Curatorial Projects > Present Tense Biennial: Chinese Character (2009)

Indigo Som
<1% (detail), 2009
Site-specific installation of Chinese restaurant menus, tape

The U.S. contains over 35,000 Chinese restaurants; fewer than 300 are represented by their menus in this installation. The (obviously impossible) stated goal of this ongoing project is to collect a menu from every single Chinese restaurant in the U.S. Since my initial call for public participation in 2002, strangers as well as acquaintances have been mailing me menus. The process of collecting forces participants to see Chinese restaurants and notice how ubiquitous they are in our everyday American lives. The menu collection is one piece of my overall Chinese Restaurant Project, which also includes photographs, sound, roadtrips, and a survey about people's earliest memories of Chinese restaurants. Go to to take the survey. You can send menus to P.O. Box 5053, Berkeley, CA 94705 U.S. - Indigo Som

Present Tense Biennial: Chinese Character

May 1 - August 23, 2009
Chinese Culture Center
San Francisco, CA

Photo credit: Scott Chernis