Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan

Address, Philippines / Australia, 2008

Installation, Domestic objects Dimensions Variable

Courtesy of the artists

Filipino artists Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan have constructed a coverless structure designed for packing together memories and objects from the life of work immigrants, whose hardships compel them to leave their own country for faraway places. “Address” is a cynical commentary on the address-less reality that typifies immigrant society wherever it may be. Life of migration hinges on one’s dexterity to compact his or her personal belongings: to pack as many objects as possible into a small space; to take along as much as possible; to leave behind as little as possible; to keep more than lose along the journey the destination of which is never final, and one’s address therein is often unknown. The installation, constructed in an intentionally modular form, reflects the deconstruction and reconstruction processes so typical of migrant reality. Life of constant moving dictates packing one’s life into a series of well organized boxes, as he or she set out on the quest for an alternative home. It is not by chance that Filipino immigrants dub the Balikabayan Box, a concept they are all too familiar with, a Returnee’s box, if only in the hope that eventually they would return some day to their own homeland. In boxes of uniform size (50 x 50 x 50 cm), the life testimony of 11 million Filipinos is neatly packed, as they migrate on a yearly basis to neighboring countries such as Australia, and even to faraway ones such as Israel.