“PB565, 2009”

Installation found materials, plastic sheet, rice bags, paper bark, wool string, dimension varied.

Installation found materials, plastic sheet, rice bags, paper bark, wool string, dimension various.

PB565 2-web

Installation found materials, plastic sheet, rice bags, paper bark, wool string, dimension various.

Installation found materials, plastic sheet, rice bags, paper bark, wool string, dimension varied.

Installation found materials, plastic sheet, rice bags, paper bark, wool string, dimension various.

detail 3

Installation found materials, plastic sheet, rice bags, paper bark, wool string, dimension various.

“PB565”

“PB565” reconstructed a sense of the experience and memories of the Vietnamese refugee diaspora I experienced at a refugee camp on Pulau Bidong Island, Malaysia. The central focus was to use the image of a shelter or hut as a metonym for the displacement I experienced due to my own loss of home. I used found objects from the landscape to fabricate the installation in a similar way to that used by Vietnamese refugees to construct temporary shelters on Pulau Bidong.

The installation used a plastic sail made from ordinary rice sacks as a metaphor for both a sail and a shelter; both means of protection from danger during the refugees’ outgoing journey. The use of light was a very important component of this work. It symbolised the memory of my experiences on Pulau Bidong, where darkness reflected the unknown future for me, and the softly diffused light represented my daydreams and yearning for a new home in a foreign land. The sound element was also an important aspect of the work. The loud speaker, using an imperfect sound, called out repeatedly and irritatingly to identify the numbers of the refugee boats that had arrived into the camp at Pulau Bidong. The call sign PB565 referenced the number of the boat on which I and 138 others made our escape. On Pulau Bidong we were given these numbers to identify us which depersonalised us in the same way that refugees are still being depersonalised and dehumanised the world over. Listening to the loud speakers repetitively calling our number, for processing, interviews, and rejections, became a ritualistic act that in the camp brought both new hope and devastating news for the Vietnamese refugees.

© Dacchi Dang, 2013 All rights reserved

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