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. But the questions remains: who wins, community or capitalism?

I See You on SoundCloud

KBOO Interview

Written, produced, edited and mixed by Carolina Pfister.

Original music and mastering by Jesse Stevens. 

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CHAPTER 1, PSYCHIC HOME:  A quick introduction to the first series of I See You. 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: we’re all settlers in someone else’s land

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.

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

The second series of I See You is in the works and it intertwines poetry, prose and sound as an immigrant gets after who gets to belong. Now set in a rural landscape I See You is a meditation on borders, capitalism, and home.


Thank you for listening, and it is my hope that you are seen. Big love, Carolina