Adele H. Stamp Student Union - Center for Campus Life

Not Your Model Minority
Pandemic, Proximity, and Power
 

Selina Lee

Artist Statement

From conservative coverage of geopolitics to a personal despair over athletic aspirations, these works present how the Asian American identity is challenged on both macro and micro scales. As performances, these three works depict the body, endurance, and race through arrangements where the artist’s presence is abstracted, obscuring her exact identity. With an emphasis on rhetoric and exchange, Fox News in Chinese and Still Training expel the myth of the model minority—a defeating concept which lacks a role model anyway.


Still Training from Selina Lee on Vimeo.

 

Selina Lee, Still Training, 2020. 9:51 min. video.

Still Training is a two-part video performance featuring an underwater interview between the artist and her running teammates, followed by an underwater monologue by the artist. The artist and the interviewees are aqua-jogging, an activity which allows you to run in a pool, eliminating the impact of hard surfaces. Aqua-jogging in the running community is associated to injury, which is associated to alienation.

The athletes in this video are all injured and absent from their training on land—experiencing the grief which accompanies both physical and mental alienation. For the artist specifically, additional grief accompanies a lifetime of disappointment in sports, resulting from the racial profiling of East Asian athletes as “timid,” “weak,” “nerdy,” or “undesirable.”


Fox News in Chinese from Selina Lee on Vimeo.

Selina Lee, Fox News in Chinese, 2020. 6:35 min. video

Selina Lee, Fox News in Chinese, 2020. ongoing performance series on paper 8.5”x11”

Fox News in Chinese is a performance for video between Fox News anchors, the artist, Siri, and the artist's mother. Using a compilation of Fox News clips, selected for their virality and conspiracy- creation over key word, “China,” the artist translates verbatim Fox News statements into Mandarin Chinese through Siri. Using the translated statement, the artist’s mother performs an additional translation of the statement back into English, using Siri on a separate device.

The final products of these translations differ in meaning from their original—exposing Siri’s Chinese inabilities, along with the racial prejudices existing in technology and conservative news media. This video illustrates the transcription process of a larger project that archives Fox News statements and their translations throughout the Pandemic.

Special Thanks to the Studio for Creative Inquiry and Matthew Brown with USA Today


Artist Biography

Selina Lee is an Atlanta-based artist examining the forensic of mass media. Her southern upbringing and Chinese heritage drive her desire to audit Western communications, which include the news, documentary, social media, and critique. Her work questions systems of prejudice and equity, the tradeoff of liberty for stability, and the cost of the American dream.

Selina is recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University’s BFA program, where she concentrated in Contextual Practice and Media Design. She competed on the Tartans’ NCAA Cross Country and Track & Field teams, which significantly influenced her perspectives on collectivism, political ideology, and beliefs without basis. Her work has exhibited at the Frame Gallery, Brew House Association, Brady’s Bend, and Museum Lab in Pittsburgh, PA. She has shown virtually at the Miller ICA in Pittsburgh, PA, and internationally in Doha’s Education City and Shanghai’s Futurelab.