Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll: New Work
Katarzyna Perlak: Vulnerable

May Digbeth First Friday
4 May 2018, 6-9pm

Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll and Christoph Balzar, Property Room, 2018
Photomontage from the Bordered Lives series
For May Digbeth First Friday Stryx presents two exhibitions on the subject of the migrant condition by Katarzyna Perlak and Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll. Carroll introduces a new body of work, while Perlak exhibits a sound installation entitled Vulnerable (2017).

Katarzyna Perlak (b. 1979, Poland) is a multi-media artist based in London, whose work incorporates photography, collage and predominantly looks into matters surrounding personal and collective memories, identity politics, migration and feminism. Vulnerable is a sound installation comprising of 142 exchanges with participants who demonstrate how to pronounce ‘vulnerable’.  The work reflects upon the relationship between language, power structures, social mobility and vulnerability. It’s a reflection on how accent affects our social and economic mobility, and how it can make us vulnerable. Accents are associated with social groups: national, regional or social. All accents have different connotations which we can’t escape, especially as migrants whose accents are always being different from the dominating group. Vulnerable was previously presented as a durational performance at the closing week of 57th Venice Biennale (2017), in the Diaspora Pavilion.

Katarzyna Perlak, Vulnerable, 2017
Sound installation

Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll (b. 1980, Australia) is an artist based in Birmingham and Professor of Global Art at the University of Birmingham. Her art practice involves a complex montage of words and images in films and installations with which she voices and embodies invisible or haunted presences by telling alternate histories. New Work is a performance and installation including prints of collaged photographs Carroll took inside British immigration detention centers together with drawings made by detainees awaiting deportation from the UK. New Work also features a video installation and architectural models, The Land Wants to Die, made in collaboration with Ludovica Fales, Emma Humphris, edited by Jane Hodge.

Around 3500 people are held each day in one of nine ‘Immigration Removal Centres’, mainly run by private security contractors, spread across the UK. Foreign citizens may be detained for a variety of reasons including a prison sentence, overstaying their visa or entering the country without papers. People (the population is around 90% male) can spend several years in detention, as there is no time limit, which is a defining characteristic of the British detention system. Carroll was in a residency with special access to the immigration detention centres where she worked with detainees, took documentary photographs, video and sound. Centres are normally very difficult to access, so the exhibited works give a unique insight into the hidden sites of British border control. Among the exhibited works are light boxes with documents collected for the Immigration Detention Archive she has made in Oxford and photographs of the first British detention center behind Heathrow Airport.

The performance Men in Waiting: Immigrate into your Shadows (2018) mixes shadow puppetry and English folk music by Jessyca Hutchins, photographic slides and spoken word from what will also appear in a forthcoming book (Sternberg Press, 2018) designed by Christoph Balzar. The story is set in a deportation centre run by a fictional Bordr Management company, where the building sees everything that that happens within. We move through the building’s many waiting rooms, narrated through drawings, testimonies, documentary photography, video, and interviews from her digitized archive. This archive is a study, made with criminologist Mary Bosworth, of the effects of indeterminate detention on the subjectivity of the incarcerated. Its imagery provided forensic evidence for criminologists of human suffering as well as responding to aesthetic demands and legal limitations. It is an artist’s perspective on the perversity of the institutions, the power of its bureaucracy, and a redactive abstraction of censored material.

Curated by Roma Piotrowska

Stryx, Unit 13, Minerva Works, Fazeley Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 5RS