JET PASCUA: ABANDON

Research Fellows at UiT The arctic university of Norway, Academy of Contemporary Art and Creative Writing

In Abandon I will continue to explore different ways of understanding and negotiating
cultural gaps, the public and private memory, remembering and forgetting and
retracing public and personal history. This project will continue and develop further
the inter-disciplinary artistic practice that I currently exercise, which include
installation art, video, performance, painting and collaboration.

When I migrated to Norway in 2003, it reignited certain traumas from my childhood when my own parents migrated to the U.S. and left me with the responsibility of being a parent to my siblings at 14 years of age. Laura U. Marks, wrote that “Cultural diaspora is a destructive as well as productive movement.

When experience takes place in the conjunction of two or more cultural regimes of knowledge and understanding, filmmakers (artists/people) must find ways to express this experience that cannot be in terms of either.” (Laura U. Marks, The Skin of the Film: Intercultural Cinema and the Senses)

With the trauma of such an event, it seemed inevitable that I would focus on what was no longer present as a result of distancing, or detaching myself from reminders of my own history. As an artist and a person I have had to deal with liminality, -that of being here and there, or neither here nor there.

An encounter with a kinesiologist in 2005 directed my focus toward my own family. By “speaking” to my body, the kinesiologist told me what my body remembers. Most of the information she gave me were quite accurate. She also said that a traumatic event happened to my family more than 150 years ago, and the trauma of that event is repeating itself and has been passed on through several generations. I have done some research by talking with family members, and I was surprised to find out that the abandonment of families, abandonment of children, and of country, is not limited to my family alone. It has happened before in my family, many times before through several generations.

I am using this supposed event which happened some 150 years ago as a starting point of a very personal journey, which I hope will give me a better understanding of my family’s history, and of colonized culture, and how the effects of colonization
manifests itself through several generations. I am also interested in learning how, if indeed it is possible, to decolonize a whole nation.

My research will involve interviews with family members, most of whom have migrated to the U.S. I will also look at archives in cities in the Philippines where my family have been known to live. I will look at public documents, photos, and do my own documentation and use the materials and information I will gather for an installation, performance exhibition and a documentary film.

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