The immigration process can be told through the use of two parallel narratives. One engages the bureaucratic process, in which a person is identified by an Alien number and generates hundreds of documents. This narrative reduces a person to numbers and facts, cancelling out the complexity of the person and the context in which s/he exists. A second narrative involves a reconstruction of self and identity in the new place. This work, entitled I Am an Alien, reflects on the question of identity, exploring the fraught relationship self, migration and displacement. Integrating immigration paperwork, a reference to the bureaucratic process.
This work, which speaks directly to Ben-David’s own experience as an immigrant, includes two photographed installations. The first image is composed of immigration documents that have been shredded and stuffed into a travel bag constructed of metal mesh; while in the second image the travel bag transforms into an abstract form. This exploration of the metamorphosis of an immigrant captures the cold doubt as to whether the process of immigration can ever be completed.