Exhibition branding and design
Andrew Rebatta, Sopie Lo, Herb Tam
Museum of Chinese in America
Working with Andrew Rebatta and the MoCA team,
I created exhibition branding and ancillary material for the show, FOLD: Golden Venture Paper Sculptures. The show features the meticulously crafted work of Chinese refugees, created during their incarceration under the U.S. government as they awaited the outcome of their asylum applications. These men were survivors of the Golden Venture, a freighter that ran aground on the beach at Fort Tilden in the Rockaways of Queens, NY in 1993. The ship contained Chinese refugees, ten of whom drowned in their attempt to reach the shore when the ship ran aground. The incarceration of these asylum seekers was the first time refugees were detained in prisons.
The sculptures acted as the entry-point into the history of immigration in the United states and a glimpse of the origins of our current immigration practices. The show intends to foster a greater dialog about incarceration, asylum seekers, and immigration.
We started with the street banner as the first application of the brand. I wanted to create type driven exhibition branding that evoked the isolation of the Chinese detainees created by their incarceration and ambiguous legal status. Although some of the initial iterations had bold color palettes, our goals were better reflected in the monochrome palette we used for the final.
With a short word being the title of the show, I was able to create a flexible arrangement for the branding, depending on the context in which it was being used.
The particular challenge with creating exhibition branding that was bilingual was creating a display that did not prioritize English over Chinese. The initial designs did not accommodate Chinese at all and I had to rethink the organization, since nobody wanted the Chinese to look like an afterthought(3-3). Rather than simply giving each language display equal area (1-3), I recalibrate my thinking to consider the Chinese and English text as one unit of text instead of two languages.