White Boy from the East (I AM ASIAN)

Istvan Kantor

2009, 19:20 minutes, colour, English


White Boy from the East (I AM ASIAN) is a narrative mash-up music video with autobiographical content, re-exploring the form of the song. It comments on origin and identity with passionate socio-political engagement, daring humor, semi-scientific precision and poetical determination. Kantor challenges concepts of origin as he makes controversial claims to the Asian roots of Hungarian people in his outrageously humorous musical performance.

Istvan Kantor was born in Hungary and spent his early youth in Eastern Europe where he learned about the many different theories of the origins of Hungarians. Most of them were connected with Asian territories. Fascinated by these facts Kantor retraces his ancient origin through a playful poetical experimentation fusing reality and fiction.

While the script comments on belonging and cultural identity, posing questions about individual choice and given facts, it is not trying to prove genealogical or evolutionary theories. Kantor’s purpose is to confront his own cultural reality within the context of another culture. White Boy from the East (I AM ASIAN) is a cinematic intervention in the field of this inescapable subject.

With today’s technology many kinds of physical alterations are possible. Procedures such as cosmetic surgery, genetic transformation and hormone therapy enable people to change their look, their sex, skin or become shape-shifters. Kantor seems to be one of them, but he is using a different technological method: the technology of media art.

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