Here Now is an exploration of documenting + creatively interpreting the spoken word and oral histories of the Filipino community of San Francisco, in a way that imbues the material with life + without stripping it of its emotional power. This project was done in collaboration and in service of the Manilatown Heritage Foundation. For the last 2 years, I have been involved in working with Manilatown and collaborator Victor Zapanta on digitizing Curtis Choy’s seminal 1983 documentary “The Fall of the I-Hotel”.
A film that chronicles the forceful eviction and removal of tenants of the International Hotel by police. A group comprised mostly of elderly Filipinos of the Manong generation, who immigrated during the time of the United State’s colonial control and endured much violence and brutality while working as farm laborers. This eviction marked the demise of San Francisco’s Manilatown. As the project evolved we began engaging in a series of community lead design workshops to explore the needs and goals of the community, to better understand its digital future. A goal that stood out was the desire for intergenerational connection and from the elder’s perspective to preserve their legacy and history.
That lead to embarking on this exploration, that was grounded in the historical archives of the Heritage Foundation. This experience is centered around an ambient piece that interlaces archival interviews and interviews that were conducted with community members in April 2022 with recorded and found sounds of the bustle of Kearny street outside the I-Hotel, horns of SF based artist Zekarias Thompson, and community members playing traditional Kalinga instrumentation.
The visuals are mapped projections containing an image of a Mandala emenating sun rays that was created using Touch Designer, a scene created in Unity depicting the rice terraces of the Philippines, and archival footage from the Center for Asian American Media of unidentified Filipino families.