The Platform Silkworm Project
The Platform Silkworm Project is an extension of Ahn Lee’s research and art practice. Lee is a nonbinary, queer Cantonese MFA student who researches silkworms and their connectivity, directly and metaphorically, to the Cantonese diaspora. Funding from CRG will build capacity for Lee’s thesis exhibition at Berkeley Art Museum in Spring 2022; research for the exhibition will take place during their residency at Platform Artspace, a public art venue adjacent to Wurster Hall. Here, Lee will raise silkworms while facilitating open studio days and engaging in public discussions with UC Berkeley community. Lee’s project historicizes silkworms in the Bay Area, focusing on the Piedmont Silk Experiment and Wakamatsu Silkworm Farm. Lee approaches silkworm cultivation (historically documented across the globe as “women’s work”) as an embodied research-creation process exposing a history intertwined with racism and sexism. Lee brings a critical race and gender framework to the community conversations she plans to hold, which will share the East/Southeast Asian ancestral practice of raising silkworms with the UC Berkeley community. This project has an undeniable urgency at a critical moment: we return to campus during a global pandemic while violence against Asians continues to rage in the Bay Area.