Something Worth Remembering
An architectural video projection by Tiffany Carbonneau
Northern Spark Outdoor Art Festival, Minneapolis, MN, 2018
Something Worth Remembering is a complex video that represents over 200 years of immigration to Minnesota and the United States. Overlaying historic photographs, found film, and animated data, this work is meant to present the commonalities that many Americans have in ancestral migration, to celebrate the cultural and economic impact of immigration in Minnesota and the United States, and to analyze how consumer motion picture film and “home movies” became a means to perform and project shared American Ideals.
It is important to note that thousands of years before other migrants came to Minnesota and the United States, the original migratory people on this land are the Indigenous tribes that continue to call the upper Midwest home. Included in this video are historic photographs of two Anishinaabe (also known as Ojibwe, Ojibwa, or Chippewa) Native Americans, including lawyer Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin (1863-1952), who was the first Native American and woman of color to graduate from the Washington College of Law in 1914.
This project was made possible in part by the collections and support of The University of Minnesota Immigration History Research Center Archives and The Digital Collections at The United States Library of Congress.
please view full video below.
Materials in the video include:
- A scroll map made in the mid 1800’s of the entire length of the Mississippi River, beginning at the delta and ending at Minneapolis, exhibiting a route that many migrants have travelled to settle in Minnesota.
- Banknotes from the countries of origin of many of Minneapolis’ modern immigrant populations? In order of appearance: India, Mexico, Finland, Somalia, Vietnam, Thailand, South Korea, China, Eritrea
- The countries that represent Minneapolis’ largest modern immigrant populations? In order of appearance: Vietnam, Eritrea, China, Thailand, Canada, Guatemala, South Korea, Mexico, Ethiopia, India, Liberia, Kenya, Somalia, Laos
- Three historic letters from early to mid 20th Century US immigrants to their family who remained in their country of origin. The letters are a part of The Immigration History Research Center Archives’ Digitizing Immigrant Letters Project, which explores historic letters among loved ones separated by migration, and two letters included are directly linked to migrants who settled in Minnesota. The letters are written in Czech, Arabic, and Latvian.
- Historic footage of Minneapolis trolleys, city-scape, and commercial businesses on Nicollet Mall.
- Archival film footage of Braceros Workers. The Bracero Program operated as a joint program under the United States State Department, the Department of Labor, and the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) in the Department of Justice from 1942 until 1964. The program was series of laws and diplomatic agreements that brought seasonal workers from Mexico to the United States to offset an agricultural work shortage in the United States during and after World War II. This program brought millions of Mexican agricultural workers across the border to work in more than half the states in the US, including Minnesota, and has been heavily criticized for the inhumane treatment of the Braceros and their harsh living and working conditions. For more information on the Bracero Program, check out http://braceroarchive.org. The inclusion of this film and other archival footage displaying European immigrant labor is meant to highlight the long history of the United State’s reliance on migrant and immigrant labor and draw connections between the historical and contemporary migration of peoples in search of economic stability.
- Video footage of Sandhill Cranes. A species that is over 10 million years old, the Sandhill Cranes migrate thousands of miles every year from their wintering grounds in Florida, Texas, Utah, Mexico, and California to their breeding grounds in Northern U.S., Canada, Alaska, and Siberia.
- Historic images of late 19th and early 20th Century US immigrants of diverse ethnicities, including Asian, Latina, and Finnish, who settled in Minnesota.
- Animated data from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Immigration Statistics that represents over 200 years of immigration (1800 – 2013) to the United states. Every dot in the animation represents 10,000 people, different colors represent different countries, and directionality is based on the world map with the United States at the center.
- An historic image of George Bonga, a fur Trader of African American and Native American Dissent. He is believed to be the first African American born in Minnesota.
- Home movies that represent various ethnic groups. The home movies included are grouped together by activity, from representing the act of looking and documenting, to children playing, family gatherings, and swimming as a leisure activity, and are meant to allude to the multicultural development of American ideals.