Nopen uses the vernacular of the classic American diner to shed light on immigration issues in the states. This accessible space invites the audience to navigate and learn about the negative and positive aspects of the immigrant experience. While in our larger society immigrants are often dehumanized and unjustly treated, here, all are welcome.
The iconic visuals of the American diner (jukebox, neon, menus, stainless
steel, etc.) were replicated to create a realistic and engaging experience for
the audience. Each interactive section allowed the viewer to learn more
about immigration issues and also make their contributions to the space.
The jukebox features spoken word poetry by immigrants and children of immigrants living in the USA.
The screen-printed signage is used to present the audience with negative and positive information about immigration issues through the “food” descriptions.
The red menus share injustices that immigrants have to deal with while the white ones share contributions that immigrants have made to the USA.
The table mats are reminiscent of activity sheets presented to children at restaurants. Two of the mats are activity based while the other two offer more information about why diners are the perfect spaces to talk about immigration issues. The cluster of fonts show the variation and engage the audience in a more impactful way.
The neon sign tied the whole piece together at the end. It became the piece that lured people into the diner, which then allowed me to present the audience with the information I wanted them to take away from the space.