2012, 600 cardboard stencils, 102x72 cm, 10 postcards, 15x10.5 cm, livestream projection
Transmigration is based on a graffitti found on a wall under a railway bridge in Vanløse – a vibrant immigrant community in Copenhagen. That wall, defining some imagined border of a community and covered in barely recognizable writings, colors and forms, hid words USA UD A VIETNAM – an expression of political resistance to the American intervention in Vietnam.
The graffitti, covered underneath layers of paint, was re-painted in the same spot and its outlines were copied in order to create a stencil that was later reproduced, digitalized and sent out worldwide.
In order to transform an image into a memoir of shared resilience with no borders, a photographic movement was created, allowing the artist to receive images from different coutries coming back – with the graffitti appearing again in Iraq, Nigeria, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Afghanistan, Vietnam itself and many different countries worldwide.
Installation view, ‘Transmigration’, Staedelschule, Frankfurt, Germany, 2012.
Later, these images were reproduced as postcards and sent back to people involved, as well as placed and distributed in an exhibition space. During an exhibition in Frankfurt the original wall in Denmark was live-streamed to gallery space, and vice-versa – show visitors could see people in Denmark passing by the mural, and those passerbys could see German audience looking their direction.
As another step, a photograph of the wall with no longer existing graffitti was printed on wallpaper in 1:1 scale and transported to Berlin – a vibrant image of the past, captured forever and stored in another country. In the meanwhile, the image was reproduced once again – this time as an embroidery made in Vietnam, bringing the image back to its original place.