Mi Chen



The term Family of origin refers to the significant caretakers and siblings that a person grows up with, or the first social group a person belongs to, which is often a person's biological family or an adoptive family. Our personality is highly determined by our family-of-origin and our experience with them when we were still kids. Our early experiences with them have a major influence on how we see ourselves, others and the world, and how we behave in our daily lives. However, the influence can sometimes be toxic and negatively affect who we are when we grow up.

In this project, I collected other people’s stories with their family-or-origins. I interviewed and screen recorded four people who had different traumatic experience with their family-of-origin, which shaped their personality, and put them together into a video.

All four of my interviewees’ background have a lot in common. All of them were born and raised in China, and came to the US for college. They all major in arts, and their traumatic experience happened before they were 18 years old. However, they have very different traumatic experience with their families from each other, such as verbal abuse, physical violence, oppressive education, and distance with parents. I asked a list of questions in order to observe how they look at their traumatic experience in different perspectives: younger self, present self, and as artists.

Stella Mi Chen

Shang Zhang

Xiyue Zheng

Donghan Li