An exhibition view of a table in a room with photos on the walls

Allie Tsubota, "Dead Letter Room," 2023; archival inkjet prints, original text on washi paper, custom table, and acrylic; installation view at TILT Institute for the Contemporary Image, Philadelphia.

Allie Tsubota

Artist in Residence, 2023

Portrait of Allie Tsubota

Artist Statement

My creative practice explores intersections of race, visuality, and the formation of historical memory. Through a research-based, historical approach, I tend to archives, literature, and other forms of collective memory, and probe the role of visual representations in fashioning concepts of “self” and “nation.” I express this research through photographs, moving images, and text works that consistently rely on the atemporal and transformative grammars of the photographic image. As a fourth-generation Japanese/American, I am interested in histories of Asian/Pacific empire and militarization, in reciprocal desire and assimilation, and in racialized life as that which runs fragmented or fugitive across space and time.


While at Headlands

At Headlands, I hope to further develop a project that considers the racial and sexual valences of the historical incorporation and denigration—the absorption and denial—of the Asian/American subject. Through visits to Bay Area immigration archives and acts of performance captured on film, I am interested in exploring the subversive pleasures and promiscuous potential afforded to Asian/Americans, as those who remain both of and yet perpetually beyond the nation. The historic location of Fort Barry, as a relic of US militarization against the imagined threat of the Pacific, offers an apt site for the investigation.


Artist portrait by Elisabeth Sellke.