Through the Viewfinder I Now See: a Critical Memoir
The following is the introduction to my Master’s thesis Through the Viewfinder I Now See: A Critical Memoir.
In this thesis, I interweave autobiographical materials, accounts of family history and reflections on my practice of writing and filmmaking, especially on the creation of my graduation film. I also introduce texts by authors who meditate on their own experiences of cultural exclusion, political instability, racism, diaspora and grief.
I identify with these authors and draw parallels to my own experiences with methods of exposition, annotation and script-writing: I construct imaginary scenarios in which these authors, my ancestors and myself meet. Through recounting my encounters in real life and creating figurative ones in this text, I articulate the taxonomy of suffering in different narratives and acknowledge the privileges present in my own.
In this structure, I elucidate three central themes: the feeling of not belonging, the conflict embedded in one’s identity, caused by the seeming opposition of one’s ancestral oppression and one’s contemporary liberty, and the need to memorialize. The viewfinder and the camera recur throughout the text not only as objects, but also as metaphors for the framing and positioning of my point of view.
After her visa expired, a young woman leaves the US and her belongings behind. She moves to the Netherlands with a ceramic coffee maker, one of the only objects she keeps. As she makes coffee with new encounters, she builds a home again.
This is my graduation film.
I am the young woman.
So the story begins.