2023 Innovator in Residence Rebuilds and Revisits Lost Communities
Jeffrey Yoo Warren’s Experiment will Virtually Reconstruct Historic Neighborhoods of Color
The Library of Congress has appointed Rhode Island artist, educator and community-focused researcher Jeffrey Yoo Warren as 2023 Innovator in Residence. With his project, Seeing Lost Enclaves: Relational Reconstructions of Erased Historic Neighborhoods of Color, Yoo Warren will use photographs, maps, film and audio recordings from Library collections to build an immersive digital 3D model of historic Chinatowns in Providence, Rhode Island and another city that will be determined.
An Asian American resident of Providence, Yoo Warren was surprised to learn his block was once the heart of a bustling Chinatown. With the assistance of local grants, Yoo Warren began experimenting with relational reconstruction methods to virtually recreate the neighborhood. As the Library’s 2023 Innovator in Residence, Yoo Warren will work with Library staff and collections to develop his prototype and publish a toolkit for other communities to do the same.
“Similarly erased neighborhoods exist all across America, from Chinatowns in San Jose and Denver to small cities like Truckee, California,” Yoo Warren said. “This work is a vehicle for the re-interpretation and reclaiming of the archive as a space for lived practice and ancestral knowledge. I am honored to work with America’s library to unearth these histories with communities around the country.”
Yoo Warren will produce a relational reconstruction toolkit for the public’s use, featuring tutorials and resources for reconstructing other neighborhoods with materials from the Library. Yoo Warren also plans to experiment with multi-sensory elements such as virtual weather and soundscapes.
Jeffrey Yoo Warren is an artist, educator and co-founder of the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science. While a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he co-developed the grassroots mapping methodology, blending public participation GIS and community-based participatory mapping with aerial photography using kites and balloons. His current artistic practice investigates how people build identity and strength through their interactions with artifacts and histories, and the ways that objects can tell stories that people can be part of in the present.
Yoo Warren’s appointment comes as the Library’s Digital Innovation Lab, or LC Labs, celebrates its fifth anniversary. The Innovator in Residence program is an initiative of LC Labs. The program invites practitioners in arts and technology to conduct research with Library staff and demonstrate new paradigms for engaging with archives in the cultural heritage sector. Previous Innovators in Residence include data artist Jer Thorp, Citizen DJ creator Brian Foo, Newspaper Navigator creator Benjamin Charles Germain Lee and Speculative Annotation artist Courtney McClellan.
Through experimentation, research and collaboration, LC Labs works to realize the Library’s vision that “all Americans are connected to the Library of Congress” by enabling the Library’s Digital Strategy. LC Labs is home to the Library of Congress Innovator in Residence Program; has nurtured experiments in machine learning and the use of collections as data; and incubated the Library’s popular crowdsourced transcription program By the People. Learn more and subscribe to the monthly newsletter at labs.loc.gov.
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