Nossa Casa Nova (Our New Home) or Being the Best There Is at Selling
2011 (08:35, VHS video)
In the early 1980s, my father, then a recent immigrant, took a job with RCA as a salesman and moved our family to a suburb of Atlanta. With the extended family we left behind in mind as an audience, and what was then RCA's latest camcorder, my father recorded an extensive collection of home videos, including several detailed tours of our new home and valuable possessions narrated in Portuguese. As a child my role in these productions ranged from visual prop to active (and oftentimes unwilling) performer. Using the same VHS technology and shooting style, I respond to my father's home videos in my own home, mining the absence of my language/cultural literacy (and concomitant shame), along with my lack of personal agency as a child viewed through the lens of his carefully constructed immigrant success narratives. In an act of disruption and reclamation, I turn the camera on my father, asking him to watch and translate my work word-for- word to English. The result is a deeply personal and embarrassing exploration of family dynamics, representation, and first and second-generation immigrant experiences.