NITE LITES ARTIST STATEMENT

My documentary Audiencia as well as the Nite Lites photo series reflect and were inspired by my "third space" immigrant experience. Laredo is considered to be the largest inland port of trades and goods in the western hemisphere, but it is also a place where culture is transported. Audiencia is about how Lucha Libre (Mexican Wrestling) is transported from the Mexican side of the border to the American side and then moves further north. It is also about how an immigrant community attempts to hold on to their culture. Everyone attending the Lucha Libre events in Laredo, TX spoke Spanish. Those that were interviewed for the documentary wanted us to know that they where either originally from Nuevo Laredo or had been born in the U.S. side but had grown up in Nuevo Laredo. I experienced the latter (born in Laredo, TX but lived/live in Nuevo Laredo). I crossed everyday to go to school and now as an adult cross daily to go to work. I think this is a unique bicultural border experience and I attempt to celebrate it in my work. I am an English speaking American citizen but I am also very proud of my Mexican heritage and Spanish speaking abilities.

Likewise, the photographs from the Nite Lites series represent the transport of culture from the Mexican side of the border to the American. It is at times difficult to deduce which side of the border the photographs were taken.

One of my challenges as an artist is making sure I am fair to my subjects, being careful not to offend them. I want to represent people as accurately and honestly as possible, whether they are documented, undocumented, Mexican, Mexican-American or Central American. I want to be respectful to people's distinctive cultural identities regardless of transnational movement. This is especially relevant when dealing with issues on migration and immigration (i.e. my documentaries Audiencia, Casa Del Migrante and Proyecto Scalabrini). The blending of cultures makes this challenging, so I spend a lot of time investigating and examining how people identify themselves. By investigating and exploring people's identities I am able to examine my own.

Marcela Morán
2008

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