‘Colliding Borders: Multiple Senses of Belonging’ curated by Kelly Yoon was part of Fringe Festival 2018. Exhibiting artists were Ellen YG Son, Anna Dunnill, Marcela Escudero, Ashely Perry, Anna Dunnill, Yumemi Hirarki, and Chaohui Xie.
Exploring sociocultural diversity in identities to find a true personal sense of self
In this multimedia exhibition, artists explore the sociocultural diversity in identities on their journey to find a true sense of self as 21st century global citizen. Identities like nationality or ethnicity are instantly given or assigned to a person at birth. However, identities form beyond these traditional definitions as individuals grow and develop a sense of belonging to multiple cultures and communities. The exhibition extends the new narratives of social, cultural and sexual diversity across the three venues: Sam Merrifield Library, Niddrie Library, and Flemington Library. The artists are challenged to work within community spaces outside the white-cube gallery, and to directly interact with the audiences.
“When I was six, my friends and I had to make coloured glasses with cellophanes in class: red casting over my left eye, while blue over my right eye. The world that we saw through these lenses was affected. It was peculiar to see my friends and teachers moving around with purple bodies that glitched across a spectrum of red and blue. Years later, I moved from Korea to Singapore, then to Australia. The experiences of meeting people from other cultures recalled the experience of my childhood. I realized that my view of other cultures has always been filtered through Korean coloured lenses, and the vision of the world that I once thought ‘normal’ was not everything. In this 21st century globalized world, migrations, advanced technologies and the Internet have blurred the boundaries between cultures and races. In this vague realm, people have become hybrids characterized by multicultural identities that are not bounded by one specific culture.”
“Uncle, Auntie, Mate, 나는?” (2018) explores Son’s identity as ‘culture unspecified’ that ponders between Australian, Korean and Singaporean cultures and community. The act of scratching and sewing on cellophanes are Son’s way of inscribing, erasing, layering and censoring the borderlines of these unique cultures that often do not intersect with one another. Son engages her different cultural memories and experiences by forming sentences that involve fragments of phonetically translated Korean words, Australian and Singaporean slangs. These texts may result in mistranslation as they may have dual meanings in different cultures; but such mistranslation and grammatical errors illustrate Son’s senses of belonging to these cultures are neither definite nor indefinite. Her identity and sexuality do not tie in with specific cultures. Instead, they exist within the intersections of these unique cultures. The texts and images make up series of delicate cellophane banners that act as Son’s coloured lenses that allows her to restlessly question her identity and to look out for new cultures that she hasn’t yet explored. Audience are encouraged to read out these texts to explore Son’s extraterritorial sense of belonging within the unspecified zones of these cultures.