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Moving Seams: Argyle


Since 2017, I have been actively chronicling the community of Asia on Argyle, a mainly Southeast Asian commercial district in Uptown, Chicago. Historically a port of entry for many refugees, immigrants and lower income individuals, this historic corridor has been home to primarily businesses sustained by Vietnamese refugees who first settled in the area since the 1970s. Refugees from Syria, Burma and other affected nations still pass through Asia on Argyle as primary destination in Chicago for social services and daily needs.

However, this community rooted in histories of resettlement is currently facing the impacts of rapid gentrification, with many lower income residents facing larger rent prices due to the transformation of affordable housing into market rate residential development, demographic changes with the rising influx of white upper middle class residents, and the adverse decline of funds for social services due to the recent Illinois Budget Impasse that lasted from 2015-2017.

Questions surrounding the layered complexities of identity between the diaspora and those of the homeland, ethnic tensions within the Asian community, the coexisting between immigrants and lower income Black Americans, and the wave and threat of future market rate developments paint a much nuanced version of home. How these narrative conflict and react like to these external socio-economic factors are the heart of this project.