As a member of the immigrant generation that illegally journeyed from Iraqi Kurdistan to Europe on foot, Hiwa K’s Pre-image (2017) simulates an experience of walking through foreign territory. Using an “object-sculpture” made of stick and motorbike mirrors which he balances on his nose, Hiwa K finds his way. The object acts as a navigation device and what Hiwa K calls “an adaptation tool” that he uses to familiarize himself with unknown spaces. It is an extension of the organs and senses, providing the traveler (and viewer) with various mirrored perceptions, “seemingly longing to my body rather than belonging to it”, describes Hiwa K. The artist sees both his own reflection and reflections of the environment through which he is walking, causing the viewer to consider him not as an individual, but as an entity in relation to his environment. The artist and viewer are involved in a multifaceted balancing act, of sorts, as Hiwa K moves and adapts to accommodate the mirror object, and as the viewer shifts his/her perception to accommodate Hiwa K’s movements.
First exhibited document 14 in 2017, Pre-Image tackles the timeless question of migration affecting all geographies through a performative act. We wanted to revisit this video in light of recent developments in Afghanistan, one of the countries Turkey receives migration from.
Hiwa K, Pre-Image (Blind as the Mother Tongue), 2017, Single channel HD video, 16:9, color, sound, 18 min. Courtesy of the artist, Prometeo Gallery Ida Pisani and KOW, Berlin.