Media: 16mm film transferred to DVD, 4:50 min (continuous loop); single-channel, color and experimental sounds on a LED monitor in a wooden box.
Je suis ce que Je suis (2018, 04:50 min) is an experimental non-linear performative narrative on identity and individual perception of the other that is modified through the lens of the viewer. Many people unconsciously assign a role or character based on a person's ethnicity. These assigned roles have often been based on roles played out in the media, which serves to reinforce racial stereotypes. These stereotypes form a prison of cultural expectation in our society for people of different cultures. The determination to assimilate creates a necessity to fabricate different personas for their public and private spaces.
The quote used in Je suis ce que Je suis, is from Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man that I heard a great deal as a child, though in French, scored on the opening bars of Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata Brich dem Hungrigen Dein Brot (“Break your bread for the hungry one,” BWV 39) and Georg Philipp Telemann’s aria Brecht, ihr müden Augenlider (“Close your weary eyelids,” from his funeral cantata Du aber Daniel, gehe hin, TWV 4:17). Ellison’s quote, I am what I am is divided into three parts, English, French and Haitian Creole, languages spoken in my household growing up in Jamaica and Haiti.