What are the consequences of living in the modern world? For all its innovation, rapid change often comes at the cost of old-world customs, rituals and social relationships. This is especially true in Asia, where a search for new opportunities in urban areas has led to a mass exodus of the middle generation in rural communities. Those left behind are balancing a growing tension between the cultural diversity of the past and the homogenous industrialization of the future.
“Consequences” explores indigenous communities at a pivotal and potentially irreversible turning point. Villages are populated by those on opposite ends of the generational divide — grandparents and children. Meaning, those desperately looking to preserve tradition are caring for those most-willing to embrace change. The heart of this project comes from showcasing this fragility of life and heritage. Employing a mix of history, journalism and visual storytelling, I portray the stories of these villagers with the same dignity and authenticity in which they live.
Western viewers might be drawn to the visual allure of this project — corn husks hanging in a modest dwelling, fog hovering over a rice paddy, the connections between cultures. Yet, the underlying power of this project comes from showing these prints to the villagers themselves when I return to their community. While the process of modernization can be threatening, there is connection and empathy in witnessing that other people are experiencing similar transitions. Whatever they are feeling, they aren’t alone. The consequences of the modern world are uncertain, but the vibrancy and resiliency of these cultures is crystal clear.