Ur face is in the flowers

by huntgathersemiotics

I’ll tell you a story.

Growing up, I remember waking up to the smell of multiple cultures intermingling. I remember waking up to the smell of SPAM, fried rice, Balut (fried fish), purple egg plant, pan de sol (filipino baked bread) hot off the oven. I remember waking up to the sounds of my grandmother playing Tchaikovsky on the piano. I remember my grandfather singing hymnals on Sunday mornings. I remember family Christmas parties and I remember the familiar faces that were many shades of brown. Oh, how I love to recall the voices of my youth. waking up to the Taglish of lolas, lolos, tita, titos, cousins I remember that my lola and lolo never called our country the United States, they called it America.

The notion of culture penetrates my memory.

The more I grew older, the more I began to see that the idea of my own Filipino tradition becomes a myth, a fantasy. I am Filipino-American. I am a cultural synthesis, an amalgam of reinvented traditions that span centuries in the making. I understand that the elders in my family speak with accents that are rich with the history of oppression and resistance.

My installationback1 closeup1 closeup2 closeup3 detail1 DSC_0015 as Smart Object-1 effect1 effect2 front1 front2 hall1 hall2 main1 main2 takes on many stories that belong to my cultural memory and cultural imagination. I try to tell life as (eye) see it. I see how my family formed new ways of belonging within this unfamiliar (alien) American geography through the process of assimilation. We formed new ways of belonging together within our alien nation (we are a nation of aliens aren’t we?) conforming to the new ways of living: specifically capitalism, suburbia, dependency on technology.

My cultural imagination lies in the hybrid cultures that were formed through these modes of assimilation. Assimilation defamiliarized our native tongues. Cultural genocide is a part of this process, but through the formation of community, we survive. The communities that I grew up with, were communities of comfort, assurance and salvation. We are communities who yearn for tradition through the process of creating our own hybrid cultures. For me that is where the beauty is. As an aspiring artist and art historian I tend to find myself extracting beauty from the rubble of my past, the history We intertwine through the historical junctures that occur through Migration.

I projected two videos during the week of the show: video one: “la niña, girl of my dreams” (see fig 1.) video two: “a family christmas home video“ (see fig. 2) video three: a television projecting a video of star shapes. I projected the first video onto a white sheet. The second video was projected onto saran wrap. I use these These are the “forms” of my time and place. These forms, along with the videos signify how I critically engage with the formation of my cultural memory. I am because we are, we are because I am.