I See You is an ongoing audio project
The first series of I See You starts out in the rapidly changing inner city of Portland (OR).
An immigrant on a gentrifying block records her neighbors for a year. Redlining and reparations, boozy block parties and too much damn construction, very loud crows, and children who run through yards; it’s all there. But the question is: who wins, community or capitalism?
I See You on SoundCloud
Written, edited and mixed by Carolina Pfister.
Original music and mastering by Jesse Stevens.
CHAPTER 1, PSYCHIC HOME: This is the same tale of many cities: through housing discrimination and redlining most African Americans moved to one of the few sections of the city that was open to black residents. As Portland grew, the inner city became more desirable. And that’s where our block is. A Cherokee farmer who had moved to Oregon once told me that we’re all settlers in someone else’s land. My name is Carolina, Chapter 1 is a quick introduction to I See You, and I’m diving right in.
CHAPTER 2 - MY YEAR OF NOISE: My first urban love was São Paulo, Brazil. São Paulo’s a monster of a noisy city, Portland pales in comparison. Yet, as a new parent my right to good sleep is a measure of the quality of my life. I’ve inherited from my mother this social contract family theory that goes something like this: We all know not to go around punching each other in the face right? That’s no different than knowing your loud party will keep us up at night.
CHAPTER 3 - SOUL OF A PLACE: Our block has a lot of crows, 12 children, 2 affordable rentals, 4 black owned homes, 4 white owned homes, a first generation Vietnamese Mama and a an immigrant Brazilian Mama that is me. As the bulldozers tear at the fabric of a place I don’t see development enhancing a diversity of people and business. We no longer live in a culture that respects the soul of a place, especially an urban place. In these gentrifying times we can however do the creative work of finding the soul and forging connection.
CHAPTER 4 - GROWTH MONSTER:
There once was an 100 year old cottage in an odd little city
it had no electricity but it’s garden was pretty
in that overgrown wild harmony a good gardener achieves
it had roses and boulders bamboos and trees
some piles of things not really of note
and a family of feral cats living under a boat
a rusty old car laid out like a carcass
it was our block’s moss covered cottage
surrounded by darkness
it flyed in the face of gentrification
keeping it real in our inner zipcode
it defied the persistent homogenization
that for development is code
yet our block’s moss covered cottage
sat smack in our economy’s cross roads
I have begun taping the second series which now takes place in a rural setting, in the Columbia Gorge region of the Pacific Northwest. A rural area with pronounced economic disparities, the Columbia Gorge is also the largest national scenic area in the United States, a place where a mostly white and affluent demographic comes from all over the world to play.
My new home is also 20% Latinx, and full of characters teaching me rural USA life. Folks unpack the fierce individualism that is so characteristic of this country, versus the difficulty and beauty of making place-based community. Who gets to belong, what it means to be of a place, how do we do life with capitalism gone mad, it's all there.
Meet some very interesting folks in my neck of the woods, the ancestral lands of the Chinook, Yakama, Wasco, and Wishram. Thank you for listening, and it is my hope that you are seen. Big love, Carolina