Episode 30: Speaking to the Gaps aka One Year Anniversary Edition (w/ Billie Lee)

Hello everyone. Wow…so it’s been a year since I launched this podcast. I am a bit shocked the podcast lasted this long. I still remember releasing my first episode with Justin Favela. I had just moved to Berlin and didn’t quite know the identity of my show. I worried endlessly about how I sounded, whether I made any sense, and what the intro music will be. A year later, I’m now in China. A few things that I’ve noticed is my intros have gotten longer and better. I think I have a clearer idea of what it means to be a podcaster, along with the sheer amount of work that goes into it. I still wonder about the reach of this project based on the analytics of the site, although here and there I find that a few people are indeed listening and contributing to my Patreon. So again, thank you to all the listeners who have supported this podcast and everyone who has been interviewed. If you want to show your support, you can subscribe, tweet about the show using hashtag #podin, or donate to my Patreon for $2 a month. I will love you all the same no matter which is easier for you at the current moment. Again, huge thanks to you, my listeners.

So today, I will be interviewing Billie Lee. Billie works at the intersection of art, pedagogy, and social change. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and MFA from Yale University. Billie contacted me as a listener of the podcast and wanted to talk to me for her dissertation, which examines the intersection of race, identity, and cultural politics in contemporary art and education. Billie sent me an essay to give further context on her work, which I thoroughly enjoyed and have linked that essay in the show notes. We had a preliminary chat via Skype before this actual interview to get to know each other better. I didn’t quite know what to expect or whether our talk would meander toward an interesting path, but I recorded it nonetheless just in case (with Billie’s consent of course).

We chatted while Billie was completing a residency at Mass MOCA and as I was about to leave Berlin. The following interview delves quite a bit into my own reflections about the podcast and what I have learned from the process. We talk about our shared experiences going to art school as Asian-Americans, the politics of a model minority, and how white spaces want an endless explanation of certain types of non-white otherness. In editing the audio, I thought this would be a nice discussion to release on the anniversary of this show, given the reflective nature of Billie interviewing me. I still have a lot to learn and things I want to do and people I want to interview. Hopefully this will be one of many anniversaries. In any case, I hope you enjoy it.

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