YEAR 2, WEEK 15 - Setting up for exploration
Current thesis thoughts:
In looking at my thesis experiment proposal and feedback from Maria, I can see that I do, in fact, dance around the idea of my own culture when it comes to writing down my thoughts. So I spent some time exploring that concept but in a less academic sense. I can say I am Hispanic because of my ancestors and who I come from. I could look at my parent's genealogy and say I know for a fact I have ancestors tracing back as far as the Maya. But that didn't feel like enough.
I had a 4-hour long conversation with my family about what it means to be Hispanic. What it means to be Mexican and why I feel so confident in saying I am that until I have to document it. The dedication of it to writing would feel as if I were committing some sort of act of self purgery. Am I Hispanic enough to say I see the world through that cultural context?
excerpt from a conversation with my mother:
Raul: "I want to say that this is who I am, but I grew up in the US ma it's a lot harder for me to say that yes I am mexi-latino."
Mother: "You can say that you are because you are. It's in your blood that is you."
Raul: "But if I never once looked at it from a critical lens, it feels weird to talk about it, you know. I remember the stories you tell me and going to juarez, and when I'm there, I see my family, and I know that's something that's mine, but when I'm writing, it feels like a lie."
Mother: "you are the son of two people from Mexico; your dad became an American citizen, and I'm going to be one too. you are 1st generation pa, you the stuff you grew up around is who you are."
Raul: "but why doesn't that feel like enough when I write about it?"
Mother: "ok, Mira, you grew up knowing that you were [Hispanic] you didn't get a lot of us talking about it, but we did live it. It's
there for you if you want to take it, but you have to say you want to pa, you can also say that this isn't something you want t know about. But you've been calling me asking all these questions. I don't think that that's who you want is either."
The conversation after that went on to me talking about how I did feel closer to my heritage the more and more I researched the meaning behind specific aspects of my heritage and that's where I see myself now. It's just scary because to say that it's mine means that I believe I am enough and I never re
ally felt that way because of how other latinx people talked about what it means to be enough.
The story of La Llorona- this is the story of a woman who had her heartbroken by the man she loved. As he left her and her two sons he drove her to the point of madness, and she actually killed her sons.
many stories talk about her looking for her sons and as a result, steal children away. it was said because at the gates of heaven she was asked where her children were, and unable to answer she was sent back to earth to look for them, never to find them because they already passed on.
this story was one used to scare children into behaving but it's such a pervasive story that it stays even when adults. because it's such a well-known story.
I've decided that as I was writing my thesis thread that what I wanted to explore WILL be an aspect of my culture because I've used my ability to work on aspects of other stories but not my own.
I"ve made the decision to make a work of fiction from my route culture the central idea of my thesis thread exploration. in looking for what to write about when it comes to the Hispanic perception of death and loss, I come to two major stories, one of my grandmother, and one of a sister ghost woman La Llorona. both stories were used to scare me as a child but because of my heritage and mixed cultural background I see them as more sad than scary.
Work was done and Choices made:
I've spent most of my time reading up on Mexican death myths, and several of them are ones that I remember from my childhood. setting up ofrendas, the meaning of leaving food out for the dead, and what it means to celebrate asking for our loved ones to visit us. The thought of the mesoamerican afterlife myth was as I've always thought kinder.
"It's not like they are gone it's like they are here but in a different way." this is the overarching idea I plan on using for my narrative.
In investigating my cultural history, I asked my family of these stories. the little ones passed down not written but spoken over time. the methodology was not in any way scientific I sat down and just had an earnest conversation with them telling them I wanted to learn.
out of that I learned that my mother still talks to my grandmother who has passed on. and that almost every old Mexican lady she talks to sees it as sweet. and the only time she told it to an American coworker she looked at her like she was crazy.
I learned that because of my family's connection with the Jehovah's witness religion a lot of their cultural touchstones were eroded away, being that celebrations weren't really something that was allowed.
the questions I have from this are laid out as such:
what Mexican story can best be translated into a game in the span of 10 weeks.
Can I use tech to archive this idea of ghost stories?
Likely next steps
My next steps will be to address the narrative of my game as well as the tech. I plan on investigating several ways to use AR in a way that makes it feel like a person is being haunted, and seeing if that can be done in a way that constitutes a game.