Refugee Narratives: Ten Stories of Cambodian Refugees

Krista Hoefle: Artist Statement

Over the last decade, I have used games as a a medium for sculpture and installation, using videogames as a basis for artworks and creating my own game systems under the guise of interactive sculpture. My research questioned all aspects of game structure and game culture. 

My recent work uses game structure to explore the issue of immigration in the United States. I started this body of work using a game-of-chance structure in order to better understand a process of legal immigration (“American Dream: The Visa Lottery Game”). From this interactive installation, I expanded my research, working with the objects and materials described and documented in newspaper articles written over the last decade about immigration. The scent of second hand or unwashed fabrics, the loud crinkle of mylar emergency blankets that I sewed, the slickness of acrylic yarn that I knitted with, helped to enhance or amplify what I was reading about in the paper everyday. Seeing images of overcrowded cells with wall to wall people covered in mylar, but with the added material knowledge that my fabrication was revealing (that mylar makes significant noise, for example) gave me another layer of understanding.

The immigrant story is not mine, and I don’t want to co-opt the immigrant experience. Rather, this work serves as an analysis of our current system of legal immigration, to reveal the interconnectedness between legal/illegal immigration, and critique this administration’s tactics to deter the migration of refugees from Central and South America. 

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