Artistic Asians Runs on Shorts (AAROS) is the inaugural showcase for works created by a collaborative collective of Asian and Asian American artists in New York City. Taking place at the architecturally gorgeous former firehouse on 87th Lafayette St. in Manhattan, the May 16th event brings together performances, videos, and exhibitions from actors, directors, dancers, filmmakers, musicians, and visual artists. Featured works include Caroline Shin’s delightful YouTube series in which local grandmothers are interviewed while cooking traditional dishes and a unique musical art installation from James Wu in which the sound of a violin interweaves with recordings of NYC subways. AAROS founder Heesuk Chae spoke with Arts in Color about the inspiration behind the collective, the upcoming showcase, and her hopes for the project’s future.
AIC: Tell us a little about yourself.
Heesuk: My name is Heesuk Chae. I was born and raised in South Korea and moved to New York to pursue a career as a stage director. I graduated from Hunter College with degree in Theatre and have been working as a director and writer. I also have a background in music and compose piano music as a hobby.
AIC: What is Artistic Asians Runs on Shorts?
Heesuk: Artistic Asian Runs On Shorts (AAROS) is a collaborative project based in New York City. The idea behind the project is to bring together new artists and working professionals from all forms of arts including theatre, film, dance, music, and visual arts to collaborate and produce new works. AAROS’s ultimate goal is to create a multi-arts platform for Asian and Asian-American artists.
AIC: How did AAROS come about?
Heesuk: While working in theatre, I couldn’t help but notice the lack of Asian and Asian-American artists. After talking to talented Asian and Asian-American artists and hearing their stories, I realized that finding opportunities was a constant challenge for everyone. I wanted to create a place where they could get together, explore ideas, and develop their creativity.
AIC: Who are the artists involved, and can you tell us a little bit about some of them?
Heesuk: It’s a diverse group of people – some of them are former colleagues. Others are those whose work I’ve seen and reached out to give them an opportunity to show their work to a larger audience.
AIC: How many artists are involved?
Heesuk: About 15-20 artists are involved.
AIC: Tell us a little bit about some of the projects that we will be seeing on AAROS.
Heesuk: AAROS will feature three short plays, three short films, and a web series. We will also have a special exhibition before and after the show featuring photography, painting, and sound, so the audience will get to experience a number of different artistic performances throughout the night. For more detail on each of the performances, please check out our website at: www.AARunsOnShorts.com.
AIC: Can you tell us about the collaborative development process of the works being presented?
Heesuk: The most important thing I always keep in mind is to give artists freedom to use the space. Sometimes there might be some limitations due to putting so many distinctive works in the same venue. But I try to talk with the artists about how they want to present their works and how I can help then to best realize their ideas.
AIC: What are your hopes for AAROS for the future?
Heesuk: My hope is to make the show an annual event that brings in more Asian and Asian-American artists and showcases a number of exciting projects. Also, I hope to collaborate with people creating different forms of arts in the future.
AIC: How can people get involved?
Heesuk: People who are interested in the project can send me an email at AARunsOnShorts@gmail.com with a brief explanation of who you are and how you would like to get involved.
AIC: What does it mean to you to be an artist of color?
Heesuk: It didn’t really occur to me that I was an artist of color until now. But thinking about it, it is a big inspiration. Coming from Korea, there’s a totally different culture here. I think working in different roles on different plays throughout New York City helped me to broaden my perspective and appreciate the diversity the city has to offer. I want to add to that by introducing a project that will give a voice to some of the creative Asians and Asian-Americans who are working in the arts today.
AIC: Where, when, and how can people go see AAROS?
Heesuk: AAROS will have one performance on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 8pm at DCTV (87 Lafayette Street). They can reserve their tickets at www.AARunsOnShorts.com.