Stephanie Comilang, Diaspora Ad Astra, video, 5:25 min, 2020

Works by Stephanie Comilang, Sarah Iris Mang, Rosalia Namsai Engchuan
Curated by Gloria Aino Grzywatz
Duration: July 1 until September 30, 2020
The second iteration of peer to space’s screening series PARS PRO TOTO considers home in the age of globalized migration. The stories told by the artists Stephanie Comilang, Rosalia Namsai Engchuan and Sarah Iris Mang disclose different motivations for leaving their countries and handling living abroad. Some are migrant laborers, leaving behind their families for seven to ten months. Some must find a new home far away. Some are challenging the stereotypes of their migrant background.

Rosalia Namsai Engchuan, Complicated Happiness, video, 26:42 min, 2020
They all speak about the repercussions on their own identity and on the feeling of home. Hoping for better living conditions abroad, humans are often times stranded in intermediate worlds, unable to move forward or backward. In their thoughts and feelings, home exists as a place of longing and security. Home becomes the utopia of a better life carried in your heart. Home Is Where Heart Is shows that feeling home need not be coupled to one place and how living abroad can affect individual lives.

Stephanie Comilang’s work Diaspora Ad Astra is a fictional, short video told from the perspective of a Filipino sailor. There are 400,000 mariners from the Philippines and their profession helps move 90% of global trade. Under brutal conditions, these men can make ten times more than what they can make at home. They sign contracts for seven to ten months, leaving behind their families. A lack of internet onboard leaves these migrant laborers unable to maintain communication with their families at home. While making this video, our news feeds were filled with stories of ships forbidden to dock in their home ports due to fears of the spread of Corona Virus. What is it like to be able to see your home in front of you but be unable to return to it?

Sarah Iris Mang, HOME&GOING_Vikramjit, video, 7:08 min, 2016/2020
Sarah Iris Mang’s film HOME&GOING_Vikramjit describes the term home from the personal point of view of the protagonist. For Vikramjit, who came to Vienna from Punjab a few years ago, home is not necessarily tied to one place. Instead, one carries in their heart and associates it with a good life. Although Vikramjit came to Austria voluntarily, he clarifies that his Sikh community are persecuted in India and therefore they do not have the opportunity to live their faith freely. Their personal freedom is restricted. The film is part of an overarching project in which Sarah Iris Mang interviewed people from Spain, Poland, Russia, Brazil, America and India. All of them have left their place of birth and found a new place to live. For Mang herself home is a process, a path to be followed throughout life.

Complicated Happiness by Rosalia Namsai Engchuan contemplates the artist’s personal background, unpacking the complex conjunctures of power that shape her experience and the experience of many Thai women alike. Growing up in Germany with a Thai father and a German mother, Rosalia Namsai Engchuan experienced stereotyped Thai femininity before she could make sense of and understand what often caused this eerie feeling within. As a microcosmic space the Thai Park in Berlin is illustrative of the broader discourse on Thai-ness in Germany. Starting from the question, “What if the course of history was steered by feminine care instead of masculine power games?” the work aims to undo the underlying structures of colonialism, race, gender and class that shape the production of our world through a feminization of histories and futures. It argues for a caring world absent of the violent forces that structure diasporic lives all over the world.
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Quelle: Newsletter peer to space 10.07.2020