For my Art Studies 141: “Photograph as Art” final project, we were assigned to synthesize and construct an art project related to our class field trip to Baler, Aurora. I took this opportunity to combine key lessons I learned about photography as an art form with the culture shock is that I experienced back in my “homeland.”
So what is culture shock? It is defined:
noun [mass noun] the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone when they are suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.” (Wikipedia)
After leaving for most of my life in California, it is not surprising that I experienced a lot of discomfort being in a completely foreign environment. Having to adjust and cope the Philippines’ culture and way of living for five months was a constant battle.
Even with my previous experience in traveling to India for three weeks, I thought I would easily manage to create some sort of strategy to cope over culture shock. But the reality was that I simply could not completely adjust.
So after reflecting on what is holding me back, I started to realized that there was a disconnect. Within the scope of supermodernity (which was only briefly covered in my class), my professor coined the term, non-places, a word to describe “spaces with no shared identity or common history.” In connecting the term to my experience, I started to realize that the Philippines was my personal non-place. As a Filipino-American studying abroad in the Philippines, it was a given that I just couldn’t easily assimilate to my Filipino culture and heritage because of how my American identity detaches me from trying to embrace the culture.
This disconnection stirred a lot of issues for me in not only getting use to the style and codes embedded in the Philippines’ society but also gaining a sense of “home” within the space. Throughout most of my time being in Quezon City, I tried searching and creating spaces for myself in which I could identify as “home.” With many failed attempts, I began to realize that I had to redefine my perception of “home” because of how it is near impossible for me to recreate my American perspective of “home” within a Filipino space.
My art project aims to redefine what a “home” is through my experience of feeling and being displace, both in the United States and in the Philippines. I juxtaposed two photos, one taken while I was living in the States and the other was during my class field trip to Baler. I focused on particular subjects to help my audience to see the comparisons and contrasts from experience within two different culture. Also, I added a long haiku to further illustrate some of the thoughts and feelings that I had to negotiate.
Feel free to send me some feedback or questions. Enjoy! 🙂
My art project is called:
“I am Asian in America and American in Asia!”