Jesse Chun's work explores the visual rhetoric involved in travel, migration, and immigration. Starting with a research based process, she collects various passports and immigration forms from her own archives, as well as from her friends and family. Employing the role of the artist as editor, she appropriates, redacts and recontextualizes the found documents into landscapes, abstractions, and poetry.
In Landscapes, the watermarked imagery of various passport pages are transformed through methods of rephotography and digital manipulation. In this process, the intricate backgrounds that exist to prevent identity theft and aestheticize national iconography, become large-scale foregrounds of ubiquitous and unbound nature.
Chun reconfigures various immigration documents through selective erasure of texts to create Forms. The reduction of text and form subverts the interrogative and compartmentalizing properties of such documents. The resulting Concrete Poetry also plays with the physicality of the documents, scanning their volume and revealing their layers.
In another series titled Blueprints, Chun removes all text from immigration papers sourced from various countries, leaving only the skeletal lines and grids. Printed onto translucent blueprint vellum paper and layered to create new visual arrangements, the immigration forms become outlines for new Homes.
Chun’s works, devoid of their original bureaucratic function, individual and cultural specificity, become metaphors for our collective transit. By abstracting the existing symbols and narratives of homeland, she architects new poetics of dwelling, locating and belonging.