Center for Media Justice is proud to congratulate our Network Manager, Betty Yu on being awarded the 2012 Create Change: Public Artist Residency with the Laundromat Project in New York City. 

The Laundromat Project is a community-based public art non-profit that brings arts programming to laundromats in the Greater New York area. The Laundromat Project uses the space of local coin-ops to provide communities of color living on modest incomes with broad access to visual art as a tool of personal and social transformation.

Betty was one of eight artists accepted into the Public Arts Residency and will receive a small grant to engage in cultural exchanges and learning opportunities with working artists, like the Urban Bush Women.  Every year, local artists of color are awarded residency and invited to create public art projects in and/or around their neighborhood coin-ops through the Create Change program.  Her six-month residency will culminate in a public exhibit this fall, where she will convert part of a laundromat in Sunset Park Brooklyn into a garment factory.  Sunset Park, where Betty grew up- is home to one of New York’s largest Chinese immigrant communities with a growing garment industry.  Betty will present an Interactive Installation piece titled “The Garment Worker”.

 About the Garment Worker Interactive Installation:

“The Garment Worker” focuses on the daily life of a garment worker and the hardships she/he encounters.  Through the integration of video and audio, “The Garment Worker” provides a rare look into garment working conditions that Chinese immigrants face in New York City.  The project will include first hand testimonials, facts about NYC’s garment industry, working conditions, and how they are organizing against these labor abuses.

Once the user sits down in front of a sewing machine, sounds of a factory will be playing in the background.  There are two computer monitors flanking both sides of the machine.  Printed out instructions direct the user to operate the machine.  When the user turns the balance wheel or slide, the stitch control or pushes their foot down on the pedal different videos highlighting facts about the garment industry and sweatshop conditions will appear on the screen.   When the foot pedal is pushed, sounds of bosses shouting at workers to work faster, to skip lunch to stay quiet will be heard.

The objective of the project is to be both educational, entertaining and a useful tool for community organizing.  The installation is a creative way of relaying facts and statistics of the garment industry and providing a rare inside look at garment workers lives.  Ultimately, the project is meant to arouse users to recognize that sweatshop conditions still exist in the U.S. and that they should support organizing efforts to eliminate them.

Join us in congratulating Betty on this amazing achievement!


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