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Audio Interference 49: Ryan Wong and Basement Workshop

“All the messages from pop culture present Asian American as an apolitical thing. It was really shocking and liberating to find out that actually, Asian American politics was rooted in radical organizing and rooted in grassroots arts movements.” — Ryan Wong

This episode of Audio Interference focuses on Basement Workshop (active 1970-1986), an arts and political organization based in New York City’s Chinatown that served as a hub for the developing Asian American movement. Elena Levi speaks to curator and writer Ryan Wong, whose exhibition, Serve the People: The Asian American Movement in New York was presented at Interference Archive in 2013-2014. The episode also includes portions of Ryan’s talk at an event celebrating the release of the latest issue of Signal, a journal of international political graphics and culture.

Ryan’s article on Hyperallergic includes more information on Basement Workshop and other Chinatown arts organizations.

More on Serve the People.

Issue #6 of Signal features an essay by Ryan Wong.

This episode includes the song “Yellow Pearl” by Chris Kando Iijima, Joanne Nobuko Miyamoto, “Charlie” Chin from the recording entitled A Grain of Sand: Music for the Struggle by Asians in America, PAR01020, courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.  (p) (c) 1973.  Used by permission. Listen here.

Other music used includes “Artifical Intelligence” and “One and Only” by Ryan Andersen, courtesy of the Free Music Archive.

Produced by Interference Archive.