Inhabit an Alien Memory
A 360º Video Installation
Being a Latina immigrant living in the United States triggered me to start a research, three years ago, about latino DREAMers’ identity configuration and undocumented immigrants belonging experiences.
The term DREAMer originates from 2001 legislative proposal: Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, known as the the DREAM Act. It proposed, that as long as certain civic qualities were fulfilled, undocumented youth could access permanent residency in the country. The proposal never passed. Eleven years later, an initiative called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA, was approved. This permit allowed the same population of the DREAM Act, to obtain a permit that should be renovated every two years. It guaranteed access to a driver’s licence, working permit and social security number. Today, those who have DACA are known as DREAMers.
DACA is not a path for citizenship or american residency, it’s more of a space of uncertainty between legality and illegality within the american migratory system. Immersed on exploring the governance of the intimate, I ventured in search of this form of identity regulation and legality as a limited experience.
The identity of the DREAMer is nascent, new, it’s in configuration. DREAMers are those dreaming bodies who live in an identity gap inhabiting inbetweens. They’re a limited experience to which is only possible to access after a bureaucratic procedure which determines if the individual is productive material for the capitalistic system and potential work force. DREAMers are also young people who look to accomplish their dreams and expose the gaps that exist between the body of law and the one of flesh and bone that thrives under its own struggle and the inherited by its parents.
The concept of identity is intimately linked with the sense of belonging. To belong, the existence of a space -physical or not- is necessary. In this way to belong derives in inhabit. It is this concept, the one of inhabiting, that took to make interviews –with both DREAMers and undocumented immigrants– where departing from remembrance, the place where they use to live in their home countries, before migrating, is explored. The neighborhood where they grew up; the block of their house, neighbors and familiar faces; smells and sounds of their street; their home, its corners and the experiences lived there.
The interviews derived in both: lucid descriptions of a physical space and anecdotes of moments lived in it. The power of tale and reminiscence reconstructed fractured places by time and memory, allowing to re-inhabit them. Places which the interviewees have not seen in decades.
My project entails selecting three of the interviewed subjects, therefore three stories, in order to travel to these three sites and produce a 360 video-portrait of the described places by the immigrants. To capture the neighborhood, its streets, corners, parks and markets, rooftops and house interiors in their current state.
The purpose of the 360 videos is to mount an installation where, at the time that the sonorous story of an interviewee talking about a specific space plays, the user of the piece makes a sort of “guided tour” by the remembrance of the subject who use to inhabit this place.
The act of remembering generates false memories, from there a relationship between memory and fantasy occurs. Personification - empathy, memory - fantasy, are some of the concepts I care to explore. The user virtually inhabiting an alien memory, a place of impossibility to which the interviewee can’t return. A trip in time and fantasy.