California Dreaming is a multi-genre collection featuring works by Asian American artists based in California. Exploring the places of “Asian America” through the migration and circulation of the arts, this volume highlights creative processes and the flow of objects to understand the rendering of California’s imaginary. Here, “California” is interpreted as both a specific locale and an identity marker that moves, linking the state’s cultural imaginary, labor, and economy with Asia Pacific, the Americas, and the world. Together, the works in this collection shift previous models and studies of the “Golden State” as the embodiment of “frontier mentality” and the discourse of exceptionality to a translocal, regional, and archipelagic understanding of place and cultural production.
The poems, visual essays, short stories, critical essays, interviews, artist statements, and performance text excerpts featured in this collection expand notions of where knowledge is produced, directing our attention to the particularity of California’s landscape and labor in the production of arts and culture. An interdisciplinary collection, California Dreaming foregrounds “sensing” and “imagining” place, vividly, as it hopes to inspire further creative responses to the notion of emplacement. In doing so, California Dreaming explores the possibilities imagined by and through Asian American arts and culture today, paving the way for what is yet to be.