Visual Communications

Based in the Little Tokyo area of Downtown Los Angeles, Visual Communications (VC) was established in 1970 with collection of works and films produced by the VC Collective. Groundbreaking films such as “Chinatown 2-step” and “Manong” concentrated on portraying honest and accurate images of Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) and pivotal social movements on film, documenting various AAPI social movements and communities in California. The holdings truthfully portray, against long-standing current stereotypes, a group of diverse AAPI of many distinct ethnic groups not well represented in the historical record.

Materials document microcosms of ethnic communities and events; AAPIs working in Hollywood; World War II, Japanese-American internment, and reparations; the Asian American movement, anti-war and community activism; AAPI community film documentation and the arts; Little Tokyo and Los Angeles redevelopment; and AAPI immigration. VC’s past in media, narrative films, documentaries and educational projects are intertwined with the Asian Pacific American movement of the 1970s, making VC’s holdings a rich resource for artists and researchers. Materials include over 300,000 photographic images, 100 films and videos, over 1,000 hours of oral histories and interviews, and 1,500 titles in the Media Resource Library. VC materials have been used in numerous films, videos, educational materials, publications, and major photographic exhibits across the U.S.

The Archives at VC maintains the records generated and created by VC. Its purpose is to document the history of the organization by preserving and creating access to primary materials about VC and VC’s role in Asian American communities and history. The Archives’ goal is to increase accessibility and discoverability of these materials to researchers and other interested parties. The Archives is open to a wide variety of users, and VC encourages the public, artists, filmmakers, students, and scholars to study its holdings for an understanding of Asian Americans in America’s collective memory.

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