ACCA forecourt, performative installation
PVA fabric, red thread, red yarn, garden sprays.
adrift (2019) is a site-specific performative and ephemeral installation which aims to respond to the labels placed on refugees and asylum seekers. In the front courtyard of ACCA, three transparent workers shirts made from PVA fabric are hung, held together by a red yarn which is embroidered onto the shirts to form the words ‘alien’, ‘boat people’ and ‘illegal’. The yarns anchor the installation to the nearby fire hydrant cage and electrical pole and as the wind blows through, gives an abstract impression of a makeshift clothesline on a boat. In this participatory installation, three people were given garden watering sprays to hose down the shirts. As the water touch the fabric, it begins to transform. The reaction of the PVA fabric to the water causes the structure of the installation to collapse with the words unravelling until there is nothing but loose yarns piling onto the floor. This action is a poetic gesture to offer individuals the tools to reject the negative labels imposed onto them. Through unravelling the negative connotations of those labels, they are no longer the object of the language. This small artistic intervention has created a world in which words are reduced to nothing. The seemingly impenetrable language system, that is often used to categorised human worth, could indeed be challenged through artistic actions in public sites.