Arts & CultureExhibits

The ‘Architecture of Internment’ exhibit is an eye-opening part of the 13th Annual DisOrient Asian-American Film Festival of Oregon



Until Sunday, April 22, a series of 13 haunting boards will sit on display in the lobby of Straub Hall. “The Architecture of Internment: the Build Up to Wartime Incarceration” exhibit details Oregon’s involvement in the Japanese internment camps from 1941 – 1942, following the attacks on Pearl Harbor. President Roosevelt’s Executive Order forced 120,000 Japanese Americans and immigrants to be incarcerated, including nearly all of the 4,000 Japanese Oregonians living here at the time.

“As a legal term, ‘internment’ means the detention of ‘enemy aliens’ during a time of war,” one board says. “The term was used to make the public more comfortable with what was, in fact, the mass imprisonment of people treated as if guilty of a crime.”

Excerpts from official government documents, provided by the Library of Congress and Oregon State Archives, refer to the Japanese with derogatory terms such as “Japs” and “aliens.” Oregon has and turbulent history of institutionalized racism, and this exhibit is eye-opening for those who may be unaware of just how dangerous these government actions can be.  

“The Architecture of Internment” is part of the 13th annual DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon, which highlights 12 feature-length films and 16 short films, all created by and starring people of color. According to a study by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, 5.7% of the 900 most popular films of 2017 featured Asian roles, and 3% employed Asian directors. DisOrient aims to provide a platform for independent Asian and Pacific Islander filmmakers to screen their work.

Today, there are two chances to catch screenings of activist Anastasia Lin’s documentary, “Badass Beauty Queen,” at the Broadway Metro (43 W Broadway) at 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Lin herself will hold a Q&A after each showtime. There will also be a free panel on Asian Americans in film and media at Lane Community College, featuring five of the DisOrient film directors, at 3:30 p.m. And after a long day of movie viewing, you can unwind at the Aloha Friday celebration today 6 p.m. at Whirled Pies (199 W 8th Ave) and enjoy live music from Hawaiian musicians.

The DisOrient festivities this weekend will be held in multiple rooms in the EMU (1395 University St), and DisOrient founder Jason Mak will host a Q&A and screening of his documentary “A Taste of Home” at 10:30 a.m. in the EMU’s Redwood Auditorium.

The Architecture of Internment exhibit is free and will be on display in the Straub lobby until Sunday. The full program and schedule of the DisOrient Film Festival are available here, as well as links to purchase tickets.


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Mia Vicino

Mia Vicino