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Marina Kliger

Resident .Alien speaks to a peculiar aspect of the immigrant experience – the feeling of being both at home in place and not; of being “allowed to be here” and yet recollecting a “home” that is somewhere else. Kate Hewson and Marina Kelly’s work foregrounds this contradictory, in-between, trans state through image, object, movement and sound.

The artists manifest their early memories of relocation (Hewson from South Africa; Kelly from Scotland) in a constellation of childhood artifacts suspended from the ceiling – a hot pink suitcase, a tiny toy bicycle, a telephone receiver, a book… In the center of this loose cluster of items hang two chairs, recalling both a swing set – a vehicle for oscillation between two poles – and a school room – a setting in which we are indoctrinated to our social locale. The two performers, dressed in white dresses with headbands and pigtails, sit atop these precarious structures executing a variety of carefully choreographed movements, variously communicating wonder and alarm through distorted versions of childlike actions. A strange soundscape of eerie tones and whispered voices envelope them and their surroundings in a psychological space that both unifies their discrete experiences and shows their multiplicity. Contrasting phrases like “Crunchy snow; frozen lake; icicles” and “burrowing feet; swimming pool; cactus spines,” for example, allude to the different physical spaces of the artists’ relocation.

Conceptualizations of ‘transculture’ often embrace the state of being in-between, on the borders, or beyond any particular culture, celebrating the liberating facets of transcendence and the adaptability of hybrid entities. Hewson and Kelly’s work reminds us, however, of the violence, upheaval, and pain involved in the processes of transplantation, transition, and transculturation. In Resident. Alien, objects like the scissors with a strand of hair; movements like the vibration of the hands on the head; and phrases like “losing my accent means giving in” all suggest the conflictual nature of the immigration experience. Even the discomfort Hewson and Kelly must have felt while performing the piece – sparsely dressed and barefoot in an unheated space – evokes the discomforts of adaptation, acculturation, and loss. Kelly, in particular, recalls having had to grow up fast and learn to take care of her younger siblings once the support of her extended family in Scotland was removed. In her case, pain in the form of migraines and stomach problems was a literal result of the stress of being in a ‘trans’ state.

Justin McGivern

I enjoyed resident.alien, and thought it really hit at the heart of the trans theme from my perspective. I know the concept of the work was trans from the perspective of the immigrant experience, but I saw it have many different applications within my own life. When I was eight I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes, and my life went through a transitional period. I felt as is I was stuck in my own bubble with items floating all around me that I could not reach, or properly interact with. With not being able to eat certain foods, being forced to take five insulin shots a day, and feeling the difficulty of performing "normal" childhood tasks (sleepovers, etc...) I was forced to grow up quickly and become a young adult rather than a child. Thus, I felt a certain connection to the work, and appreciated it.

I witnessed it performed live on Saturday night and loved how it worked in the space provided. The eerie feeling created by the lighting, the music playing, the weather outside, and the space itself added a lot to the effect of feeling confusion and isolation. It was a piece that I greatly enjoyed, and appreciated the intricacies with which it was crafted (even if some of them, like the weather weren't planned!).


digital dissertations

Blogs are good for every one where we get lots of information for any topics nice job keep it up !!!

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