http://www.tenement.org/hardplace/

Biography:

Jenny Polak hailing from England, uses art to address immigration issues. She is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work takes architectural drawing as a starting-point. Her most recent work explores physical, political, and personal dimensions of hiding as parameters of migration and inter-ethnic solidarity. Situ Sanctuary, an installation at Exit Art, was the first iteration of a concept of ironic architectural hiding-places for fugitive immigrants, taking a stand against modern architecture's elimination of hiding-space potential. Safe House, made on a residency at the Carriage House in Islip, LI, used a previously sealed attic in a fiction about the FBI's discovery of a secret hiding-place that was part of a contemporary Underground Railroad for fugitive immigrants. "Hard Place," a web-based art work completed for a Digital Artist Residency at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, uses architectural rendering to reconstruct the experiences of immigrants detained by the INS. Polak has participated in many group shows, including "Tactical Action" at Gigantic ArtSpace in NY, Exit Art Biennial "Reconstruction," "Good Morning America" at Wesleyan University, "Public Notice" at Exit Art in NY, "Rubies and Rebels: British Jewish Women Artists" at the Barbican Gallery, "Circulation," a project of artists' postcards for web and snail-mailings, and artists' poster projects such as "Maximum Security Democracy" and numerous venues in England. She was a 1993 fellow at the Whitney Independent Study Program and has degrees in architecture from Cambridge University and in Art from St. Martins School of Art in London and SVA in New York.

Proposal Description:
"Alien Absconders"


"Alien Absconders" is an online hide-and-seek demonstration offering a choice of ways to hide immigrants wanted under Homeland Security's new fugitive operations plan 'Endgame'. In a web display with windows each associated with a part of the home, Ms. Polak and her son will be seen disappearing into a variety of hiding places made by adaptations of typical domestic features. The venues used will be actual homes. Short downloadable manuals will present the hiding places with drawings and 'how-to's as prototypes for shared use. An interactive capability will encourage people to anonymously upload scenes of their own hiding places.

Final Report:
"Design for the Alien Within"

"Design for the Alien Within" is the only source of contemporary hiding place design. Use our interactive design tool to determine how best to equip your home to meet the needs of undocumented immigrants for the 21st Century. Our clean-lined units will transform your location into a stylistically satisfying and technologically advanced refuge. Please send us images of your own hiding places showing how one would use them, and we will animate and upload them!