Manifest Destiny 

Cyrus Peñarroyo

November 5-November 28, Nightly

323 Brown St., Columbus, IN
3149 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL

Manifest Destiny, Cyrus Peñarroyo

This short film uses the medium of architecture to assert the presence of both a local and global Filipina/x/o community that continues to be the subject of American imperialism.

The film is motivated by two parallel observations: ethnic enclaves like Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles are undergoing gentrification, and Filipino-American nurses have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Filipina/x/o nurses play an essential role in the American healthcare system, with 1 out of 20 registered nurses in the United States receiving their medical training in the Philippines. They are frontliners, more likely to work long hours in emergency rooms and intensive care units, thus increasing their risk of getting sick — Filipino-Americans represent 3 out of 5 COVID-related nurse deaths in California alone. Concurrently, Historic Filipinotown is nearing the 20th anniversary of its designation, yet residents have expressed concerns about displacement and cultural erasure at the hands of developers.

Through descriptions of hospitals and Historic Filipinotown’s urban fabric, the film attempts to draw out symmetries between varying states of (dis)appearance, (in)visibility, and aspiration.

Cyrus Peñarroyo is a Filipino-American designer and educator whose work examines architecture’s entanglement with contemporary media and digital culture. More specifically, his research investigates the urbanity of the Internet – how networked technologies shape urbanization and how media spheres influence built environments. He is an Assistant Professor at University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning, where he was the 2015‑16 William Muschenheim Fellow.