Born a Problem: A Multimedia Exhibition by Paula Te & Edward Gunawan

May 1 – 12, 2024

Gallery Hours have been extended to May 12! After May 5, visitation is by appointment only, please email [email protected] to book time

A multimedia exhibition by artist Paula Te and poet Edward Gunawan, BORN A PROBLEM investigates the invisible historical forces that impact present-day culture, society, politics–and ultimately: our sense of personal flourishing and communal belonging.

In 1965, a CIA-aided military coup marked the beginning of a tumultuous period in Indonesia. The new authoritarian government, perceiving a "Chinese Problem," initiated a series of anti-Chinese policies from 1967-2000: Chinese language names barred on official documents, Chinese language media and schools shuttered, while public celebrations of cultural festivals such as Chinese New Year were banned.

These exclusionist and forced assimilation laws, echoing the Indian Treaties & the Removal Act, the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, and the Immigration Act of 1924 in the United States, fostered resentment and discrimination that led to massacres and sexual violence against the Indonesian Chinese community in 1965 and 1998.

This multimedia exhibition by artist Paula Te and poet Edward Gunawan (who are both of Chinese Indonesian descent) takes the form of erasure poems based on actual laws from this dark chapter of history. The large-scale interactive installation contains the context behind the redacted text, revealed through augmented reality (AR).

A smaller-scale proof-of-concept display of this work was presented at From the Margins group show at The Fishbowl in Seattle, WA (Feb 2024).

Past Gray Area Gallery Exhibitions

Gray Area Opens New Gallery Space August 25, 2022 with Inaugural Exhibition

We're thrilled to announce the opening of the new Gray Area Gallery on August 25, 2022, a permanent exhibition space located within Gray Area's current home in the MIssion District's Grand Theater.

Gray Area was originally launched in 2006 by Founding Executive Director Josette Melchor as Gray Area Gallery in San Francisco's South of Market (SoMa) to showcase technology-driven art. The Gallery transformed into the Gray Area non-profit in 2008, and exhibited works by seminal new media artists including Casey Reas, Aaron Koblin, Camille Utterback, and STAMEN Design. During this time, the space quickly became a cultural community center, developing notable civic engagement programs activating communities to respond to local urban issues, and expanding with educational programs, research, and live performances.

The new Gray Area Gallery continues the tradition of making genre-bending work accessible to the public. In tandem with broader Gray Area thematic initiatives, the first year of gallery curation will center on the complicated tensions and surface areas between identity, representation, expression, oppression, and technology.

Where We Live? - Steven Piasecki & Michael Meisel (July 2022)

Location & Hours

Gray Area Gallery
2665 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

MAY 1–12, 2024

SUNDAY 2:00 – 8:00 PM

The Gray Area Gallery is open for appointments only after May 5. To schedule your visit and discuss available times, please reach out to our curator Wade Wallerstein at [email protected].

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