Good Ol’ Elmhurst

Stepping out of the Roosevelt Avenue subway station, I find myself assaulted by a lack of noise, or rather, the muted hustle and bustle that comes with the area, a quiet sort of rush as Asians both elderly and young scurry to and fro in their day to day activities. It is jarring, a stark contrast with the heavy industrial bustling of Manhattan where I usually mark my territory.

Walking along the Avenue, I find a row of laundromats where two Indonesian restaurants, Asian Taste 86 and Sky Cafe, are nestled inconspicuously. The impression I get is immediately one of home, as the pictures of the mouthwatering traditional cuisine and stark colors of the national flag assault my eyes, transmitting an “affect” as Theresa Brennan terms it. As she says, “By the transmission of affect, I mean simply that the emotions or affects of one person, and the enhancing or depressing energies these affects entail, can enter into another (Brennan, The Transmission of Affect).”

Standing there gazing upon the two secluded food joints, I can certainly feel the emotions and affects of the owners being transmitted to my own body, the taste, smell, sight, and feel of a plate of Rendang already forming in my mind and spreading through my senses, even before I step inside and order a plate. But I had to pull myself away, and move on.

Walking further down Broadway for a while, I pass all manner of other Asian restaurants and stores, including several churches, before arriving at my destination, a quaint, minuscule, hole-in-the-wall shop called Indo Java, a staple of the Indonesian community. Again, upon stepping in an affect is transmitted to my body, and I can feel myself reliving childhood experiences roaming through mini-markets back home and looking for sweets and treats.

It is here that my media documentation plays a vital part, an essential contribution to my media ecology in the sense of environmentalism. As Matthew Fuller says, “Here ‘media ecology’ describes a kind of environmentalism: using a study of media to sustain relatively stable notion of human culture (Fuller, Media Ecologies).” Here I am attempting to use media documentation to preserve a stable culture, a diaspora community ingraining its roots in a land far away from home, but never failing to conjure up images of home.

– Adil Akbar

Works Cited:

Matthew Fuller, Introduction to Media Ecologies: Materialist Energies in Art and Technoculture.

Theresa Brennan, The Transmission of Affect, 2004


~ by dilobarks on February 14, 2018.

2 Responses to “Good Ol’ Elmhurst”

  1. #2

  2. I award this blog post as having the best sense of style and affect. I love the descriptive details given to the community, especially how the food junctions gave him a sense of home.

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