This project is a mixed-media installation with projection. It reveals the stories behind an object, a smartphone inside a balloon, which is the symbol for a refugee’s smartphone. The installation includes video projection documenting my dialogue with the refugees I met online. This project is my journey to reach, talk to and understand life of the refugees. I created Hudea as a name for Syrian refugees. I chose to create a fictional name, because their real names, combined with other information, could risk revealing their real identities and cause trouble. I want to embody my conflict and emotion and make them tangible as a video sculpture.
I never meet the refugees in person, however my connection with them feels real. I want to make a life-like experience, through documentary approach. All the videos of my dialogue with refugees are true stories, I did screen recording every time I talked to them to keep record of it. My ultimate goal is to bring together the refugees and non-refugees, to help understand the refugees are just like everybody else.
This new crowd of refugees flood into Europe recently is different from what we pictured them before. The most needed help is power, wi-fi hotspot for them to contact their families and to guide them when they arrive. Because smartphones are so important for them, they need to put it inside the balloons to make it waterproof during the sea crossing. The balloon interface looks so unpresentable but the object inside is the thing we all have and this is how we connect with each other. I want to demonstrate that technology and art are powerful tools in helping to connect and rebuild communities, raise awareness and create conversation.