‘The Xenophobia of Time?’ is a week-long exhibition curated by Ying-Hsuan Tai exploring the pertinent issues of migration. It takes place in Clerkenwell Gallery, London from 30th May to 4th June 2017. Works by the artists Edwin Mingard, Nele Vos, Shao-Jie Lin and Ting-Ting Cheng examine the intricacies of a particularly uncertain future created by the processes of obtaining entry to a state, renewing a visa or gaining citizenship.
Migration has generally been seen only as a spatial process yet it is, in fact, also a temporal process. A large number of migrants have to spend extended periods in waiting. Waiting is a particular and peculiar experience of time. For both the economic and the displaced migrants this experience is only exacerbated. Unexplained delays, forever changing requirements and ambiguity in status create a seemingly eternal circle of hope and despair.
The exhibition comes from the urgency to visualise the veiled sides of migrant’s experiences in this time of accelerating global migration. It contemplates the importance of art in responding to such issues, whilst asking of its abilities to interact with the public’s way of seeing. All the works in the show examine the effects of prolonged waiting, the power of authorised documents and the will of those in control.
The interactive installation ‘Citizenshop’ by Nele Vos explores the multidimensional means of citizenship in a neoliberal world, pondering the contradictory question: What makes a good citizen?
Shao-Jie Lin’s ‘A Passport to Everywhere’ and ‘Postcards from Nowhere’ utilise used materials to rethink the freedom and restriction of border crossing. ‘The Road On Which The Sun Never Sets’ comprised of a poster from the EU referendum and a video that features those places from across the globe that share either a British-original name of district or a British-Monarch title of road. The video aims to take the viewers on a historical tour of the former British Empire highlighting similarities and contradictions between the past, present and possible future.
Ting-Ting Cheng’s reverse travel guide and performance ‘How to get out of London in 30 days’ reveals the imperialistic illusion constructed by mass media and the immigration policy of the British government in response to the growing xenophobic atmosphere.
The short film ‘Break’ by Edwin Mingard follows an immigrant as he collects the stories of other immigrants living in London as they question their identity and sense of belonging in the midst of protracted waiting.
The exhibition aims to raise a number of questions: Is waiting indicative of life? And if so, to what extent? If time does not deal in paper work, if time does not exclude, then who does?
Who is the xenophobic?