The artwork entitled Houdini’s Escape: An Immigrant’s Dilemma will be exhibited in the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University from February 20 to March 29, 2015. During the exhibition, interested participants may contribute photographs of their family and historic artifacts to be integrated into the exhibit. Houdini’s Escape: An Immigrant’s Dilemma seeks to bring together diverse cultures and family histories with projected images and objects that define history through our diverse ancestral heritage. It illuminates individual and personal ties across generations and communities along with national and global exchanges that have shaped and are shaping both concepts of identity and history.
The work continuously changes as images are uploaded and randomly projected on the work, walls and visitors and superimposed over printed images of early Americans and on the monitor located in a cast paper trunk. In the installation, the trunk constructed of varied international newspapers references our current cultural diversity. Simultaneously, an audio track speaks a litany of family names pronounced according to native tradition, along with the Beatles singing Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, credited to Lennon, John - McCarthney
The reference to Houdini parallels the immigrant’s escape of a past to the magician’s many performances, of freeing himself from locked and confined quarters. In this installation, the trunks also echo the thousands of inexpensive and often paper trunks abandoned on Ellis Island, along with the immigrant’s past and sometimes clothes and mementos abandoned there, when this was the primary port of entry between 1892 -1954.