The Escape and Rescued Memories: New York Stories
by Lenora Lee Dance
with Kei Lun Martial Arts and Enshin Karate, South San Francisco Dojo
featuring media design by Olivia Ting; music by Francis Wong; text by poet Genny Lim; lighting by Patty-Ann Farrell; and videography directed by Tatsu Aoki and filmed by Ben Estabrook, Eric Koziol, Keith Orchard, Joel Wanek, Zhouyun Chen, and Joshua Chuck
The Escape and Rescued Memories: New York Stories are companion performance pieces inspired by stories of women who became vulnerable upon their arrival in the United States in the early 20th century. They seek to shed light on the the social history of the period for the Chinese in America, as well as the struggles and achievements of the women’s movement.
The multimedia projection in The Escape highlights a site-specific re-creation of scenes from Cameron House in San Francisco Chinatown, where more than 2,000 women received shelter, education, and opportunities, or sought refuge from forced domestic labor or servitude. These women came through Cameron House to recover their lives and make positive contributions to the community and society at large.
Rescued Memories: New York Stories is inspired by stories of women who sought shelter from human trafficking in missions in New York Chinatown in the early 20th century. These missions provided refuge from forced domestic labor or servitude during the period of the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882–1943).
These works provide insight into the role that community institutions and practices initiated during the era of Exclusion played in creating social infrastructure for the Chinese in America. Such institutions presented an alternative to the dangerous environment and fostered healthy, lasting communities. The performance pieces connect this history with today’s fabric of organizations and individuals on the front lines of the continuing struggle against the exploitation of women in our communities.
For more information on presentations of works in progress and related events, please visit the Artist Fellows page.