Photo by Josh Kesner

Photo by Josh Kesner

Marriage Road Trip

While all my projects come from a personal place, with personal motivations and questions to drive them, I've never embarked on such an intimate project as Marriage Road Trip, which explores contemporary understandings of marriage through an oral history road trip I plan to take with my husband who is a visual artist. He and I will travel across the country to interview, photograph, and draw portraits of everyday Americans who will give us their personal experiences of and views on marriage.

Last October, in 2015, I married my best friend Boris Rasin. We've known each other since high school and have been great friends for a very long time before we started dating over seven years ago. Boris is a Jewish immigrant from the Soviet, and my parents are from South Korea but I was born in New York. Sometimes we wonder if it were any other period of time besides now, in almost any other place besides New York, a Choung would have met a Rasin, let alone be married to one another. Almost half a century ago, “miscegenation” was illegal in large parts of our country just as a few years ago, same-sex marriages were too--and even still, the latter right is being threatened.

These historical facts evoked questions in me about what it means to be in a marriage, particularly across a variety of cultural and political contexts. In exploring everyday American understandings of marriage, the Marriage Road Trip project hopes to add a fresh perspective to the landmark historical Supreme Court case, Loving v. Virginia (of which the 50th anniversary is coming up in 2017), while exploring its nuances and similarities to the contemporary issues of marriage equality. We hope to not only talk to experts of marriage (professional marriage counselors, marriage rights activists, divorce lawyers), but also everyday American couples who wish to impart wisdom on us. By shedding light on what marriage means to Americans today and exploring our own place in the history of marriage in our nation, we hope to counteract the fight to simplify and cement the definition of marriage with narratives that demonstrate the concept’s beautifully and complexly abounding meanings.