Foreignments (2020-2021)

‘Foreignments’ was commissioned by Sara Muthi and was kindly funded by Fingal County Council.

Acculturation is commonly deemed successful when it results in a person or groups’ competence of the predominant language, rituals and values of a culture. Acculturation is not necessarily intentional or directed by the migrants or hosts, but an inevitable process, impossible to avert. ‘Foreignments’ is a summary of this process through praxis without conclusion. Drawing on her post-migration living, the artist Moran Been-noon thinks about ‘physical roots’ as a condition for belonging, and terminologies like ‘native’ as unattainable properties which are assumed be desired but often unnecessary. This work leans into the understanding that the process of acculturation doesn’t necessarily end in a state of belonging.

Been-noon uses the physicality of pronunciation, repeating words again and again while studying the shape of the speakers mouth, jaw and neck as they enunciate to demonstrate the laborious nature of acculturation. This highlights the strenuous process of engaging with a second or third language. Simultaneously she is working to understand the cultural and political impact this mechanism has on everyday life. This exhaustion is shared by the extensive personal archive that is maintained when living as a migrant, particularly in the attempt to become naturalised citizen, through documents, stamps and forms.

Maintaining ‘Foreignments’ as a process through praxis without conclusion, the work lends itself to various manifestations in virtual and physical space. In partnership with the LAB Gallery to rethink methods of digital dissemination, ‘Foreignments: a working title‘ will manufest in 2021 as an interactive Webapp. The three channel video is activated by touch, allowing users to play more than one video at a time, alluding to the ‘tentacular’ quality of acculturation itself.

original music Dave Murphy; programming Carl Lange; harp Elaine Hogan