ID Shop operates as a liaison between individuals and art and social service institutions not only to help queer homeless and immigrant youths apply for federally issued IDs but also to intervene in the bureaucratic system with artistic strategies to bring dialogue about the absurdities of neutrality in law in relation to legal identity. Since 2014, ID Shop has offered letters of proof of residency and other legal helps to the youths. This service especially aids those struggling with residential problems and gender issues in support with the Art & Law Program at Fordham University School of Law, More Art, South Asian Women's Creative Collective, the Door, and Sylvia’s Place. ID Shop seeks to formalize relationships through contracts not only by enabling ID Shop participants to apply for identifications but also by charting the philosophical misconception of personhood in the U.S. ID law system. The purpose of ID Shop is threefold. The first is structural: to triangulate relationships between myself (“the Artist”), nonprofits (“the Organization”), participants (“the Participants”), and individual supporters through agreements and waivers. The second is philosophical: to justify the postcolonial definition of personhood in the law based on the Arendtian phenomenological conception. In Hannah Arendt’s perspective, a legal personality is an artificial mask of law. The third is practical: to provide the opportunity for its participants to apply for ID cards by offering letters of proof of residency in cooperation with art institutions. In this part, an art institution’s address functions as textual residency: a home address on the participant’s ID cards. The art institution’s address serves as the recorded residence of the participants, exposing the voids left by federal regulations and state policies, and reimagining how art institutions could interact with local queer and immigrant communities. ID Shop is thus a performative platform, benefiting members of marginalized ethnic and gender groups. It also re-examines the practices of hospitality: a performative act of identity; to give comfort or make welcome the stranger or foreigner, the host must act; to resettle displaced people, a host nation must act.
Opening up political and legal discourses in the public spheres, ID Shop produces a performative platform in which to bring dialogue about the absurdities of ascribing neutrality to legalese. By translating legal terms into political aesthetics in the context of institutional critique, ID Shop traverses the theoretical divide between art and law, integrating cross-disciplinary practice to collapse axiomatic assertions of an impenetrable, rational and impartial legal framework, in favor of an aesthetics of ambiguity and dispersed perspective.
Image: Installation view of ID Shop, welcome to what we took from is the state Exhibition, Queens Museum, New York City, 2016
Legal advice | Randi Lee
Revision | Alison Howard | Thomas Marks
Logo design | Susie Han
Special thanks to | Jonathan Gordon | Monica Jihan Bose | Sadia Shirazi | Shevaun Wright
Special thanks to my dear participants | Joseph/Jorie | Kiana | Sabrina (a.k.a.) | John | Eugene | Carlos | Shaqasha | Christisha | Terry/Jade
The project participants' ID cards and personal information are fully disclosed in the real installation setting only. © Sue Jeong Ka. All copyright is reserved.
ID Shop has been funded by More Art(2015-2016), Foundation of Contemporary Art Emergency Grants (2016), Awesome Foundation (2016), the Laundromat Project (2017), and individual donors.