IN THE WHITE FRAME : An interview with mixed-race dancers Angel Langley & Jasmmine Ramgotra

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2016-08-30 19:22Z by Steven

IN THE WHITE FRAME : An interview with mixed-race dancers Angel Langley & Jasmmine Ramgotra

Multiracial Asian Families: thinking about race, families, children, and the intersection of mixed ID/Asian

Sharon H. Chang

STRANGE COUPLING is an annual juried exhibition of collaborations between University of Washington (UW) student artists and local professional artists. Over a decade old, the School of Art + Art History + Design program aims to connect campus and community through teamwork and direct engagement. This year I was entirely captivated by one of twelve projects, a performance piece entitled In The White Frame by mixed-race student dancers Angel Langley and Jasmmine Ramgotra with local sound artist/composer/teacher Byron Au Yong. The piece is a stunning work of art and innovative look at the experience of multiraciality within our white dominant culture.

Performed Friday June 10 at Seattle’s King Street StationIn the White Frame is a 20-minute structured improvisation that utilizes movement, materials, sound and space. The audience — who does not sit — is invited to participate but also come and go at will. “We wanted to create something that was structured and improvisational,” said Jasmmine, “And we had an intention to do it about identity.”

Over coffee with me at Columbia City Bakery in Seattle, Angel and Jasmmine sit down to tell more about creating this beautiful piece. They recall at their first meeting with Byron months ago talking about the prevalence of racial dichotomies in society right now. “We knew we wanted to do [something] about our own experience,” reflects Jasmmine. At the same time the three artists had discussed how art is often presented in white-framed gallery spaces. That was when Angel had an epiphany. She had been reading Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children In a Post-Racial World and learning about Joe R. Feagin’s theory of the white racial frame for the first time. “I remember giving [the book] to Jasmmine like you need to read this chapter on white framing cause this is what we’re doing,” says Angel. But also “what does that mean being our identities in a high art space, a white-framed gallery?” Jasmmine can’t hide her enthusiasm, “I was like oh my god that makes so much sense.”

To give form to their improvisation they brainstormed a wordlist with Byron. “Ideas of what mixed race peoples are,” explained Angel, “like superhuman, mixed.” Mutt was one of them says Jasmmine “because someone called me that before and I was like wow. Really?” The dancers nod to themselves about such contradictions. Mixed race identity is supposed to be fluid so fluidity was also on their wordlist. But the reality is that being multiracial is often a polarized, painful experience via other peoples perceptions. The truth of this dichotomy compelled them to add stuck to their list too. “Like more ugly or more beautiful,” Angel gives another example. “Just this idea you’re either a superhuman, or you’re a piece of shit.”…

Read the entire interview here.

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