Seeing Providence Chinatown: Relational Reconstruction of Erased Histories

Jeffrey Yoo Warren

Watch a recording of Yoo Warren’s lecture on our Youtube page.

“Seeing Providence Chinatown” is an ongoing project using archival photographs and records to reconstruct an immersive 3D model of historic downtown Providence Chinatown in 1914. The process of reconstructing the neighborhood’s buildings and streets weaves together and interlinks the few images remaining of this once-vibrant enclave, of which almost no trace remains today. Beyond spatial reconstruction, the project serves to honor and support deeper understanding of the community which once made its home on Empire Street, and what their story means for us today, especially as Asian Americans.

Jeffrey Yoo Warren (he/him) is a Korean American artist-educator, community scientist, illustrator, and researcher in Providence, RI, who collaboratively creates community science projects which decenter dominant culture in environmental knowledge production. His recent work combines ancestral craft practices and creative work with diasporic memory through virtual collaborative world-building. Jeff is a member of AS220, an educator with Movement Education Outdoors, and part of the New Old art collective with Aisha Jandosova, hosting art-making and storytelling events with older adults; he is also the 2023 Innovator in Residence at the Library of Congress.

His current artistic practice investigates how people build identity and strength through their interactions with artifacts and histories, and the ways that objects can tell stories that people can be part of in the present. Check out Jeff’s work on instagram @unterbahn