This item is only available as the following downloads:
by Myda Iamiceli Supervisory Committee Brian Slawson, Chair Maria Rogal, Member Lauren Garber Lake, Member A Project in Lieu of Thesis presented to the College of Fine Ats of the University of Florida in patial fulllment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Fine Arts University of Florida May 2013 50/50 FINDING MYSELF within two cultures
2013 Myda Iamiceli
To my mother and daughter. The past and the future.
TABLE OF CONTENTS I. Acknowledgments 5 II. Abstact 6 III. Introduction 8 IV. Denitions 10 V. Background 10 VI. Previous Work 12 VII. Design Process 16 a. Statement of Purpose 16 b. Research 16 c. Inspiation 20 d. Ideation and Prototypes 21 e. A Change in Direction 21 f. The Stoy or Narative 21 g. Autoethnogaphy 22 h. Designer as Author 22 i. Production and Design Decisions 24 1. Writing 24 2. Imagey 25 3. Typogaphy 26 4. Materials 26 5. Book Structure 27 j. Audience Response 28 VIII. Conclusion 29 IX. Futher Directions 29 X. Plates 30 XI. Appendix 44 XII. Works Cited 46 XIII. Additional Readings 47 XIV. Biogaphical Sketch 48 50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 4
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 5 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Most of all I want to thank my mother for telling me about her childhood in Cuba and how wondeful it was. Gacias Mami por tus recuerdos y cuentos de tu joventud. My daughter, who has endured my constant focus on this subject and gad school, thank you for your suppot and patience. Nancy Shreck, my friend and co-worker for many years, thank you for encouaging me to pursue the Master of Fine Ats degree. My committee, thank you for pushing me to tell my stoy. Brian Slawson (Committee Chair), thank you for the endless resources and the freedom to do what I wanted. Maria Rogal, thank you for your guidance and direction. Lauren Garber Lake, thank you for teaching me how to experiment, explore and welcome those happy accidents. Ellen Knudsen, thank you for saving me at the last minute and your common sense and honest approach. Sanda Hice, thank you for being my personal editor. You are amazing at nding those little things that really count. My colleagues, thank you for your suppot and feedback. I could not have done this without your help. And to the inteviewees (listed below), who welcomed me into their homes and oces and shared their life experiences, thank you so much. Your stories made me feel like I belonged, nally. Albis Acosta Robet Almeida Randy Batista Manuel A. Camb Maggy Cuesta Taylor Garrido Lauren Vanessa Lpez Odalis Manduley Rosario Matinez-Caas Nelson Mendoza Raul Merlo Andrew Ruiz Maria Christina Trujillo Beatrice Valdez
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 6 ABSTRACT Growing up in Miami, Florida, I always felt like I did not belong. As a second-geneation American, born in America with Cuban parents, I felt I was neither Cuban nor American. While in Miami, Cuba was present in my evey day in the home, at school, and at play. I was surrounded by people like me, but the feeling of otherness was always there. When I moved away, it became more evident because I didnt have similar people around me. I realized just how Cuban I was. As I grew older, I longed for a stronger connection to my Cuban heritage. For my MFA creative project, I have looked inward to understand what it means to have two identities, how my identities were formed, and why it is so impotant to me. I employed autoethnogaphy and ethnogaphic methods to explore identity, hybridity, memories, and place. I conducted inteviews with Cuban-Americans who talked about their experiences and how they perceive their identity. These inteviews were vey helpful in validating my feelings and brought into focus my upbringing and place. I designed an autobiogaphical book describing my experiences growing up in Miami and how these experiences and the environment made me who I am, both Cuban and American. The structure of the book is, in essence, a book within a book, where the main focus is my personal narative, with excerpts of stories revealed during the inteviews. As designer-author and through visual stoytelling, I hope to gain understanding, acceptance, and cultual empathy, and to stat a dialogue about identity and what it means to be American. Abstact of Project in Lieu of Thesis presented to the Gaduate School of the University of Florida in patial fulllment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Fine Ats April 2013 Chair: Brian Slawson Major: At
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 7 Soy un ajiaco de contadicciones I have mixed feelings about eveything. Name your tema Ill hedge: name your cerca Ill staddle it like a cubano Gustavo Prez-Firmat Biingual Blues
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 8 INTRODUCTION As a second-geneation Cuban-American, born and aised in Miami, Florida, with Cuban parents, I was American, but Cuba was present in my eveyday life. My mother frequently spoke about her childhood in Cuba, wishing she could still be there. For her, Cuba was a utopia. My father, on the other hand, had lived and taveled in the United States extensively since he was a child. He was called el americano (the American) in Cuba. He wanted his family to assimilate and grow up as Americans. After the Cuban Revolution in 1959, my mother applied for visas to get her parents and brother out of Cuba. When I was ve years old, my gandparents came to the U.S. to live with us. The extended family is an integal pat of Cuban families, suppoting each other in evey way. It is expected of children to take care of their parents. Living with my gandparents reinforced Cuban taditions, customs, and the Spanish language. At home I spoke Spanish with my gandparents, English with my father and brother, and Spanglish with my mother. We were already a hybrid family. This mixture of American and Cuban created uncetainty for me, making me feel like I did not belong. I was not totally Cuban or totally American, I felt like I had two identities. Andrea OReilly Heraa, in Cuban Atists Across the Diaspoa questions: Who is a real Cuban? Who is more Cuban? Churning in the mix were the experiences and expressions of Cubands either born or aised o the island, who claimed to possess a Cuban consciousness shaped by their second-hand experience of exile. Though they are clearly aware of their unstable positioning in relation to other Cubans and their status in the diaspoa, many experience what Marianne Hirsch refers to as post-memoythe historical taumatic eects of dispersion that persist in haunting them through geneations, like phantom limbs, at both the unconscious and conscious levels. Many insist that they experience by
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 9 association a profound and perpetual sense of cultual nonbelonging, despite the fact that they were born or bred outside of the island. They perceive themselves to be stangers in their own land, searching for a cultual home (7). Lucy Lippard, in Lure of the Local says, ... Today, many Americans live on the hyphen, or as Coco Fusco has put it, in a hybrid space that can be seen as a shelter between cultures. They are identied by two words, balanced between where they come from and where they have gone. Yet many people who are said to live between two cultures do not; they live as alienated outsiders within one culture. Decultuation and deacination hits evey individual life in dierent ways, so some remain attached to their origins while others nd new homelands; still others remain suspended forever over the abyss, in what Amalia Mesa Bains has called a landscape of longing (62). These feelings and experiences led me to research culture, identity, hybridity, place, memories, what it means to be Cuban, and what it means to be American, and specically, what it means to be Cuban-American.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 10 DEFINITIONS For the purpose of this paper, American is dened as those Americans that do not have a connection to their culture of origin, because the rst person in their family to emigate to the United States did so many years ago, perhaps decades or centuries. These Americans no longer pactice the customs and taditions of their ancestors because they have fully assimilated into American society and the American value system. A second-geneation Cuban-American is one that is Americanborn with Cuban parents. Cuban-born Americans (rst-geneation Americans) are dened as Cubans so as not to confuse the two groups. BACKGROUND The second-geneation Cuban-American lives between two worlds. We are the middle child that no one remembers. Between our exiled parents and our fully-assimilated American children. We are the forgotten ones. In Legacies: The Stoy of the Immigant Second Geneation it explains: Growing up American with foreign parents is not an unusual experience. It is the stu of which innumeable lms, novels, and personal retrospectives have been made. The experiences of descendants of Jewish, Italian, Polish, and German immigants occupy a cental place in twentieth-centuy American liteature. On the other hand, the experiences and situation of children of the more recent arrivals are less well known. Because not only their countries of origin but also the society receiving them has changed, extapolating the well-known saga of the old second geneation to the new is questionable. The United States today is a vey dierent place from the society that greeted southern and eastern Europeans in the early twentieth centuy. These dierences inteact with the acial, educational, and cultual chaacteristics of rst-geneation parents to produce vey dierent adaptation outcomes (Potes 18).
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 11 Immigant children and U.S. born children of immigants are the fastest-growing segment of the countys total population of children under 18 years of age. By 1997, they accounted for one out of evey ve American children. In that year, there were an estimated 10.8 million U.S.-born children with one or two foreign-born parents (Potes 19). The focus of much research, liteature, poety, at, lm and music is the Cuban exile, but it was vey dicult to nd research and resources specically for the American-born Cuban, the secondgeneation Cuban-American. The exile experience and stoy is full of dama, emotion, struggle and perseveance, while the Americanborn children of these same immigants are forgotten. Their children were born in America, so they have been overlooked. What were their experiences? What were their challenges and successes? Who are they? I hope to answer some of these questions.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 12 PREVIOUS WORK A. Japanese Culture Study I began my journey into cultual identity by researching a culture that I thought was totally dierent from the Cuban culture, the Japanese culture. My research method was taditional research from books and journals, and inteviews with Americans that had a connection to the Japanese culture. To my surprise, I found that the Japanese culture shares many things with the Cuban culture. Some similarities are that they value their elders and show respect. They have a love for baseball, and interestingly, both cultures became interested in baseball because it was an American pastime. They both wanted to be like Americans. There were also some dierences. Japan is a homogeneous society where eveyone is the same, and they prefer this, they dont like change (Condon 2). They strive for social harmony where the group is more impotant than the individual, and they have many rules on how to maintain this social harmony (Condon 1314). On the other hand, Cuba has a long histoy of colonization and is a heterogeneous society. In the Japanese home, the woman is in charge. She makes all the decisions regarding the home, the children, and their education. The man is viewed as the breadwinner only (Grossberg 21). In Cuba, the man is in charge and has the nal say for evey decision. The rst project that resulted from my research was a sketchbook where I documented my ndings through dawing, painting, tansfers and hand-written notes in a Japanese stab-bound book (Fig. 1). I then designed a folded book reminiscent of origami that visually represented some of my ndings (Fig. 2), such as the impotance of social harmony, tatemae the outward appeaance, and honne the inner beauty or ones true voice (Condon 2526). To push the project futher, I compared the Japanese culture to the Cuban culture by designing a series of posters, in the form of playing cards, that illustated some of the dierences in the cultures. The posters were designed to convey their dierences regarding power and society. Figure 1. Japanese research sketchbook. Figure 2. Japanese folded booklet. Figure 3. Japan/Cuba poster series, 18 x 23, digital print.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 13 The power poster (Fig. 3) depicts the Japanese woman wearing a kimono, the formal Japanese dress, as the poweful one in Japanese homes. The Cuban card depicts the man as the poweful one in the Cuban home. He is wearing the Cuban formal dress, the long-sleeved guayabea holding a machete The society poster (Fig. 4) illustates how the Japanese society is homogeneous and the Cuban society is heterogeneous. The repetition of the exact same teacup represents the homogeneous society and the heterogeneous Cuban society is depicted with coee cups of dierent shapes and colors. B. Sketchbook After exploring the Japanese culture, I began researching the Cuban culture and my Cuban roots through a sketchbook where I visualized my mothers stories about growing up in Cuba. In this sketchbook (Fig. 5 and 6), I developed a metaphor for my mother, Panchita which was her favorite pet goat. I experimented with composition and dierent techniques of tansferring images, painting, collage and stoytelling, and I developed a nostalgic, whimsical visual language. This sketchbook represented the Cuba that was present in my home, the utopia that my mother always spoke about. C. Connections Cuba has been connected to Miami and the United States for many geneations, even prior to Castro and the Revolution in 1959. To illustate this connection, reminiscent of Ed Ruschas work, for my next piece I drew the word Cuba, where the word is made up of a telephone cord, a metaphor for this connection (Fig. 7). This piece also illustates the Cuban exiles only connection to Cuba, other than the letter. The telephone continues to be a vital connection to Cuba, as the Internet is not widely available and is monitored, therefore, it is not a secure means of communication. You can almost say, that the telephone was and still is a lifeline to Cuba, the umbilical cord that keeps exiles connected to their mother county. Figure 5. Panchita sketchbook. Figure 6. Panchita sketchbook. Figure 4. Japan/Cuba poster series, 18 x 23, digital print.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 14 D. Inner Struggle To push the telephone cord metaphor futher, I illustated the inner struggle of the Cuban exile and the American-born child of Cuban immigant parents (Fig. 8). In this dawing, the Cuban exile is struggling with the past and their love for their motherland, Cuba. The child is constantly struggling with each identity and culture, wanting to belong, but not fully belonging to either culture. Under the pencil dawing are ve bands of painted color, the top is blue to represent America, the bottom is red to represent Cuba, and the middle band is a mixture of both, purple. Inside the white bands are the national anthem to both countries. Spay paint was then applied to hide or obscure the nationalities. The dawing was then created over the painted background. E. Little Havana Revisited To delve into the Cuban culture even more, I revisited Calle Ocho (Eighth Street) and Little Havana in Miami. This place is evocative of the Cuba that my mother spoke of. With their little cafetns clubs, cigar bars, and endless Cuban memoabilia, this is where the Cuban exiles have preseved the old Cuba, the Cuba that does not exist anymore. N ow a tourist destination, visitors can experience, see and taste old Cuba. During my two-hour visit, I felt like a tourist, and I took over 200 photos. As designer-author, I catalogued my trip in a small, intimate booklet entitled, Little Havana Revisited (Fig. 9 and 10). The pages are packed full of imagey, digital collages, and my reactions during the visit. In this book, I created another metaphor, one for myself, the Cuban-American rooster. I came across these large rooster sculptures while driving to Little Havana and found one with both the Cuban and American Flag painted on it. I used this rooster to represent myself on this journey. Figure 9. Little Havana Revisited inside spread. Figure 8. Inner Struggle 30x22.5, gouache, tansfer, spay paint, and pencil on paper. Figure 10. Little Havana Revisited inside spread. Figure 7. Connections, 29.25x23, pencil on paper.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 15 F. Querida Mami Before moving on to the second-geneation Cuban-American, I created a nal piece and exhibit, Querida Mami, or Dear Mom (Fig. 1113). This was a solo exhibit where I featured Panchita my mothers favorite pet goat, in a whimsical and nostalgic way, as a piata. Panchita represented my mother in my previous work, but she had also become a metaphor for Cuba and Cuban exiles. To push that metaphor futher, I made a piata in the form of a goat, covered in my mothers stories, in her words in Spanish. This represented all the stories and experiences, struggles and successes, of the Cuban exiles. During the exhibit opening, we pulled the strings and out fell my mothers stories for the audience to keep. This represented my mother sharing her life with me, and the Cuban exiles wanting to share their life stories. Figure 12. Panchita piata. Figure 11. Querida Mami exhibit, Focus Galley, University of Florida, August 15-24, 2011. Figure 13. My mothers stories, which were inside of the Panchita piata.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 16 DESIGN PROCESS Statement of Purpose The intent of my creative project is to engage the audience and reveal how second-geneation Cuban-Americans feel about their identities, how one develops two identities, and why. Ultimately, I want to create understanding, acceptance, and cultual empathy. Research In Februay of 2012, I paticipated as a facilitator for an IDEO workshop where we worked through the process of design thinking and human-centered design to come up with solutions to a problem. The IDEO human-centered design process is where multi-disciplinay design teams use ethnogaphic methods, such as obsevation and inteviews, to gain empathy and get to the crux of the problem. Qualitative research methods [such as obsevation and inteviews] enable the design team to develop deep empathy for the people they are designing for, to question assumptions, and to inspire new solutions ( Human-Centered Design Tookit 21). The IDEO workshop, and previous exploations with inteviews, led me to the decision to inteview other Cuban-Americans to learn about their experiences and compare them to mine. During the summer of 2012, I began my research and design process for this project. I taveled to Miami seveal times where I conducted inteviews with both rst-geneation and secondgeneation Cuban-Americans. Although I did not conduct ethnogaphic research in the anthropological sense, I took special care in formulating and asking open-ended, non-leading questions to provide insight on the experiences of Cuban-Americans. I had two dierent sets of questions for each geneation (see Appendix). While in Miami I also collected ephemea, and I documented place and my obsevations through photogaphy, journaling, and video with the goal of tansforming these items in my nal creative project. Figure 14. 50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures book, MFA Candidates Thesis Exhibition II, University Galley, University of Florida, April 5-19, 2013.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 17 To conduct the inteviews, I went to each persons home, studio, or oce, so that they would feel comfotable talking about their memories and experiences. Most of the inteviews were videotaped. I ended up learning more about these people than I would have othewise. They spoke of memories, their upbringing, customs and taditions, assimilation and identity. Seveal said that they never really thought or talked about this before, but it was always in the back of their minds. The inteviews revealed four factors that were impotant to the inteviewees: 1. Adaptation is key for Cuban-Americans, both rst and second geneations, 2. Family is most impotant, 3. Not all Cubans are the same, and 4. Its not easy being an exile. The inteviews were also key in validating my feelings and my experiences and gave me the condence to proceed with this subject matter. When talking about adaptation, the inteviewees revealed how Cuban-Americans change or switch from one identity to the next when needed. They move back and foth within the two identities, Cuban and American. Rosario Matinez-Caas said: I feel that this experience to me [the Cuban-American experience] I feel like a chameleon because Ive had to change so much. Evey place you go in order to become a pat of that place you have to change in some way. So, I feel that to me what exile has done is that it has made me this kind of person that [can change]. I feel like maybe thats what I get out of the whole Cuban experience, that I feel that I dont have that bond that I see people have with the place they were born. Because I havent been allowed to live there, in Cuba. As much as my parents have brought me up with this knowledge of Cuba and their life over
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 18 there, its not something that Ive been able to personalize for myself (Matinez-Caas). Shes talking about that feeling of not belonging. Maggy Cuesta talks about not tting in also: I think an immigant doesnt really t. The way I feel about myself, Im not really Cuban, Im not really American, because I dont 100% think like a Cuban, and I dont 100% think like an American, so were kind-of, in-between these two worlds. I think if you take the best of the two worlds, you can nd the happy balance. And thats what Ive done with my life. My dad always said to us that we needed to assimilate, but we needed not to lose our roots. He said to us, you have to follow the rules, you have to adapt to where youre living, live the American life, but yet you need to keep your language, you need to keep your past of Cuba (Cuesta). The second impotant factor was that family is key to the CubanAmerican. In all my conversations, family was always mentioned as the most impotant aspect of a Cuban-Americans life. Without family, one is lost. Maggy Cuesta explains: We lived with two gandmothers and a great aunt. And we also had three cousins at dierent intevals that lived with us because two of our cousins father passed away. So, my father and mother brought em to Texas to help them. Help them go through school and live with us. So, it was called the Cuesta Hotel. Thats what the Americans called our house, because we always had people (Cuesta). Nelson Mendoza agreed: Family was the most impotant thing. Vey taditional in the sense that you dont they werent vey much the leave home at 18 or go away to college. The family was the center of eveything (Mendoza).
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 19 Recently there have been more arrivals in Miami from Cuba, and the Cuban-Americans I spoke with agreed that these Cubans are dierent from the Cubans who emigated to America after the Revolution of 1959. These new Cubans were born and aised in a dierent Cuba, one with a communist dictator and limited resources. The inteviewees felt it was impotant to educate the audience as to these dierences. Some wanted to dierentiate themselves from the new Cubans, while others felt we needed to be more understanding. Maggy Cuesta explains: I think these people have been under a communist dictatorship for 50 years, and theyve just had to suvive. I think we need to have a little more sympathy for these people. A little bit more acceptance and maybe work with them more. They cant be who we are, weve been in this county for 50 years enjoying our life. Theyve been there suviving their lives. I do think were dierent, but I think theyre Cubans, bottom line. I get a little upset when people go, Oh, theyre so dierent. I dont think thats fair. I often think, What if I hadnt gotten out? What if Id been there, these past 50 years? What type of person would I have been? I think life can dictate a lot of who you become. In Cuba, you make what, $15 a month, whether you do a good job or a bad job. You dont have customer sevice to wory about. What aspiations do these people have? Thats why I think we need to be a little bit more less judging and maybe work with them more and help them more (Cuesta). The last impotant factor that the inteviews revealed was that its not easy to be an exile. Cuban-Americans identify with their parents. They have grown up listening to stories about Cubas histoy from their parents, other family members, and friends. They learned about the struggles they endured during the Revolution and their experiences when they left Cuba. Maggy Cuesta says: Its not easy, this feeling of not belonging. I really feel that. But at the same time we have two great worlds we can daw from. But I
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 20 think you will always be an exile. The rst-geneation will always be an immigant. Youre never really an American because people dont ever think youre really American. I think you will always be an immigant, and they will always be biased against immigants (Cuesta). As quoted earlier, Andrea OReilly Heraa talks about the ... Cubands either born or aised o the island, who claimed to possess a Cuban consciousness shaped by their second-hand experience of exile (7). These stories have been internalized by their American-born children. After gathering and tanscribing all the inteviews, I began to bainstorm ideas for tansforming the inteview content into a visual project. Inspiration These revelations from the inteviews reminded me of my work about the Japanese culture and how they used optical illusions to depict the inner and outer voice, and I thought that might be a way to illustate adaptation. I began researching optical illusions and found a book about optical inventions from the Renaissance, Eyes, Lies and Illustations: The At of Deception In that book I found photogaphs of atwork that was described as two-way pictures (Fig. 15). The atwork was accordion folded and the two pictures were alternated on each fold. The image changed depending from what angle you viewed it, similar to a hologam. There is also a photo process called lenticular photogaphy that does this. I believed this form could illustate how the second-geneation Cuban-American adapts and moves, back and foth, from their Cuban and American identities. The view from the front was especially successful, a mixture or blend of both pictures. This could represent the mixture or blend of the two identities. Figure 15. Two-way pictures from Eyes, Lies and Illustations: The At of Deception
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 21 Ideation and Prototypes To illustate the concept of adaptation, I rst used images of an American girl, the girl next door, and a Cuban girl, a girl dressed in a quinceea dress, the taditional dress for a girl celebating her 15th bithday. I then tried items like stereotypical food or icons (Fig. 16). I contasted the American apple pie with the Cuban lan Elvis Presley with Clia Cruz, cigars with cigarettes, and cards with dominos. These worked, but they didnt feel personal. My nal prototype (Fig. 17 and 18) consisted of one girl, dressed in what I believed to be American and as a Cuban. The feedback was good, but something was missing. The two-way poster was interesting and the imagey fun, but it did not fulll my ultimate goal to create understanding and cultual empathy. It illustated duality and hybridity, but it didnt explain why or how this happens. It wasnt meaningful enough to the American audience. As pat of my ideation process, I developed icons of stereotypical American and Cuban items to use in the accordion folded piece (Fig. 19). I later made prototypes of dominos using these icons (Fig. 20). A Change in Direction Prototyping and feedback had revealed that my original idea was not fullling my ultimate goal of understanding. It was impotant that the target audience learned about the second-geneation CubanAmerican, understood how one acquires two identities, and gained empathy for those people. I remembered that when I talked about my experiences, people were always much more interested. I also remembered that the response to my mothers stories in the Panchita sketchbook and the Querida Mami exhibit were positive. The Story or Narrative Stories have existed long before recorded histoy. Oal stories have been handed over, from geneation to geneation. Stories tell us about our past and without them we wouldnt know how to plan for the future. Figure 16. Early prototypes of adaptation folded piece using American/Cuban girl and apple pie/ lan (Cuban egg custard). Figure 17. Final prototype of two-way, accordion folded piece featuring stereotypical Cuban and American dress and icons. Here you see how it changes images from dierent viewing angles.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 22 Narating of an event or action, results in geneation of meaning. ... By recounting a set of events that are memoable, stoy validates memoy and gives it form. Stoy and memoy have a strong interdependent relationship. Just as a narative or stoy cannot exist without memoy, so also is stoy a bearer of memoy. Stoy impats life to experiences and makes remembered events memoable (Sabnani). The inluence of the stoy can be seen eveywhere, in music, books, media, religion, and at. Finding a tting place for oneself in the world is nding a place for oneself in a stoy. The stoy is composed of mythologies, histories, ideologiesthe stu of identity and representation (Lippard 33). Autoethnography To tell my stoy, I employed the ethnogaphic research method of autoethnogaphy. Deboah E. Reed-Danahay, in Auto/Ethnogaphy: Rewriting the Self and the Social denes autoethnogaphy: Autoethnogaphy is dened as a form of self-narative that places the self within a social context. It is both a method and a text, as in the case of ethnogaphy. Autoethnogaphy can be done by either an anthropologist who is doing home or native ethnogaphy or by a non-anthropologist/ethnogapher. It can also be done by an autobiogapher who places the stoy of his or her life within a stoy of social context in which it occurs (9). Designer as Author As designer-author I needed to engage the audience in my stoy. To do this I developed a poetic voice throughout the book where I chose my stories vey carefully and edited down the text to the most impotant details. Michael Rock, who writes about designer as author, questions: Could a theoy of poetics be a functional model? Figure 18. Final prototype of two-way, accordion folded piece featuring stereotypical Cuban and American dress and icons. View from the front. Figure 19. Icons developed for adaptation piece and dominos.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 23 Wimsatt and Beardsley remarked, ... Poety succeeds because all or most of what is said or implied is relevant; what is irrelevant has been excluded like lumps from pudding and bugs from machiney. In this respect poety diers from pactical messages which are successful if and only if we correctly infer the intention (qtd. in Gaphic Authorship). That poetic/pactical opposition proposes two examples; the atist book on one hand and activist design on the other. The atist book oers a form of design authorship in which function has been fully exorcised. The atist book, in geneal, is concrete, self-referential and allows for a ange of visual experiments that include text and image without the burden of mundane commercial tasks. Atist book work uses word, image, structure and material to tell a stoy or to invoke an emotion and may be the purest form of gaphic authorship (Rock, Gaphic Authorship). It was time for me to become the designer-author, the autoethnogapher, and tell my stoy. Through stoytelling, I want to communicate to the audience how it is possible for someone to have two identities, how this happens, and what it means. Ultimately, my goal is to gain understanding, acceptance, and cultual empathy from the American audience. Figure 20. Domino prototypes with Cuban and American icons.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 24 50/50: FINDING MYSELF WITHIN TWO CULTURES For my MFA creative project, I created an autobiogaphical book of my stories about identity and growing up in Miami, Florida. These stories and experiences illustate how it is possible to develop two identities. I also included key stories revealed during my research and inteviews in the form of tip-ins. Tip-ins are usually smaller pages inseted into books or magazines. The structure of the book, in essence, is a book within a book, or stories within stories. My personal stories intetwined with excerpts from the inteviews. Production and Design Decisions A. Writing To create understanding, I wanted to explain how someone can love two cultures and identify with both, or become a hybrid. Identity is formed by histoy, experiences, the environment, and memories, therefore I wanted to illustate how my experiences were perhaps dierent from the typical American person, and how these experiences and my environment formed my dual identities. Conveying my Spanglish environment was also vey impotant to me. I realized when I moved away from Miami that I grew up in a vey unique environment, a place where two cultures were dominant and present evey day, not only to me, but to all of its inhabitants. Lucy Lippard denes the concept of place as: ... a potion of land/town/cityscape seen from the inside, the resonance of a specic location that is known and familiar. Most often place applies to our own localentwined with personal memoy, known or unknown histories, marks made in the land that provoke and evoke. Place is latitudinal and longitudinal within the map of a persons life. It is tempoal and spatial, personal and political. A layered location replete with human histories and memories, place has width as well as depth. It is about connections, what surrounds it, what formed it, what happened there, what will happen there (7).
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 25 Early dafts of my stoy were text-heavy, because my instinct was to explain eveything, evey detail. The feedback was positive on the more poetic pages, so editing and cutting was much needed so that I could distill the information to include only what was crucial to get the message out or communicate the stoy. This was vey dicult, but I knew that it would help facilitate understanding. For the inteviews, I had to go through hours of video footage to tanscribe and identify the most impotant excerpts that were related to the main content of my stoy. B. Imagey I wanted to continue the visual language I had developed in the Panchita sketchbook, because the book is personal and about my past experiences. To reinforce this language I needed to make eveything by hand. To achieve this, I created watercolor washes and mono type prints for the backgrounds (Fig. 21), and I used a mixture of techniques to create imagey including, dawing, watercolor paintings, photogaphy, and collage (Fig. 22). All was originally made by hand then digitized to use in the nal book. I revisited metaphors I used before, such as the rooster (Plate 3), which represents me, and Panchita which represents Cuba and my mother. I also used symmety and mirroring throughout the book to reinforce the concept of duality. Each spread is a micro-stoy, revealing another aspect of my life or my familys life that I feel contributed to the formation of my two identities. Each image has meaning and purpose. For example, in Papaitos page (Plate 10), I show his home in the background, and a photo of him with his horse and carriage, which he used to deliver the bread evey morning. The little card, o to the left, is a love note he sent my gandmother when he was couting her. In Mamaitas page (Plate 11), I showed her in front of her home proudly posing with her poinsettias. On the bottom right, you can see a hint of embroidey that my mother and gandmother worked on. Figure 22. Examples of imagey created for book. Collage, watercolor illustations and dawings. Figure 21. Watercolor washes and mono type prints used throughout book.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 26 For the chapter pages I used the icons I previously developed for the dominos to add texture. I made the icons tansparent, so that you can only see a hint of the icons over the painted background (Plate 9). To ensure that the book visually lowed, I used a board to pin-up all the pages (Fig. 23). C. Typogaphy I chose a serif typeface for the typogaphy because of the personal content. A sans-serif would have been too cold and impersonal. I used Chaparal Regular for the body text and Chaparal Italic for the headings (Fig. 24), designed by Carol Twombly for Adobe. Its a slab serif, but an elegant one that has a lyrical quality, which I felt was appropriate for the tone of the book. For a bolder contast and to highlight Spanish words and the Cuban side on some pages, I used a sans-serif, Gaage Gothic (Fig. 24), designed by Hoeler & Frere-Jones. The typeface is bold, but somewhat rounded, so its not as harsh or geometric as other sans-serif typefaces. It resembles the typogaphy used in hand painted signs, which reinforces the past. For the Spanish words appearing in the headings or body text, I decided to highlight them in a subtle way and not change the color. When I speak Spanglish, it happens automatically, I dont stop and think in Spanish and then go back to English. It happens organically and smoothly. I wanted the text to relect this. I wanted to highlight the Spanish words just enough to show the reader that its another language, so I chose to only bold them (Plate 13). Evey image has a meaning and was carefully chosen, and to clarify their meaning, captions appear throughout the book. D. Materias This is an autobiogaphical stoy, so its vey personal. Because of this I wanted to reinforce the personal and the past by making the book look and feel handmade. To achieve the handmade feel and materiality, I printed the book on Frenchs Speckletone paper (Fig. 25), which is uncoated and has visible lecks. The paper soaks up the ink and the result is vey soft color, which also gives a sentimental feel. Figure 25. Sample of paper used to print book, Frenchs Speckletone, Madero Beach, 70# text. Chapparal Pro Italic GARAGE GOTHIC Chapparal Pro Regular Chapparal Pro Bold Italic Figure 24. Typogaphy. Figure 23. Laying out the pages helped to make sure the book lowed visually.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 27 The tip-ins were printed on dierent color Speckletone paper for each inteviewee, and the sheets were cut into dierent widths so that they would gadate out (Fig. 26). To reinforce the hand made quality and materiality of the book, I chose a banana paper from Thailand for the cover (Plate 1). The banana is an impotant fruit and vegetable (plantain) in the Cuban culture, therefore I felt it was appropriate. E. Book Structure The book structure was vey impotant because I wanted the audience to inteact and empathize with the content. I experimented with seveal book structures. At rst I made a large dos-i-do book structure with three sections, one for the Cuban stoy, one for the American stoy, and then the Cuban-American stoy in the middle. When I stated writing my stoy, though, it just didnt low that way. I then thought a regular dos-i-do, with two sections, one section being my stoy and the other section with the stories of life in Cuba. Eventually I decided to put it all together in one book, because my parents memories of Cuba also inluenced my identities. To make the book more inteactive and meaningful I added the inteviewee stories and a few reveals (Fig. 27). Words should not be housed but revealed by the book format. The writer can pace the text through the pages, amassing here ... fewer words there, and no words on seveal pages ... to allow silence to speak. The writing is then revealed by the act of experiencing the book, and the book becomes pat of the writing (Smith 323-326). The size of the book is small, because it holds my personal memories and feelings, so I wanted it to feel intimate. I wanted the viewer to hold it in his hands as if holding something precious. The main pat of the book consists of my stories, split up into chapters: Memories of Cuba, Growing up in a Spanglish world, and Moving away made me more Cuban. The beginning of the book is vey poetic and features my thoughts about identity and how I Figure 26. Tip-ins printed on dierent color Frenchs Speckletone paper. Figure 27. Early prototype of book structure featuring the tip-ins.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 28 feel like I have two identities. I used symmety to illustate my dual identities throughout the book and added more layers of meaning by including personal notes handwritten on tansparent vellum. Reveals are incorpoated within the book to add interest, meaning, and inteactivity, and at the end of each chapter, tip-ins with excerpts from the inteviews are revealed. Audience Response My book was exhibited in the MFA Candidate Exhibition Show II at the University Galley on April 519, 2013. The book was displayed on a single pedestal amongst vey large and contempoay atwork from the other MFA candidates. During the opening I was pleased to see that my book was not lost amongst the diverse atwork. I was especially pleased to obseve the students and visitors take the time to put on the gloves and go through the book, some actually reading evey page. All night someone was always viewing the book. Throughout the evening I received many comments about the book. Susan Duser, whose family is from Germany, commented on the page with the crochet and how she used to knit with her gandmother and eat German streusel. Ronnie Lovler, a journalist, insisted that I publish the book. She commented on how dierent the book was, like nothing she has seen before. She especially liked how I visually told the stoy and added content and suppot with the excerpts from the inteviews in the tip-ins. The visitors that grew up in Miami especially loved the book, reminiscing about their pasts and comparing their experiences to mine. Both Americans and Cuban-Americans connected with the book during the exhibit. They enjoyed my stories and compared their experiences to mine. They showed interest and understanding, and hopefully they will cary this experience with them when faced with other cultually diverse individuals. Figure 27. Visitors who viewed my book during the MFA Candidates Thesis Exhibition II opening reception, University Galley, University of Florida, April 5, 2013. Figure 28. Designer and author, Myda Iamiceli, with her mother and daughter during the MFA Candidates Thesis Exhibition II opening reception, University Galley, University of Florida, April 5, 2013.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 29 CONCLUSION To create understanding and cultual empathy for the secondgeneation Cuban-American, I became the designer-author and documented my feelings about identity and my experiences growing up in Miami, Florida. Using the design-thinking process, I was able to research, bainstorm, ideate, prototype, and produce a product that I believe connects with multiple audiences to the challenges of being a Cuban-American. Through stoytelling, I communicated my feelings about identity and explained how one develops two identities. Through poetic writing and visual stoytelling, I engaged the viewer and made the experience inteactive. I hope that viewing and reading my book will help Americans understand how a Cuban-American feels, and ultimately, how other second-geneation Americans feel. This will lead to greater cultual empathy and acceptance. FUTURE DIRECTIONS I have many plans for the future. I enjoyed and learned a lot from the inteviews, and I would like to continue to conduct more and design a companion book, which would feature the inteviews in-depth. To contextualize the book, Id like to oer the books as a boxed set, my book and the companion book with the inteviews. I also plan to publish the book so that others have easier access to the stoy and content. It would make a great addition to school libaries. To reach a broader audience, I would like to produce a video using the many hours of footage I have accumulated from the inteviews. An exhibit with my previous work would also contextualize the book and content futher. Eventually, I would like to expand this research to other cultures, as I believe all second-geneation Americans have similar experiences and feelings about identity. The ultimate goal of all my work is to stat a dialogue about what it means to be American.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 30 Plate 1. 50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures book cover. Detail shows close-up of stab binding.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 31 Plate 2. 50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures book, title page. The tansparent words in the background are Mitad Mitad which mean half-and-half or 50/50 in Spanish.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 32 Plate 3. 50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures book, inside spread. Here is an example of visual symmety used throughout the book to illustate duality. On this page I used the rooster images which represent me (on the left) and Americans (on the right). Close-ups show typogaphy and a detail of the watercolor wash for the background.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 33 Plate 4. 50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures book, inside spread, example of Spanglish. Close-ups show typogaphy and the lecks that appear on the Speckletone paper.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 34 Plate 5. 50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures book, inside spread, another example of visual symmety.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 35 Plate 6. 50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures book, inside spread, example of tip-ins as a way to reveal new content. Close-ups show vellum tip-in where personal notes are handwritten and a detail of a colored pencil dawing of a single lower from the Royal Poinciana tree that grows in Miami and Cuba.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 36 Plate 7. 50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures book, inside spread, example of tip-in as a way to reveal new content.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 37 Plate 8. 50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures book, inside spread, another example of Spanglish. Close-up shows watercolor of Plumbago lowers and a wood type R used in the text.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 38 Plate 9. 50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures book, inside spread, chapter page. Detail shows tansparent icons used as pattern and texture over the painted background.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 39 Plate 10. 50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures book, inside spread, Papaitos page, my gandfather with vellum tip-in.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 40 Plate 11. 50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures book, inside spread, Mamaitas page, my gandmother.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 41 Plate 12. 50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures book, inside spread, example of tip-ins with inteview excerpts at the end of each chapter.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 42 Plate 13. 50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures book, inside spread. Close-up shows how Spanglish is treated in the headings and the body text, by bolding the Spanish words only.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 43 Plate 14. 50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures book, inside spread.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 44 APPENDIX Below are sample inteview questions for the second-geneation Cuban-Americans, which I used as a guide only through the inteview process. The inteviewees never saw the questions. I obtained protocol approval from the IRB-02 Board at the University of Florida to conduct the inteviews, and approval from each paticipant. Geneally, the inteviews each lasted over an hour. Second-Generation Interview Questions 1) Where were you born? 2) Were both your parents or gandparents from Cuba? Where? 3) When did they immigate to the U.S.? 4) Why? (Exile or choice) 5) Tell me about growing up in your family. a. What was your rst language? b. What language was dominant in your home? c. What taditions did you follow? 6) Tell me about your relationship with your gandparents. a. Did they live with you? b. Did your parents or gandparents want you to grow up with strong Cuban values, or did they want you to assimilate and become more American? 7) What are some taditions and values that you followed? a. Do you plan to follow your parents values and taditions (Cuban), with your children? 8) What were your friends like growing up? 9) Were they also mostly Cuban-American? 10) Why do you think that is? 11) Can you remember an instance that being Cuban was a problem? 12) Why do you think that is? 13) Can you remember an instance where being Cuban was a plus/or a positive? 14) Why do you think that is? 15) If someone asks where you are from, what do you say? 16) So you strongly identify as an American/Cuban? a. How do you dene an American? A Cuban? b. What do you think being American means? 17) Is identity more about ethnicity or nationhood? a. Do you think you can claim to be Cuban, even if you werent born there?
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 45 18) Youve probably heard Latins say, shes becoming American, or shes American. a. How do you become more American? What is meant by that phase? b. What does it mean to Cubans? 19) Do you ever feel you have two identities? 20) Do you feel conlicted sometimes, being Cuban and American? Do these two identities sometimes conlict? 21) Can you explain? 22) How impotant is the Cuban culture to you? 23) In what way, can you explain? 24) Is language impotant to keep a culture alive through the geneations? 25) Can you be Cuban and not speak Spanish? Why? 26) Can you be Cuban and never have been to the island? Why? 27) What is the most impotant thing you want to communicate to others about Cuba, Cubans or CubanAmericans? Anything you feel strongly about, whether weve talked about it or not. 28) What are four adjectives you would use to describe Cubans?
WORKS CITED Condon, John C. With Respect to the Japanese: A Guide for Americans Intercultual Press Inc. Yarmouth, Maine. 1984. Print. Cuesta, Maggy. Personal inteview. 6 July 2012. Grossberg, Kenneth A. Japan Today Institute for the Study of Human Issues, Inc. Philadelphia. 1981. Print. Human-Centered Design Tookit 2nd ed., IDEO. Web. Lippard, Lucy R. The Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society The New Press. New York. 1997. Print. Matinez-Caas, Rosario. Personal inteview. 15 June 2012. Mendoza, Nelson. Personal inteview. 8 July 2012. OReilly Herrea, Andrea. Cuban Atists Across the Diaspoa: Setting the Tent Against the House University of Texas Press. Austin. 2011. Print. Potes, Alejandro and Rumbaut, Rubn G. Legacies: The Stoy of the Immigant Second Geneation University of California Press. Berkeley and Los Angeles, California. 2001. Print. Reed-Danahay, Deboah E. Auto/Ethnogaphy: Rewriting the Self and the Social Oxford International Publishers Ltd. Oxford. 1997. Print. Rock, Michael. Gaphic Authorship, Typotheque Unedited Essay 2004, 4801 words. Web. 6 April 2013. Sabnani, Nina. Sewn Naratives. Inter-Discipinay Probing the Boundaries. PDF. 8 May 2012. Smith, Keith A. Structure of the Visual Book Rochester, N.Y.: K. Smith Books, 2003. Print. 50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 46
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 47 ADDITIONAL READINGS The following readings also informed my MFA Creative project. Garca, Cristina. Dreaming in Cuban Ballantine Books. New York. 1992. Print. Garcia, Jorge J. E., Bosch, Lynette M. F., and Borland, Isabel Alvarez. Identity, Memoy, and Diaspoa: Voices of Cuban-American Atists, Writers, and Philosophers State University of New York Press. Albany. 2008. Print. Hospital, Carolina and Cantea, Jorge. A Centuy of Cuban Writers in Florida: Selected Prose and Poety Pineapple Press, Inc. Saasota, Florida. 1996 Print. Prez Firmat, Gustavo. Life on the Hyphen: The Cuban-American Way Revised Edition. University of Texas Press. Austin. 1995. Print. Poey, Delia and Surez. Little Havana Blues: A Cuban-American Liteature Anthology Ate Publico Press. Houston, Texas. 1996 Print. Sarduy, Pedro Prez. The Maids of Havana AuthorHouse. Bloomington, New York. 2010. Print. Skaine, Rosemarie. The Cuban Family: Custom and Change in an Ea of Hardship McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. Jeerson, Noth Carolina. 2004 Print. Hunt, James L.; Sharp, John. The Mathematics of the Channel Anamorphosis, Abstact, Canada and London. Web. Laurel, Brenda. Design Research: Methods and Perspectives Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England. 2003 Print. Lehrer, Warren and Sloan, Judith. Crossing the Blvd: Stangers, Neighbors, Aiens in a New America W. W. Noton & Company, Ltd. New York. 2003 Print. Mannoni, Laurent; Nekes, Werner; Warner, Marina. Eyes, Lies and Illustations: The At of Deception Hayward Galley. 2004 Print.
50/50: Finding Myself within Two Cultures 48 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Myda Iamiceli was born and aised in Miami, Florida. She attended Florida International University where she received a Bachelor of Business Administation in Marketing. After moving to the New York area and then returning to Florida, she attended Santa Fe College and received an Associate of Science in Gaphic Design Technology. In 2013, she received her Master of Fine Ats from the University of Florida where she studied gaphic design. Prior to attending the University of Florida, Myda worked on campus, in University Relations, as the senior gaphic designer. She worked with a diverse group of university depatments designing printed collateals such as annual repots, posters, brochures, and magazines, in addition to web design. Mydas research is centered around identity and what it means to be American.