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You don’t know where I’m from

2022.2.25-27


 

#DUMPHAU$ is proud to present「どこから来た人間かわからないでしょう」( ‘You don’t know where I’m from’ ), a selection of works made by HABURI between 2016 and 2020, on display from February 25th to February 27th, 2022 at F/Actory Gallery, in Iidabashi, Tokyo.

HABURI is a native of Inner Mongolia living in Japan, who specializes in Visual and Time-Based Artworks, including Painting, Photography, Installation, and Performance.

By making sense of his reality using a plethora of media, he expresses his Art to communicate the process of entering the Japanese Art World as a person who questions human identity from a borderless, nomadic context.

Since moving to Japan in 2016, HABURI has reflected on the contradictions between personal emotions and urban systems, consumer culture, and questions that surround the margins  of society in contrast to mainstream existential issues in modern society.  He does this through a series of artistic practices that include painting, performance, installation and photography drawn from his experience of living in the city of Tokyo as an international art student researching the depth of the human experience in the city. 

After graduating from his Master degree at the Tokyo University of the Arts in 2020, HABURI participated in a residency project in Tohoku, Japan, creating contemporary landscapes based on the theme of artificial objects integrated into natural objects. In 2021, HABURI exhibited portraits created at the latitude that Inner Mongolia and Tohoku, Japan share. He focused on reflecting the experience of urban life contrasted to the identity of individuals living in places in contemporary society in the context of globalization. In the same year, he exhibited still life paintings at the Kazenosawa Museum discussing the dramatic changes in people's daily lives because of the pandemic.

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My family comes from an ethnic minority in Inner Mongolia, a long bloodline of nomadic peoples that eventually settled in the city. This led to me losing access to my native language.

In 2019, the Chinese government introduced a policy to add even more Chinese language instruction to primary and secondary education textbooks in Inner Mongolia, in an attempt to fully erase our traditional history. This policy has led to many Mongolians taking to the streets in revolt. It has also led us to rethink the situation of ethnic minorities in China and all of the minorities being forced to assimilate into larger societies in today's globalized world.

When I arrived in Tokyo in 2016 at the age of 23, the capitalist society hit me very hard.

To survive, I worked more than 10 dierent kinds of part-time jobs while also being a student, which forced me to experience the very peculiar Japanese work culture. The job experience is extremely programmed, and life in Japan is very convenient. There is an unimaginable variety of products available all the time. For example, ice cream and bread in any store can reach 30 to 40 dierent kinds, in varying flavors and textures, each of which is beautifully packaged and ready for consumption 24 hours a day.

During my time in Japan I have worked in convenience stores, restaurants, hotels, oces, and factories, which allowed me to deepen my research of the Japanese systematic service industry. One of my most memorable experiences was when I was assigned a night job in a factory, from 10pm to 8am, and I only had to do one thing : peel bananas. One after another, for 10 hours straight. I don't know how I managed to stay awake, but such work was done nightly by the factory workers. I only lasted one night. The banana peels piled up as high as a mountain. What I saw here was that this particular workforce is made up mainly of migrant laborers and international students from South Asian countries. They are the ones who are forced to work and study through extremely monotonous and mechanized hours in these factories every night.

I wanted to express my vision of a safe space, so I thought about gers. Traditional ger in Inner Mongolia are made of naturally occurring materials, such as wood and animal skins, depending on what is available in each locality. So when we built one in Tokyo, we chose local garbage, light and cheap materials, consumer goods and so on. As the living space of a ger is functionally easy to disassemble and install, it has mobility and so on, we decided to move our construction a long distance and build it here, in an art gallery, for three days. By this behavior of construction of a shelter, I think about the transnational activities of regional identity in today's era of globalization, such as the international student experience, overseas immigration by families, migrant workers, and so on.

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Crossing the train during the morning-evening rush hours.

During morning-evening rush hour, the two of us took a Yamanote Line train starting from opposite sides, we walked and crossed the train until we finally met in the middle.

In the public space, especially in a crowded train, it is dicult to force a connection with others.

While crossing the train we interrupted and inconvenienced the people around us by naturally touching, accidentally rubbing against their bodies, or squeezing past them.

Through this performance we intervene the conventional rules in the public transport system while rethinking about the relationship between the individual and Tokyo.

While I lived in Inner Mongolia I followed a very traditional art education. After I came to Tokyo, I saw that art could be expressed freely in any way, that artists could express any opinion, and that politics and history could be discussed openly. This influenced me a lot. I was completely naive when I faced the city of Tokyo, but also I felt that the feeling of society in Tokyo was very depressing. Personal expression and manifestation seems to always be about being aware of the environment and the air around you, and making the right moves. This culture is completely dierent to me, but I still try to integrate into it with some diculty. I was conflicted in the process of integrating my identity to Japan, and I started asking myself who I was and I started asking myself why I wanted to integrate at all. So I made this piece about crossing the rush hour train. I wanted to fight against a certain force. This force that drives everyone in Japan to assimilate.

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This is a personal project that I started in 2018. I made this work by copying pages from political textbooks, also breaking these books and reading their contents, repetitively. It is finally presented in the form of ready-made products, images and sounds. I seek to recall and copy the status of my educational life. I want to explore the impact of an indoctrinated educational model on the individual ideology of life.

The space becomes surrounded by everyday objects depicting dicult words, expressing the existence of a political system that permeates our daily lives, and the oppressive, institutionalized state of existence. These educational activities surround our lives and have a permanent impact on every one every day.

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When we take 3d printed renditions of common objects and recolour them with rainbow colours, they look beautiful, light-hearted and lovely.

But when we look closely at the shape of these objects, and their presence in this collection, they intentionally reproduce objects used by people in today's pro-democracy protests and street struggles.

These objects were printed in China and shipped to Japan.

This action reveals the near-complete dependence of developed countries in today's globalized world on Chinese manufacturing.

When we think about the fact that factories in China use cheap human labor to supply all aspects of creation, we can easily discern that behind capitalism and cost-eective mass production there is a bigger crisis of human rights that is willfully ignored.

These 3D prints were originally produced for an exhibition reflecting on the democratic struggle in Hong Kong. I have kept these 3D prints in a cardboard box since the end of that exhibition. I also kept the shipping certificates from that time.

When I saw the news about the use of Xinjiang cotton in MUJI's clothing, I learned about the problem that has always existed with global economic integration of labor. It is a reality that most large international companies continually use cheap labor from developing countries in order to reduce costs.

Because of this, there is a human rights crisis in Xinjiang. The ethnic minorities there are persecuted. The majority of the laborers are ethnic minorities.

But this truth doesn’t cause eective intervention by human rights organizations, and it doesn't stop the global economy from having a strong reliance on Chinese manufacturing.

When I see the news about Xinjiang, where ethnic minorities are openly exploited to supply the global demand for goods, I think of these 3d printed items. I think they are somehow connected.

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On a world map made out of colored paper, dancers react freely according to freestyle music. We are using our bodies as media, in the current international environment, manifesting colorful activities and various behaviors that are constantly going on. Everyone is thinking about the state of life on earth and their cultural attitude towards the international community. While dancing, traces of movement constantly break the boundaries of the map, eventually making it a blurred whole.

Curator and English Translation:Catalina Vallejos

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