Cold Storage (warehousing asylum seekers)
1st – 24th November 2001
Anna Schwartz Gallery
what? I can’t see you
“You shall know that no one is illegal. It is a contradiction in itself. People can be beautiful or even more beautiful. They can be just or unjust. But illegal? How can someone be illegal?”
For twelve weeks now black plastic sheets hang outside the window between the bars and the construction that takes place at Maribynong. The construction being the elevation of a new fence. The reinforcement to match the current anxiety which radiates — Australians are threatened by us.
I can push the window up a little, but my fingers do not reach between the bars to move the plastic. I do not know what the people who work to build this fence look like, and this room for five people has no air. The window is open but air cannot pass through.
As the workers dig the fence structure into the ground we cannot see how deep it is placed, how deep it goes. It seems that they have thought of this. I realise only after wondering about this for hours, why this black plastic blocks my window. We cannot see where the workers will leave their tools, we cannot make contact with them. We remain invisible like we do not exist.
I have been here for 16 months, my case is under review. I have been told that I am many things. My friends say to me — you are always happy, despite all of these things you can remain positive. I do not feel this anymore.
notes from an internee
Maribynong Detention Centre A suburban concentration camp Melbourne Australia October 28, 2001
No One Is Illegal