Wu Tsang’s artistic practice explores states of connectedness and in-betweenness. This fluidity often manifests as collaboration or is amplified in the merging of disciplines, such as performance, moving image, sculpture and installation. Reflecting her background in film, much of her work collapses boundaries between documentary and fiction as a way to continually question the relationship between sociality and its images.
In One emerging from a point of view (2019), the artist continues an ongoing exploration of a ‘third’ space between two overlapping video projections, focusing on this overlap to create visual entanglement. As images cut and bleed into each other, two disparate narratives intertwine through synchronised camera choreography. Set three years ago on the northeastern shore of Lesbos, Greece, the work revolves around a scenario in which two women cross paths—although they never meet. One is a young woman from Morocco (Yassmine Flowers), who arrives in Athens after many months of travel through Turkey and Lesbos’ Moria camp. The other is a photojournalist (Eirini Vourloumis), who is assigned to document the ‘crisis’ and becomes personally involved with the fishing village of Skala Sikamineas, where locals have been first responders to the mass influx of refugees coming mostly from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and North Africa.
Since 2011, more than half a million refugees have crossed into Europe through the Greek island of Lesbos, located in the Northern Aegean Sea off the coast of Turkey. Rather than attempt to document a ‘truth’, Tsang takes a magical realist approach as she works in collaboration with her subjects to create a hybrid fantasy. Drawing from history, mythology and science-fiction, her film situates the two parallel narratives within both real and imagined landscapes in order to tell the story of the island and the migration across interconnected and overlapping space and time.
Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber