Film still from Refuge
Since the spring of 2016, I have been working on a set of paintings and three experimental videos that address displacement of people from countries like Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and other territories. The video Refuge was finished at the end of October 2016. Two more projects related to this topic are currently in production: Rutland and The Aleppo Room.
During my time in Germany last spring, I met with and interviewed refugees, non-profit organizations, activists and volunteers. These encounters were recorded in video and form parts of Refuge. Aside from meeting and talking to various people on both ends of the 'crisis,' I visited as many locations: understaffed offices, former parking lots that now house containers for refugees, gym halls, overcrowded living quarters, big city centers, city suburbs, rural towns and parks.
I decided that in addition to addressing the human component (and the toll it takes), I must take the meaning of place into consideration. What does it mean to be forced out of your home and arrive in a place that is neither home nor homeland? Why are most refugee housing sites located on the outskirts of town? What effect do they have on the local community and the refugees? And any consideration of 'place' is incomplete without addressing the concept of landscape.