Rendez-vous (2009), HD video, 4 channel sound track, 24 minutes
In Rendez-vous, Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen juxtaposes portraits of migrant Indian workers in Dubai alongside images of their families who remain in their homeland of Kerala, India. Generally hidden away from the image of a prosperous society that is projected in the United Arab Emirates, Larsen positions these expatriate labourers in the foreground, giving them not only a face, but a further context that exposes both the conditions that brought them there in the first place and the system that often keeps them there indefinitely.
'Before starting filming', Larsen says, 'I asked the workers to think of their families and vice versa. It is within this emotional context the audience finds themselves placed physically. When installed, the portraits are projected onto two screens opposite each other, leaving space in the middle for the audience to stand. Accompanied by a soundscape created in collaboration with Mikkel H. Eriksen, the poignant and poetic nature of Rendez-vous suspends the viewer metaphorically and physically between the gazes of those on-screen and in those feelings of hope and longing between worker and family.'
Commissioned by Sharjah Biennial 9