Bennie Flores Ansell installation at Institute of Contemporary Art, Fish Out of Water
From Donna Pinnick on 07/27/2017
Professor Bennie Ansell took six students and Professor Corey Ackelmire to Boston for the unveiling and continuing installation of her piece in the Boston ICA Art Lab. Ansell created a laser-cut stencil in wood of a flying fish so the museum visitors could draw on acetate film, then color and cut out for installation to represent their own journey by writing their country of origin on the fish. The flying fish are then pinned to the wall according to a map created by Ansell to make an ever-growing swarm on the walls of the Art Lab until September.
The public collaboration/installation reflects her personal story. During the proposal period the Boston ICA asked Ansell to propose based on her previous bodies of installation art that create compositions of migration flight patterns and swarms. And now for this piece she’s chosen existing migration patterns of refugees and immigrants around the world to inform this swarm. They also asked her to think of the word “journey,” her own journey came to mind. It was the biggest journey of her life, coming from the Philippines at 6 months old to live with her family in the United States. In today's political climate and the discourse of refugees being displaced, Ansell thought about this country of immigrants and how at one time or another they felt displaced. That feeling of displacement is like being a fish out of water. Ansell thought of fish that are comfortable out of their water environment, flying fish.