Project: Unity

Yuge Zhou's avatar Yuge Zhou

From 1863 – 1869, Central Pacific Railroad Company employed thousands of emigrant Chinese as manual laborers to construct the western half of Pacific Railway, the first transcontinental railroad that bridged east and west coasts of the United States and dramatically reduced the travel times in unifying the trade and cultures of the country. Collectively these “railroad Chinese” laid 690 miles of tracks toiling through harsh conditions and low pay. However, written history in the years afterward gives no voice or identity to these twenty thousand workers and railroad payrolls listed scant and often anglicized names. The installation, weaves together 36 circular pillars and three-channel video projection, memorialized these silent workers who are the ancestors of the Chinese American community today. The phenakistoscope patterns interlock the three-hundred names that scholars have been able to recover and the landscape from Sacramento, CA to Promontory, Utah on which the workers labored.

Entry Details
  • Art form: Installation
  • Depth: 30ft
  • Medium: Three-channel video projection onto circular pillars
  • Width: 30ft
  • Year created: 2021
  • Height: 8ft