REMOLINO Y LA MALETA DEL INMIGRANTE
Video installation by Grimanesa Amorós
Optica Festival Gijón 2009, Spain
Oct. 29 – Nov. 1, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009 at 5:00pm to
Sunday, November 1, 2009 at 12:00am
Centro de Cultura Antiguo Instituto
Hall 2ª planta
Video Installations – Hall 2ª planta:
“Remolino y La Maleta del Inmigrante” (2009) guest artist : Grimanesa Amorós.
Growing up in Peru, I was fascinated by the diversity and dynamism of cities like New York, and have long envisioned a project that would explore and celebrate this “culture of differences.” Remolino was inspired by the neighborhood of Jamaica, in Queens—one of the first places I lived in New York, and the most ethnically diverse county in the United States. This neighborhood was veritably born of a confluence of cultures. Jamaica Avenue was an ancient trade route of the Algonquin Nation; the name itself is derived from the Jameco tribe. Settled by the British in 1655, Jamaica continues to attract those seeking a better life through increased economic opportunity, and today its streets are crowded with individuals of an indescribable diversity, from countries as distant and disparate as Haiti, China, India, Colombia, Jamaica, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, and Pakistan.
The concentration of many dissimilar cultures and lifestyles within a relatively small space gives birth to a culture of unique contrasts. Lacking any prevailing norm, the pressure to conform in this type of community is minimal, and what was once difference becomes a part of a shared, multi-cultural experience. The residents of Jamaica are constantly swept up in this dynamic medley of languages, customs, and cuisines. This wave of diversity overwhelms and absorbs, but without threatening the integrity of individual cultures or people.
After observing, photographing, and filming the inhabitants of Jamaica, I created a video to be projected on the façade of the North Fork Bank. The juxtaposition of faces with images of flowing water is suggestive of the movement within the community, the merging of people from all imaginable origins on the vibrant sidewalks of Jamaica Avenue. The fusing, transforming, and scattering of these same faces forces the viewer to interrogate the nature of individuality, and how a shared identity can be forged out of dissimilarity.
LA MALETA DEL INMIGRANTE
The marbles inside the suitcase represent the dreams, memes and schemes that we take with us when we go to a new place. The mirrored surface inside reflects the viewer literally in the way that someone’s belongings reflects them figuratively. In other words, we are what we bring with us.