New York University’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute transports visitors to the epicenter of American eugenics research and propaganda with its 2014-15 installation, “Haunted Files: The Eugenics Record Office,” an immersive re-imagining of the now-defunct Long Island facility.
A unique recreation of Long Island’s Eugenics Record Office, located in Cold Spring Harbor, “Haunted Files: The Eugenics Record Office” (on view Fri. Oct. 3, 2014-March 13, 2015) includes the original recovered file cabinets from the office itself and invites visitors to sift through a diverse array of reproduced eugenics files.
In the facility, early 20th-century eugenicists channeled Progressive Era ideals of social advancement and state management toward the pursuit of “race betterment” and the defense of Anglo-American racial purity.
From field research reports on mixed-race “Mongrel Virginians” to interviews with the incarcerated “criminally insane,” the installation’s files, photographs, speeches, and correspondences place visitors within the chilling, bureaucratic web of research, politics, and propaganda of the American eugenics movement.
The installation is co-curated by John Kuo Wei Tchen and Noah Fuller; its associate curator is Mark Tseng Putterman.
Installation hours and location:
“Haunted Files: The Eugenics Record Office”
A/P/A Institute at NYU
8 Washington Mews (between University Place and 5th Avenue)
On view: Friday, October 3, 2014–Friday, March 13, 2015, Monday–Friday 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
For more information and to plan or visit, please call 212.998.3700 or visit www.apa.nyu.edu.
About the curators:
• NYU Professor John Kuo Wei Tchen is also the curator of Memory Prints: The Story World of Phillip Chen at the Museum of Chinese in America, and chief historian for the New-York Historical Society on Chinese Exclusion.
• Noah Fuller is a curator and artist working in Brooklyn and an inaugural member of NYU's Art, Education & Community Practice master's program.
• Mark Tseng Putterman is an aspiring academic and activist focused on Asian/Pacific American history and Asian American and mixed-race perspectives on racial justice. He is a Junior Research Scholar at the A/P/A Institute at NYU.