A House Shaped Dream

installation, sound art, paper leaves

“A House Shaped Dream” was created during Residence Lab, a 4 month creative placemaking residency in Chinatown organized by Pao Arts Center and Asian Community Development Corporation (ACDC). This project, co-created with Chinatown residents Yuyi Li and Pihua Lin and artist Crystal Bi Wegner, responds to community concerns around a lack of green space and heavy air pollution in Chinatown (the result of urban renewal projects that revoked planned park space to support highway construction).

“A House Shaped Dream” is a small structure we built on the eastern border of Chinatown that is home to drawings and writing that amplify these “invisible” hopes and concerns. Our multimedia installation weaves together visions for a better Chinatown by augmenting layers of desired sounds and images on top of the natural experience of being in the lot. Visitors are invited to rest, rejuvenate, and participate by adding their own dreams to the structure on paper ginko leaves. For those who walk into the structure, which invokes both the familiar shape of a bedroom and a capsule from a future that has not happened yet, we ask them to consider what function imagination plays in shaping our collective future.

Following the installation, we created a set of stickers and zines to document the hopes and concerns recorded during the installation. In the zine, “I hope for Chinatown to stay”, these leaves are paired with supporting research and data. These images were ultimately incorporated in the 2020 Chinatown Community Master Plan, a community-led document detailing plans for the next decade in Chinatown. By documenting and providing context on resident feedback, we hope to give these dreams continued life and sustained resonance in Chinatown.

Read the zine

Artist partners:
A House Shaped Dream is created by Yuyi Li, Pihua Lin, Lily Xie and Crystal Bi Wegner. 

Photos by Tarik Bartel.