Kimono 2: What We Wear

Participant painting Midori's Noh mask whiteA challenging interactive performance exploring the layers of identity and internalized expectations of performance of gender, race, culture, beauty and commodification of the Japanese American woman today.

2015     Oslo, Norway debut

A challenging interactive performance exploring the layers of identity and internalized expectations of performance of gender, race, culture, beauty and commodification of the Japanese American woman today.

This piece was originally created as a context-specific response to another invitation to perform at a fetish themed night club. Given the current social climate, no one would dare request an blackface performance or an exoticized “African” piece by an African American artist. Yet, routinely Asian American artists are asked to perform the exoticized Orientals as non-asian “honor” us by yellow faced minstrel shows and wearing of misappropriated garments.  Japanese bondage is venerated and practiced out of context of its original sex-industry roots. Questioning this pattern is usually met by responses ranging from patronizing micro aggression to outright belligerence and negation. Many Asian Americans also take the route of becoming apologists and participate in the yellow-facing, all the while internalizing the racism and commodification of the self. But when we think about it, don’t we commodify ourselves daily by consumerism and internalize our sense of self as consumer and end-user demographics?