Shifting Perspectives

HIDEO: It's me mama

Mako Idemitsu. HIDEO: It's me mama 480

Alice Sparkly Kat: My name is Alice Sparkly Kat. I'm a queer astrologer, I'm Asian-American, I immigrated here when I was six years old. You're looking at a video work by the artist Mako Idemitsu, which is titled HIDEO, It's Me Mama.

Idemitsu was born in Tokyo in 1940, and grew up in a very traditional patriarchal household. She has Saturn Aries and then her father, he has Saturn Cancer. And Saturn is about breaking generational ties. I found that interesting just looking at her work because it’s all about family.

The video is a depiction of a person who's lost her sense of self because of the role that she's kind of put into. You see that she's a mother, you see that she's a wife. It starts off with her in the kitchen, she's preparing breakfast. She turns on the TV, and then what you see is this clip of her son getting out of bed. She eats breakfast with her husband, they don't talk or acknowledge each other really, until he goes to work. And she continues watching videos of her son pretty much all day. It's almost like an endurance activity, just watching her do this ritual of worshiping her son over and over.

And then you start to kind of notice her pain and all her suffering too. You notice in her voice, her mannerisms. You kind of start to notice what is not in the video, too. You never really see all the labor that she's doing. And then you kind of are forced to have compassion for her.

I feel like it depicts this Asian mother stereotype, where they try to do everything for the child. They're very strict. They are very anxious all the time, and they kind of project the anxiety onto the child. So it's a particular kind of Asian motherhood that is often more visible than other types of Asian motherhood.

I realized when I was watching this film, that my mom had started to adopt some of these mannerisms. I wanted to have a conversation with my mom about Asian motherhood. I hope when you watch this work that you ask questions about how people learn to be mothers, how people learn to be women, not just in an individual way, but in a societal way too and I hope that you apply those things in the understanding of your own family.

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