By Amy Tuttle
Becoming aware of our cultural dynamics is a difficult task because culture is not always visible to us. From birth, our experiences, our values and our cultural background lead us to see and do things in a certain way. Because these cultural constructs are often enacted unconsciously, sometimes we have to step outside of our cultural boundaries in order to realize the impact that our culture has on our behavior.
Through a collection of photos, historical facts, and testimonials, “Through My Own Eyes” is a video montage that demonstrates the value of stepping outside one’s cultural boundaries by exploring the relationships among travel, prejudice, and stereotypes. Specifically, in the piece, Michael Horn argues in favor of Jewish groups traveling to Poland despite the ongoing anti-Semitism there. Horn bolsters his compelling claims about the effects of travel and tourism by taking the viewer on a journey through historical images that recount Poland’s WW2 legacy and screen shots of news stories convey the sense of the current climate of prejudice in Poland.
Not only is “Through My Own Eyes” a technically sound piece, as the author makes good use of transitions, sound, timing, and overall aesthetics. More importantly, sharing a travelogue of his own trip to Poland, Horn offers something of more lasting significance: that the cultural awareness that stems from international travel will help ensure “that nothing like the Holocaust ever happens again.” Thus, Horn concludes that in order to overcome prejudice and stereotypes, individuals should travel–to see the world “through their own eyes.”