An anthropological case study by designer and curator Stephen Fan, SubUrbanisms explores the controversial conversion of suburban single-family homes into multifamily communities by immigrant Chinese casino workers in Connecticut. Addressing the norms, cultural values, and public policies that determine how most Americans live, the exhibition juxtaposes immigrant cultural beliefs and pragmatism with suburban American social, aesthetic, and financial codes. With a regional focus and global reach, it also provides insight into the long-term effects of 9/11 on the New York Chinatown service industry as a significant factor behind the influx of Chinese labor seeking employment at the region’s casinos, and the formation of this satellite suburban Chinatown. With creative implications for the future of housing design and habitation in response to cultural, social, and ecological challenges, SubUrbanisms offers a powerful inquiry into the ways in which culture shapes our lives and our homes.
SubUrbanisms: Casino Urbanization, Chinatowns, and the Contested American Landscape and related programs are made possible from public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York Legislature. Additional support for the exhibition is provided by The Starr Foundation.