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Tropical Gulag

November 2017
Multiple locations, Sydney

The narrative of faraway sunsets and white sands strolls, or the ultimate reward for the exhausted modern middle classes, can be also a reminder of the ongoing existence of physical spaces designed to confine, isolate and punish.

Beachside images of Nauru and Manus are intervened with phrases such as those commonly used in touristic slogans. Through the apparent innocuous sensitiveness of these phrases the images revert its original purpose to evoke the current controversy surrounding Australian refugee camps in the Pacific Islands.

Life in these camps is appalling beyond belief, and even worst is the exploitation of legal loopholes to justify the detention camps: it sets a dangerous precedent that undermines the tenets of international law concerning refugees and asylum seekers.

The phrases are literary extracts from experiences in Soviet corrective settlements (One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich by Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn), Nazi concentration camps (If this is a man by Italian writer Primo Levi) and Pol Pot labor prisons (Cambodian writer Vann Nath testimony, included in The Killing Fields collection).

An edition of one thousand postcards were distributed in different public locations in Sydney, Australia.

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