Electric Neon Clock

Documentary Performance
[in production]


Similarly to the U.S., Canada forcibly incarcerated and dispossessed thousands of Canadian citizens of Japanese heritage, relocating them to internment camps, or in the case of my family, a sugar beet work farm in the Canadian Prairies. After accessing the 119 page custodial file of my great-grandfather, I’ve discovered the case files of my relatives, their friends and a wider community of displaced people of Japanese descent. These historical documents detail inventories of their homes and fishing business, contain government correspondence, internal memos and court transcripts hastily recorded during the 1948 inquiry into war mismanagement, known as the Bird Commission. All adults named in the original documents have died, leaving their now elderly children, as the only first-person accounts of this period. Their old age has blurred childhood memories, leaving the custodial file as the most enduring testimony of my family from this period. 


My project, Electric Neon Clock, asks, how can the artist liberate forensic practices and state records, to undermine their original intention and use them to reconstruct the community and families they were designed to dismantle? Relying on my family’s custodial file as a guide, I will adapt this textual record into a feature length live documentary detailing my family’s experience. Using video, sound, intimate family interviews and performances, a substantial photo archive, and the innovative format of a live auction, I welcome audiences to delve into my family’s file, encouraging participation in accessing the inventory’s value and join me in interpreting and humanizing its contents.