For my memory space, I created an interactive documentary about my family’s immigrant journey from Jamaica to Canada and our first experience dining in Toronto’s original Chinatown.
I experimented using photogrammetry to capture the original location of Sai Woo Restaurant back in 1974, which is today a yoga studio. I also used this technique to document the candies I first enjoyed in the restaurant. The backdrop is a 360-degree image taken at the address of Sai Woo Restaurant using Google Earth. Two-dimensional personal objects from the trip and a restaurant menu are displayed amid the 3D images.
The first-person narration is told from my recollection as a young girl travelling with my family. I used sound effects to make the experience more immersive. Overall, I wanted the user to get a sense of the time period 1974. However, the modern buildings belie the passage of time and shows how long ago the journey took place. I also highlight the Chinese cultural differences my family experienced moving from Jamaica to Canada.
Thank you to Lilian Leung for her guidance and assistance with this project and to Linda Dunlop for copyediting the text of the narration.
All images and audio including narration provided by Jeanette Kong except for the following:
Sai Woo Menu courtesy of University of Toronto Scarborough Library, Archives & Special Collections, Fonds 015 – Robert Bon Lee Collection
This interactive documentary uses these sounds from freesound:
“airport terminal” by inchadney (https://freesound.org/people/inchadney/sounds/164903/#) licensed under CC0 1.0
“highway” by deleted_user_7146007
(https://freesound.org/people/deleted_user_7146007/sounds/383729/) licensed under CC0 1.0
“restaurant” by soloan (https://freesound.org/people/soloan/sounds/82910/) licensed under CC0 1.0
Jeanette Kong is a documentary producer and award-winning director. Her filmmaking practice centres around exploring the historical intersection of culture between Hakka Chinese and Jamaicans.
Her films include A Brief Record of My Father’s Time at Sea (forthcoming), Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China, Half: The Story of a Chinese-Jamaican Son and The Chiney Shop. They screened at many international film festivals and museums including ReelWorld Film Festival, Beijing Caribbean Film Festival, Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival, Art Gallery of Mississauga and Penn Museum.
Kong was featured in the “Expressions of Asian Caribbeanness” issue of Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas in 2019. She earned her Master of Arts in Media Production from Ryerson University in 2010 and holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Carleton University. She was awarded an Ontario Arts Council Media Artists Mid-Career and Established Grant and a Toronto Arts Council Media Artists, Level Two Grant in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Kong lives in Toronto.