?

[00:48:04] Miko Lee: Jeff. If I walk into Edge on the Square, what do I see?

[00:48:10] Jeffrey Yip: If you walked into Edge on the Square, you would see a mound full of moss. We’re inviting people to come and sit down on and in the middle of that mound, there’s going to be like a bowl of water that will be vibrating and the whole platform is actually vibrant. So we’re inviting participants to come on and feel these vibrations that are being produced by the sound artists that we’re inviting to, to provide sound. On these platforms, there are transducers that essentially work like speakers, but instead of pushing air out of the cone, they vibrate .

And so basically that’s essentially what this project’s about. We’ll be like having a platform building a platform that will be vibrating.

So there’ll be like a, like a sound installation that will vibrate the same frequencies into the platform. And so there’s this idea called a vibroacoustic therapy. And it’s the idea that like. under certain vibrations that can be a healing thing, right?

And so we’re inviting folks to come on this platform and all vibrate on the same wavelength and essentially just have the intention to heal. And I think a lot of times with these healing spaces, we’re not like, Oh yeah, these spaces are going to heal you. It’s more it’s more so like we’re inviting to people with to come in with the intention to heal because I don’t identify as a healer, but I feel like we all can do the work to heal ourselves.

[00:49:31] Miko Lee: Where is your piece going to How can people find it?

[00:49:36] Robin Birdd David: Collective Futures installation can be found in the Edge on the Square gallery space. It is part of the gallery exhibition that will be up, till next year, June. And the location is 800 Grant Avenue in San Francisco, Chinatown. The nature of the installation is really about collaboration. We’re inviting other collaborators to come in to either create sound performances where the sound performance connects to the vibration. On this installation can feel can physically feel the music being played at the same time. We also are inviting other healing practitioners, we’re hoping to invite a Tai Chi instructor to host a class, maybe with different, with elders, with different community members in Chinatown to be able to utilize the platform in different ways.

[00:50:35] Dominic Cheng: We wanted to create a platform as a means of opening up dialogue about other community engagement opportunities. Some of the folks that we have been interested in is cone shaped top, which is arts and culture space based in Oakland that has been doing a lot of work opening up space for a new emerging sound artists to have a space to perform and just to share music and be in community with each other.

[00:51:01] Robin Birdd David: Cone Shaped Top will be collaborating with us for the opening of Under the Same Sun Festival on September 30th. They will be hosting a series of other sound and performance based artists that will perform live for the festival. So we’re really excited about that and to really kick off this installation where throughout the year, the rest of the year and next year, we’ll be able to collaborate with other community folks.

[00:51:28] Miko Lee: That is very exciting. Jeffrey Yip, what do you want audiences to feel?

[00:51:35] Jeffrey Yip: Everybody’s gonna have a different experience, right? I personally want to start with telling somebody how they should experience the work, like I really do feel like everybody’s going to come in with a unique perspective. The way that they’ll experience it will be new to themselves because for me part of the art right is the experience within the individual, and that’s what they’re bringing to the table. It’s a almost a collaboration with the participants as well because they bring their unique experience to it and you know maybe they’ll share some share the experience with somebody else and there might be similarities but they’ll have a unique experience. Ultimately I would say a sense of togetherness and community. That would be ideal.

[00:52:19] Miko Lee: What about you, Robin and Dominic, what do you want the audience to feel when they leave your exhibition?

[00:52:28] Robin Birdd David: The concept behind collective futures really comes from that feeling that we had in the pandemic where we were actually able to take a break. The concept of self care, even though it existed already, was there was a hyper focus on self care, and whatever the care is that people needed, it was obvious that we all needed a break and we needed space from capitalism from the day to day work and hustle and bustle, and so this installation really is a nod to that. It’s wait a minute, how we take a step back and think about like how do we show collective care? How do we show up for each other? How do we care for ourselves? In a way that I don’t know if we really got to the We never really got to the root of the problem since we came back from COVID, even though COVID still exists. We never really figured that part out. Like here we are still continuing to hustle and continue the work which is all important. I’m hoping that people who experience our installation will be reminded of I need to rest and it’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to pause and it’s okay to just lay here and be still and be okay with where they are in their lives, where we are in our lives.

[00:53:47] Dominic Cheng: Building on to that, I really do think that one of the hopes that I have is for folks to come to this leaving with just more interest in exploring collective care. It’s important to not just only continue to do the work of living day to day and trying to survive, but really to take those moments of rest and really to seek out opportunities to provide community collective care. It has to be a constant and it can’t just be, like, a one time thing. That’s what we’re really hoping for folks to do is to really be moved by the collective experience that they share with. Either folks that they bring together with them to the space and to the installation or for folks that they meet and connect with organically just throughout their visit.

[00:54:37] Miko Lee: What are you looking forward to at this whole event that’s happening? Will all of you stay with your piece or will you get to wander around and experience the other events that are happening?

[00:54:49] Robin Birdd David: That’s a good question. I’m hoping we’ll be able to experience the events. That’s also my birthday. So I’m hoping to be able to celebrate, see folks I haven’t seen in a long time in the community, and to learn about other artists work and to be able To also explore Chinatown as the way that the festival is, was designed to be able to support small businesses. And then also to be able to collaborate with Cone Shaped Top is such an honor and something that we’ve wanted to do for so long.

[00:55:19] Dominic Cheng: I’m excited to just support other artists who are activating like different parts of the festival. I had attended last year’s festival the inaugural festival and was really amazed and really moved by the ways in which folks were taking up taking up space in like public areas through art and were sharing different stories in different parts of the entire Chinatown neighborhood. That was really exciting for me to experience the first time and I’m hoping to experience that and something new this time around.

[00:56:01] Miko Lee: What about you, Jeffrey? What are you looking forward to?

[00:56:07] Jeffrey Yip: I echo everything they both said. I think being a spectator and experiencing What these other creatives are showcasing. I know Kim Ip is going to do a performance. I’m excited about that. TNT Tricycle is going to be there. Maybe I’ll sing a song I know there is going to be a lot of great stuff. There’s going to be the canto pop. I’m excited for that as well. So maybe dance a little bit in the street. , I think that would be nice.

it’ll be really good for me and Jeff to brush up on our Cantonese through dancing to canto pop DJ music.

[00:56:43] Miko Lee: Okay, and we will just look forward to seeing you all dancing in the procession, which is going to be lion dance and then Duniya dance all the way around the block. So you can do a little Bollywood, a little lion dance. Thank you so much Macro Waves Collective for joining me on Apex Express. I hope people can get out in the streets and see this amazing artwork going down the end of the month, September 30th. Thank you all for joining me.

[00:57:08] Robin Birdd David: Thank you so much for having us.

[00:57:10] Dominic Cheng: Thank you so much Miko.

[00:57:14] Miko Lee: Thank you so much for joining us. Please check out our website, kpfa.org backslash program, backslash apex express to find out more about the show tonight and to find out how you can take direct action. We thank all of you listeners out there. Keep resisting, keep organizing, keep creating and sharing your visions with the world. Your voices are important.

[00:57:39] Miko Lee: Apex express is a proud member of the AACRE network. Asian-Americans for civil rights and equality. Find out more at aacre.org. Apex express is produced by me. Miko Lee. Along with Paige Chung, Jalena Keane-Lee, Preeti Mangala Shekar, Anuj Vaida. Kiki Rivera, Swati Rayasam, Nate Tan, Hieu Nguyen and Cheryl Truong tonight’s show is produced by me Miko thank you so much to the team at kpfa for their support have a great Night.


Artist Song Album Label
Mondo GrossoIntermezzo SunNext WaveSME - Sony Music Direct (Japan) Inc.
Rocky RiveraFind My WayNom de GuerreBeatrock Music LLC
Menahan Street BandThe CrossingThe CrossingDaptone
Rocky RiveraTurn YouNom de GuerreBeatrock Music LLC
Asian CrisisShimautaAsian CrisisAsian Crisis
BonoboFlutterFlutterNinja Tune