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.
"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.
"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!