I Saw This: Letters Aloud

Susie Kozawa and Erin Shie Palmer at Wing Luke.

Suspended on fine lines, hundreds of folded sheets of white paper dangle and twirl above while voices read from letters between immigrant Americans and their families in the home country. Entitled, appropriately enough, Letter Cloud, this work is a collaboration between sound artist Susie Kozawa and visual artist Erin Shie Palmer, both of whom live in Seattle. Hung just below the skylights in the Wing Luke Asian Museum’s West Lightwell, this permanent installation pays homage to its site, the 1910 East Kong Yick Building, whose old wood walls once contained a hotel. Myriad voices rumble and swoon in a range of languages, including Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. English translations tell stories of hardship and courtship. There are letters of loneliness and longing, marriage proposals from afar, and segments that tell simply of aging. You’ll sit with this piece as you would a letter: quietly, poring over the details.