Competition / Collaboration / 2018
Social engagement begins with understanding the plight of others.
68.5 million is the number of people around the world who have been forced from their homes by disasters and conflict. Many of these flee their countries, and as refugees undertake perilous and dehumanising journeys to arrive in unwelcoming foreign countries. Then, if not returned to their country of origin, they are released into the city to make some kind of life.
The number of people currently displaced around the world is unprecedented, with one person forcibly displaced every two seconds because of conflict or persecution. Globally around 60% of refugees live in cities.
Our installation, in collaboration with Professor David Sanderson (UNSW), allows for visitors to participate in an immersive experience which recreates, to some small degree, the stages of a refugee’s journey once arriving in a foreign country: a journey of processing, incarceration, uncertainty and release. The use of ubiquitous shipping containers, designed to move non-human goods, underpins the dehumanising journeys most refugees make.
The installation, at first mute and silent on the exterior, will change over time. Starting a few days after the opening, the outside of the containers will be progressively illustrated by artists living in Sydney who have experienced forced migration. They will be invited to share their stories and participate in a series of talks and events.