No Way Forward No Way Back

Three-Channel Video Installation, 2016

No Way Forward, No Way Back explores the human experience of physical and imagined crossings through spaces, using psychological and emotional complications and Martin Heidegger’s condition of “existential homelessness” as points of departure. Employing footages of real and imagined migratory animals and sounds from diverse source material ranging from recordings of Gregorian chant, Muslim calls to prayer, and various acoustic instruments that are starkly juxtaposed with appropriated online news, No Way Forward, No Way Back investigates a multiplicity of mythological, phantasmagorical, and actual world – yours, mine, and someone else’s in places and times that collide, converge and confound. Their textural layers and meanings give way to critical visual and audio utterances in precise overtures on the current state of things—our world plagued with unprecedented environmental damage, globalised terror, crumbling economies, civil wars, acts of terrorism. The list goes on. We can choose or not to look at their profound effects on ecosystems and human beings—causing waves of migration that we have never witnessed before in this befuddling manner.

Deeply affected by the continual news broadcast about the refugee crisis in Europe and the Middle East, the artist reflects on intersections of complex issues of violence, survival, fear of ‘terrorism’, compassion, security, refugees, and the confluence of revolutionary uprisings in the world cross-referencing ideas of the new global paradigm of fear, the spectacle of violence, and the recodification of counter revolutionaries to justify the so-called ‘war against terror.’ In the meantime, many human beings suffer, as a result, considered only as collateral damage. Is it easier to frame the world in terms of essential categories of ‘them’ and ‘us’ – essentialising the ‘other’? Instead of those that exclude and stigmatize, what inclusive socioeconomic structures strategies can be created to assimilate migrants into new societies?

To access other worlds seemingly inaccessible to her, the artist created and performed in her sculptural “bullet armour” made from discarded bullet shells as an iteration of the Kinari, is a mythical half-bird, half-woman. In Southeast Asian Buddhist mythology, the Kinari is guardian to human beings in danger. As her own Kinari, she wanders to different sites, investigating physical and emotional territories, a process of infiltrating and covertly accessing ‘other’ lands, both mentally and physically.

View from the exhibition