In Translation

2017, single channel video and stills

total run time: 8:15

with poem “Hi Bata Santo Han Akon Pagbisita”

or “Once When I Visited Uncle Sugbo” by Victor Sugbo, used with permission.

with Marietta Calleja-Baglieri

In In Translation a conversation between mother and daughter and the recitation of a poem (by writer Victor Sugbo) in the mother's first language allude to loss of language and cultural practice. Immigrants encounter this loss, and it is suggested that Filipin@s in the Philippines, living under a neo-colonial system, do as well. This is juxtaposed against the performance of an indigenous dance from another region, taken up (possibly appropriated) by New Jersey Philippine-Americans of various ethnicities in an attempt to showcase cultural pride.

Rather than to pass judgment on this showcase by Philippine American immigrants, these juxtapositions are meant to nuance and complicate the experience of assimilation, and look from varying distances at the practices that flow into the gaps caused by loss of language and cultural knowledge. “In Translation” asks, where does that which resists translation reside?