It Smells Like Sweet Apples The camp was laid out by a computer to form the infrastructure of our lives. From a bird’s-eye-view it also to resemble a circuit board. On the whole it constituted a single collective identity that was organized and controlled by a numbering system. Life was...
It Smells Like Sweet Apples
The camp was laid out by a computer to form the infrastructure of our lives. From a bird’s-eye-view it also to resemble a circuit board. On the whole it constituted a single collective identity that was organized and controlled by a numbering system.
Life was regimented. Living life day by day, no one was thinking about what was going to become years in the camp. A patriarchal system controlled the camp. We had no identities in the outside world, just within the camp, which is a strange thing to be nostalgic about. That nostalgia, which is inundated with pixelations and distortions, reflects how I perceived the camp as a child. It is an archive of my own imaginary deployed to escape reality and create my own space, which in reality was nonexistent. In a place where we were all numbers in an air filled with tension and stress disorders, we construct these ruses for self-preservation – almost a fake identity – shades you put on to ward off trauma.
Mustard gas smells like sweet apples. Refugees don’t talk about our past. This work is in search of words for what people don’t talk about. People were empty shells there, in a collective blackout. Segregation was fully enforced, and deportation was forced. These images reflect my own way of maneuvering through a camp that was always under threat of being gassed, and our family kept moving a few miles at a time inside the border. It was a life of migration, a few miles at a time for 40 thousand people, except the ones who were left behind to die because they couldn’t keep moving, physically or mentally. At the end of it all, I and thousands of others were mere quantities in a geopolitical algebra game that none of us ever had a play or a say in. We were used and disposed of at anytime like commodities made in China and sold at Target. There is nothing left of the camp now, except images, people, and their stories. The camp was completely demolished in 2004.
28,000 Crossing the Border
Inside the Border
Longing for Home
Grid of the Camp