To address the complexity of the narrative I felt I needed to help the viewer internalize, relate and integrate what they were being given into their own ways of thinking; I felt the need for an organizing conceptual framework. This lead me to the use of food as both a sensory and conceptual analogy. Representations of food, as ingredients, meals and diet, engages the viewer to recall a taste and smell. But food is more; it is an encapsulation of traditions, preferences, manners, many of the elements of what a culture is, the norms. It provides an analogy that everyone is familiar with and as we witness the change in diet we witness the change in the family, the traditions, and the culture.
The resistance some of us have in eating certain foods parallels the resistance we might experience adopting the norms of a new culture; broadly, a resistance to the unfamiliar or change. But the change experienced by the immigrant is also felt in the hosting community. They too may witness changes to the norms they hold dear. When multiplied a thousand times across a community we can extrapolate from the personal to the societal to the political perspectives. Resistance to change is expressed on many levels in myriad ways. How we manage it depends on those we look up to (our family, political leaders, the justice system) and how they either encourage or discourage this resistance.
The outcome of this investigation takes the form of a multi-media installation employing a grid of photographs summarizing the family story, a video of a dinner capturing the dynamic interactions and sounds of different eating styles, manners and foods, with a second video that develops the parallel between food and cultural norms. The work is presented as a personal chronical, in part because of my position in the third generation and my direct knowledge of each individual. Ultimately, the goal of this work is not only to tell my own story in relation to migration and cultural change but also to submit that this transformative experience has become increasingly prevalent in a 21st global society.