No Way Forward, No Way Back (2016)

No Way Forward, No Way Back is a multi-channel video installation that explores
the human experience of physical and imagined crossings through spaces, using
psychological and emotional complications and Martin Heidegger’s condition of
“existential homelessness” as points of departure.

Employing footages of real and imagined migratory animals and sounds from
diverse source material ranging from recordings of Gregorian chant, Muslim calls to
prayer, and various acoustic instruments that are starkly juxtaposed with
appropriated online news, No Way Forward, No Way Back investigates a multiplicity
of mythological, phantasmagorical, and actual world – yours, mine, and someone
else’s in places and times that collide, converge and confound. Their textural layers
and meanings give way to critical visual and audio utterances in precise overtures
on the current state of things—our world plagued with unprecedented environmental
damage, globalised terror, crumbling economies, civil wars, acts of terrorism. The
list goes on. We can choose or not to look at their profound effects on ecosystems
and human beings—causing waves of migration that we have never witnessed
before in this befuddling manner.

Deeply affected by the continual news broadcast about the refugee crisis in Europe
and the Middle East, I reflect on intersections of complex issues of violence,
survival, fear of ‘terrorism’, compassion, security, refugees, and the confluence of
revolutionary uprisings in the world cross-referencing ideas of the new global
paradigm of fear, the spectacle of violence, and the recodification of counter
revolutionaries to justify the so-called ‘war against terror.’ In the meantime, many
human beings suffer, as a result, considered only as collateral damage. Is it easier
to frame the world in terms of essential categories of ‘them’ and ‘us’ – essentialising
the ‘other’? Instead of those that exclude and stigmatize, what inclusive socioeconomic
structures strategies can be created to assimilate migrants into new

The Kinari is a mythical half-bird, half-woman. In Southeast Asian Buddhist
mythology, she is guardian to human beings in danger. I created my own Kinari
mask as a representation of a covert identity to wander to different sites,
investigating physical and emotional territories, a process of infiltrating and covertly
accessing the ‘other’s’ lands, both mentally and physically.