Rivera shows that what is referred to as 'cyberspace' is a space long inhabited by immigrants who find themselves distanced and not really part of their new world."
- The First Annual Border Film Festival
"Rivera makes a humorous but potent connection between man and starch."
-Time Out New York
"A fresh and witty video...a personally ambitious example of how guerilla film making can thrive."
-The New York Times
"In Alex Rivera's whimsically wanton Papapapá, the artist tracks his fatherès immigration northwards from Peru, paralleled by a similar journey endured by the simple potato. Once esconced in the U.S., his father becomes a potato himself, but of a different order, a couch potato, as he saturates himself with images of affluence, mobility, and nostalgia- nostalgia for the place he had left, now a set of beckoning images. While the father undergoes his cultural transformation, the potato continues itès journey through the fast food industry, reconstituting into a chip that bears no mark of its origin. At the conclusion of this riotous tape, both South American immigrants, father and tuber, have been thoroughly absorbed by the image industry that has capitalized on their own ethnicity."
-Steve Seid for Festival Videobrasil
Papapapá (U.S.A., 1995) is an experimental documentary about immigration. Looking at the potato, which was first cultivated in Peru as an Inca food staple, Papapapá paints a picture of a vegetable which has traveled, and been transformed. The video follows this immigrating vegetable North as it eventually becomes the potato chip, the couch potato, and the French Fry.è While following the potato's journey and transformation, Papapapá simultaneously follows another Peruvian in motion, Augusto Rivera. My dad, Augusto Rivera was raised in Lima, Peru, but moved to the United States forty years ago. The stories of these two disparate immigrants, the potato, and my pop, converge as Augusto Rivera becomes a Peruvian couch potato, sitting on the American sofa, eating potato chips and watching Spanish Language television.
Papapapá is a humorous look at race and immigration, television and nostalgia, distance and the many ways people deal with it. Papapapá examines how bodies (people and vegetable) are remade within the new societies they encounter.