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<No Seats At The Table>

Semi-Finalist Proposal for Socrates Sculpture Park Fellowship 2024
Theme: “Invasive Species”

Prologue: The Invasive Species

An “invasive species” is a species that is non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration, in which it adapts and proliferates, competes with the native species, and thrives. Its “unnatural” prosperity is deemed to cause harm to the preestablished system, and therefore its eradication is justified and should be recommended.

If you are an Asian, foreign, professional who has lived, studied, and worked in the US for nearly 10 years, you operate under deadlines. Your legal status always has an expiration date. You eventually grow used to the excruciating anxiety stemming from having to retain a work permit during uncertain times, including the time at the height of COVID under Trump’s administration. You grow used to looking behind your shoulder whenever you are in the street, even when you are just walking down the block to do laundry on a

Saturday morning. You are no longer surprised when you are the only Asian in the street, 3 blocks away from home, late at night, and a man points his finger at the back of your head and repeats again andagain that he is going to kill you. You just keep walking. And when he pursues you, you just yell and stamp your feet so that others may become aware of your predicament. You are not surprised, though, when no one intervenes.

You are the outlier. The outsider. The unfamiliar. The non-native. The “you” and the “them”. The “alien” who competes for resources. When everything is complex and layered, you are the most obvious cause of the imbalance of a pre-existing system that, as everyone seems to remember, used to work perfectly fine. 

You are the invasive species.

No Seats At The Table 01.jpg


1: Aerial view (rendering collage onto an image from Socrates Park’s website)

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