“The Passage” was a site-specific installation, executed during a residency at Pro-Helvetia, Switzerland in 2015.
I temporarily blocked a fire exit of the Atelier Mondial building, Basel, by installing strings of threads in the form of a charging wave-like formation. The function of the fire exit is to allow a swift and safe exit and therefore it should be accessible at all times. By blocking the fire exit, I was violating the health and safety standards.
I created a spectacle by blocking the fire exit, but in doing so I had temporarily altered the function of the space, which was to escape. Between these meticulously threaded walls, there was an opportunity to be captive, to see the space and its dimensions, to think of the passage in the time of escape.
I used this fire exit within a building as a metaphor to approach the passage of the inevitable epidemic of global migrations and people stuck in conflict zones. The work depicts lives which are forced into attempting the passage across unknown territory. The white lines created by white yarn recalled the fragility of a narrow space, a space that can be easily trapped, a space that is an instrument of movement from a place of danger to supposedly a place of safety.
Size of the Installation: 90 x 10 feet across.
Atelier Mondial, Basel 2015
I place myself in the small gap left between the threads of the installation.
Act 1: I have in my hand a large aluminium bowl full of small wooden painted eyeballs. I raise this bowl above my head and empty it, letting the balls fall over. They spread all over the floor reaching out to both ends of the lobby.
Act 2: I wear a pair of green colored ladies gloves which I found in a junk shop. With a pair of seizures, I proceed to cut each string out of the installation, hence deleting. Deleting the traces.
With the mere touch of the seizure, each of these threads doubles and the two ends drops to the force of the gravity. The gentle fall of threads on both sides of the center encourages a mixed feeling of relief and loss at the same time. It is what a safe passage may feel like.