Dr. Kristy H.A. Kang is a practice-based researcher whose work explores narratives of place and geographies of cultural memory. She received her PhD at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles (USC) and is Assistant Professor at the School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Prior to this she was Associate Director of the Spatial Analysis Lab at the University of Southern California Sol Price School of
Public Policy where she collaborated with urban planners and policy specialists on ways to visualize overlooked spaces and peoples. Her research interests combine urban and ethnic studies, mapping and emerging media arts to visualize cultural histories of cities and communities. Her current research project entitled “City Stories: Mapping the Spatial Narratives of Singapore’s Landscapes” is a community storytelling platform on the multicultural identity and evolution of TelokAyer and Amoy Streets, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Singapore that has historically been home to multiple ethnic communities. Both streets were the earliest to be developed in the 1820s and are part of what is known today as “Chinatown” – the largest conserved historic district in Singapore. The initiative is supported by the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore (URA) as a form of digital place-making – reflecting the everyday histories of the communities shaping place and culture in a historic district. Kang was co-organizer of an international symposium on mediated public space “Emergent Visions: Adjacency and Urban Screens” (http://www.emergentvisions.net) and her article “Interfaces and Intentionalities: Adjacent Practices of Urban Media Art in Singapore” has been published in a special issue on Urban Interfaces in Leonardo Electronic Almanac.
Kang is a founding member of the The Labyrinth Project research initiative on interactive narrative and digital scholarship at USC directed by media scholar Marsha Kinder. Contributing her expertise in digital arts and animation, Dr. Kang served as researcher, project director, and designer on a range of collaborative projects at Labyrinth between 1997 and 2010.
Kang’s works have been exhibited internationally and have received awards including the Jury Award for New Forms at the 2004 Sundance Online Film Festival. She received this award as co-director with filmmaker Carroll Parrott Blue and The Labyrinth Project for The Dawn at My Back: Memoir of a Black Texas Upbringing–an interactive memoir which explores the cultural history of race in Houston by juxtaposing official histories with Blue’s personal narrative and family archives.
Kang was the Director of Labyrinth’s two science visualization projects. One was A Tale of Two MAO Genes: Exploring the Biology and Culture of Aggression and Anxiety, a collaboration with molecular biologist Jean Chen Shih, which is being used as a model for interactive science education at USC, Tsinghua University of Beijing and Taiwan’s National Chengchi University. The other was Three Winters in the Sun: Einstein in California – an interactive installation about Albert Einstein exhibited at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
Labyrinth projects exploring the city as narrative space that Kang co-directed include The Danube Exodus: The Rippling Currents of the River, a cinematic installation with Hungarian documentary filmmaker Peter Forgács which premiered at The Getty Center, and Tracing the Decay of Fiction: Encounters with a Film by Pat O’Neill–a collaboration with experimental filmmaker Pat O’Neill that combines fictional and archival narratives to explore the former Ambassador Hotel and its surrounding neighborhood, now known as Koreatown near downtown Los Angeles. Her project, The Seoul of Los Angeles: Contested Identities and Transnationalism in Immigrant Space, focuses on this area of Los Angeles and its diverse ethnic community. This study is presented as an interactive online cultural history. Using archival images, family photographs and oral histories drawn from its diverse community, this project is a platform for community storytelling that looks at the sociocultural networks shaping immigrant communities and how local neighborhoods negotiate a sense of place within an increasingly globalized culture