There are many subcultures within a society. These subcultures are subordinate to the dominant culture. They exist as part of the dominant whole but are different in values, beliefs, norms, and other ways of life. Members of these subcultures are perceived as being different and are oftentimes treated differently.
American society has a growing population known as “minorities” who are American Indian (Native American), Asian American, African American, and Latino (Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans, and others from South America). When one refers to “multiculturalism,” in the United States, one is usually referring to a member of one of these groups.
“Multiculturalism” is sometimes understood to mean that all cultures coexist as equals. Usually, they are not equal. They are different and oftentimes easily recognized by the color of their skin, which labels them as not being “White.”
This exhibition primarily consists of artists from the dominant society (with a few exceptions) expressing their views on what “multiculturalism” means to them. We chose sound art as a medium to present “multiculturalism” because it allows us to present an understanding of this societal phenomenon utilizing a new, fresh approach.
What does “multiculturalism” in America sound like? What encounters allow us to hear it? What are our perceived representations? Is this a real or imagined perception? Do artists move beyond stereotypes to present this topic in metaphorical terms that transcend difference? How do members of the dominant society hear the subaltern?
Perhaps if we use an art medium that is usually not used to portray the “Other” in American society, we can gain new insights into our common humanity.
George Rivera, Ph.D.
Department of Art & Art History
University of Colorado
Boulder, Colorado USA