Artist Projects

I Was Born, But…


Roddy Bogawa

I Was Born, But… is a 16mm experimental narrative film exploring the abstract notion of assimilation and the inherent contradictions of those born into the ‘melting pot’ culture of America. Appropriating the title from a film by the Japanese Director Yasujiro Ozu, the project examines many of the themes to which Ozu dedicated his life’s work–tradition and change, the shifting of family structures, and the impact of history and memory. The structure of I Was Born, But… reflects these contradictions and complexities through narrative elements embedded into the documentary; re-collections and photos of the Punk music scene in Los Angeles in the late seventies/early eighties contrasted with landscape imagery of the non-existing clubs in the present; portraits of Asians and Asian Americans; performances by the Korean American rock band SEAM, Joe Strummer (formerly of The Clash), and the Mescaleros; and autobiographic details layered with fiction.

Project Updates

  •  2013: I Was Born, But…  will be the closing night film of his upcoming mid-career retrospective at the MoMA with live peformance and accompaniment by Chris Brokaw.

  • 2010: I Was Born, But… screens at Museum of Modern Art in New York as part of Creative Capital film festival

  • 2004: I Was Born, But… is screened at the New York Underground Film Festival

  • 2005: I Was Born, But… is screened at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival