A video installation featuring migrants and refugees who share their experiences of migration and travel opens at Immigration Museum on 10 July, 2011.
Belonging: Reflections on Place was conceived and directed by video artist Wendy Woodson with designer Kathy Couch (sound design by Myles Mumford) and includes interviews of diverse migrants, refugees and members of their families who reflect on their experiences of place, migration and belonging.
A series of monitors features extreme close ups of 30 people who speak about their experiences in migrating from place to place, revealing insightful details about their different emotions and senses of home and belonging.
“The video monitors emphasise a sense of intimacy and immediacy between the viewer and the speaker,” said Emily Kocaj, Community Exhibition Manager, Immigration Museum. “The close up shots focus on the speaker’s facial details and expressions to encourage a strong connection between speaker and visitor.
The video monitors are in a dark, open space that also includes large-scale projections on the gallery walls. These moving images of travel and migration across Australian landscapes and in urban environments, such as train stations and city streets are included in the installation so that visitors can experience a sense of movement, displacement and journey that is part of any migration experience.
“The installation provides viewers with more than just learning about how people experience a new place. It doesn’t give a definite view of what migration is like but rather, it seeks to reflect on the connections between people and different communities and continents,” said Wendy Woodson, Director of Belonging: Reflections on Place. “It is our hope that visitors who pass through the space will travel from screen to screen and engage with the fragments of stories that they hear, and with their own memories and reflections on place, transition and belonging “
The speakers also speak of their childhood, education, faith and politics, allowing viewers to reflect on their own perspective and discover what place they feel they belong to, whether that place is a country, state, suburb, or a place of imagination and memory.
Wendy Woodson developed Belonging: Reflections on Place as part of a series of works in video, theatre and dance that explore concepts of reconciliation, migration, and transition. These works were made as a personal response to the changing global situation after the events of September 2011. She was inspired by the multicultural nature of Melbourne and took an interest in cross-cultural interactions around the city.
Belonging: Reflections on Place
10 July 2011 to 22 January 2012
Immigration Museum, 400 Flinders Street, Melbourne
Adults $8, children and concession FREE