Story behind – why did I want to create it?
Last week(October 2, 2018), an 18-year-old NYU student jumped in front of an oncoming train in Manhattan and committed suicide on the subway tracks, which reminded me of tons of similar stories about how desperate people living in New York City decided to end their lives this way. That NYU student was actually living right next to the apartment that my friend lives and was said to “never speak to people around”.
This sad story really made me think of what is really “under the surface”: 1. people might seem ok outside but are suffering from depression inside and never speak up. 2. The upper ground of New York City might seem glittering and stunning, but under that surface, there are dark subways with homeless people and literally there are people living under the ground (basement) in bad living conditions. 3. Or even, what is story behind the immigrant americans? How about their hard times and great effort just to stay in America? (Tenement Museum’s HARD TIME tour is a great example.)
Therefore, I decided to give the series of stories a name of “What’s under”: the hardships both physical and mental that people are suffering from to better understand NYC more comprehensively. And I believe these stories should be told. By facing /speaking up and admitting the difficulties in stead of avoiding talking about them, we can really release the stresses and have empathy for the people around us. (Ughhh I would very much appreciate it if any of you could comment or give some suggestions about this idea?)
As a quick start of the “what’s under” series, I made a tiny quick model of the West 4 subway station. Also instead of “danger” signal near the track, I really wanna replace that with “we love you” to remind everyone you are loved always and please don’t jump into the subway :(((
Diorama of everyday life – Subway
New York City’s subway is so different from Shanghai’s subway. Unlike Shanghai’s subway where all you can do in it is get on it and go to your destination, New York’s subway is much more interesting. It is like a little gathering place where there are all kinds of people doing different things other than taking the train: they perform, draw, read, dance, shout, or even live their lives here. And to me, it feels like a different world underground, which is fascinating and interesting enough to visit. I like its hot, smelly, dark, crowded as well as dynamic. I promise there are stories to tell under the ground.
Therefore I made a diorama of what I see when taking the subway everyday out of cardboard, foil and acrylic painting material. I tried to make it a space dark enough and feels like”under the surface”. And I tries to use foil to create a stunning feeling outside as well as giving a texture of the ground and tracks in the subway.