Dear Immigration Doctor, 

Your hands look cold. Are they clammy? She will always remember your go home touch. The antiseptic smell of the examination room, the buzzing lights above the examination table, the sharp crinkle of the white paper beneath her. Where you violated the borders of her humanity. Crossing lines, entering her for scientific proof. Like carbon dating the undocumented. You have your research photos, your Hottentot parade, your bush man in a zoo cage, your stolen cancer cells, your syphilis experiments. Foreign bodies in white lands are forbidden. White hands in foreign lands are science. Probing, peeling, scraping, hypothesizing, proving, professing, displaying, exporting, exploiting. Ethnography (as pornography.) Charts and measures and identities as boundaries. She does not belong here. Science says.

How can you own an invisible line?


Tags: France, Congo, undocumented, detention center, immigration, violation, human rights, black body, female body, ethnography, exploitation, science experimentation, Ota Benga, Sarah Baartman, Henrietta Lacks, Tuskegee syphilis experiments, human display, female nipple, colonialism, 120 words, postcards from an artist

DISLOCATE: Postcards from an Artist

Holla back, call and response, talking to the screen. April pens a series of postcards, poetic open letters, to the people, places and objects in a selection of this year’s films. These films have inhabited her dreams, salted her tears, stoked a hopeful anger. Art imitates life inspires art in this uninvited collaboration with the filmmakers, an exquisite corpse from film to word. Share on Facebook • Share on Twitter • Share on Google 

In response to Aïssa

ABOut the artist

April Banks is a conceptual artist, intentional inbetweener and border crosser. Driven by immersive observation and questioning, her obsession with research usually dissolves into happy accidents that shape shift between photography, installation, writing, and collaborative experiments.

Currently, April is melting her nostalgia for postcards into a multimedia digital project. The beauty of the postcard is how it travels simultaneously with the traveler, perhaps in the opposite direction, across borders where the traveler may not even be permitted to go. Everyone travels everyday, as much in (day) dreams, a walk to an ethnic food store, a book, a news article, a film, a song, as with a passport and a plane. She pairs her international peregrinations with time travel, traipsing through historical archives and memories, questioning what we think we know of the past and how it informs our cultural positioning systems.

Equally addicted as confused, she experiences travel as an existential conundrum, yet can’t seem to say no.

View more of April Banks' work here.