The American Dream (1994)

The American Dream, 1994, performance slides

This is my oldest work that I made as a teenager dealing directly with my Othered identity as a woman of color, growing up struggling with issues of belonging and the crushing pressure of the white beauty standard.

The text below is an excerpt of my chapter that will be published soon by Palgrave Macmillan in the scholarly anthology, Home and Homeland in Asian Diaspora: Transnational Reflections in Art, Literature, and Film, edited by Jean Amato, Associate Professor; Comparative Literature; Fashion Institute of Technology and Kyunghee Pyun, Associate Professor; Art History; Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY.

“…as a child and teenager, it pains me now to recall my burning desire to be white, longing for “peaches and cream skin, eyes like deep blue pools, hair like spun gold” (Chung 26). And yet, this form of assimilation and acceptance is highly gendered. To fit in as a female is to be the object of desire and the ultimate trophy of male success. Los Angeles Korean American pastor Warren Lee writes in his memoir, “It created within me, a burning, yearning, face-pressed-up against-the glass sexual and romantic desire for white women, especially blonde haired, blue eyed ones” (Cumings 464, Lee, W. 12). This theme is a part of The American Dream (1994), my first performance intimately created in front of a camera.”

Works Cited:

Chung, Nicole, All You Can Ever Know. Catapult, 2019.

Cumings, Bruce. Korea’s Place in the Sun: A Modern History. Updated ed., W. W. Norton, 2005.