Tuesday, May 5, 2009

cultural tips for new americans

As a product of Brooklyn's little Ukraine, the oddities of the American acculturation process has always struck me as incredibly fascinating.  The immigrant experience in many ways is the clearest exploration of American culture, because nothing is a given. The American Dream and American social customs are all subjects to analysis for any immigrant due to outsider status. Every custom must be learned and ritualized before one can adapt or belong.

In my experience, many russian immigrants (particularly in the borsch belt of Brooklyn) have a slow and steady assimilation process. They embrace the trappings of capitalism first and perhaps easiest. But adapting American ways is part of a slower more painful transition.

Casual Conversations in Brooklyn an exhibit by Alina and Jeff Bliumis, effectively explores these varied dynamics in the Brighton Beach community, through installations in outdoor and indoor gallery spaces. You can see more here.

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