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Breathing in New York, March 2020


Video, single-channel, color, with sound

Video Duration: 1 minute 10 seconds



<Breathing in New York> series is about a connection I imagined between three seemingly unrelated but concurrent events that took place in New York in March 2020: the mask mandate resulting from the outbreak of COVID-19, the plastic bag ban, and my personal experience of race in New York City. Once I was walking on the streets and wearing a mask in Manhattan; Two white males passed me and called me'' Chinese, Mask'', which was weird because I am not Chinese. The feeling, at the moment, was less threatening and more strange and confusing. Racial discrimination is a fresh and scary experience for me. This was the first time I experienced a level of discrimination that was palpable. At the moment, I wasn’t even aware that it was racial discrimination because I had never experienced it before.

My complicated feeling is not only because of racial discrimination, but also the abnormal relationship in politics, history, and culture between Taiwan and China. The multiple and ambiguous meanings of the word “Chinese" is a complicated and sensitive subject for me as a Taiwanese. Therefore, I thought that if I covered my head, people could not know my identity. I did a seemingly ridiculous and little sad action of covering my head with a plastic bag with a colorful Key Food label to hide my identity that, at the same time, could be seen as protection against COVID. Wearing a plastic bag might be not only for hiding my identity but also to avoid being defined by others. I wanted to and tried to get back the right to define myself. I am who I am.

(The series of photos titled <Breathing in New York, 2021> is the documentation of my walking on the streets wearing a Key Food plastic bag.)


1. 紐約州政府禁止商家發放塑膠袋


3.有天我帶著口罩走在曼哈頓街上,兩位白人男性對我喊「Chinese, mask」。

在《Breathing in New York》系列中,我想像了三個看似無關但同時發生的事件之間的聯繫: 因 COVID-19爆發而導致的戴口罩令、紐約在2020年三月發起的塑料袋禁令以及我在紐約遭遇 關於種族的個人經歷。 有一次我戴著口罩走在曼哈頓的街上;兩個白人男子從我身邊走過,朝 我的方向喊「Chinese、mask」,我感到很奇怪,心情複雜,因為我不是中國人。因此,我想如果 我把頭遮住,人們就不會知道我的身份。我做了一個看似荒謬又有點悲傷的行為,用一個塑料袋 蓋住我的頭,上面有Key Food超市的標籤(Key Food超市是一個平⺠超市),以隱藏我的身份,同時這可以被視為對COVID的保護。


《Breathing in New York, 2021》的系列照片記錄了我戴著 Key Food 塑料袋走在街上的情景。

Breathing in New York, 2021


Photos for documentation of walking on NYC streets

Yu-Ching Wang  Breathing in New York, 2021
Yu-Ching Wang  Breathing in New York, 2021
Yu-Ching Wang  Breathing in New York, 2021
Yu-Ching Wang  Breathing in New York, 2021
Yu-Ching Wang  Breathing in New York, 2021
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