Rosie Heinrich
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Sound installation on migration and trade for the cross-culture exhibition Kappalai, Camera Japan 2009. Kappalai is a Japanese word that derives from the Dutch word Kaperij, meaning Sea-jack.

In 1598 a Dutch fleet of ships set sail in the direction of Asia in search of new trade relations. The vessels' names were Liefde (Love), Hoop (Hope), Geloof (Belief), Trouw (Loyalty) and Blijde Boodschap (Good Tidings). In 1600 the Liefde arrived on the shores of Japan baring 24 survivors. A special trading relationship between Japan and the Netherlands was founded in the following years, and the VOC (Dutch East India Company) was established as the first transnational corporation in the world.

Today transnational corporations and traders operate on a global scale, not only resulting in the mass movement of goods, but also of people: international (or transnational) migrants. Increase in migration in recent decades has been phenomenal. Numbers have more than doubled in the last 25 years, resulting in an estimated 200 million international migrants worldwide. It is predicted that numbers will further increase.

As a consequence of this phenomenon, we need to trade with one another on a personal level. I have been interested in the paradox between the names of these boats, the intentions of their voyage and the subsequent developments, and the current segregated nature of our increasingly multicultural society.

Love, hope, belief and loyalty are fundamental values of people from all cultures and nationalities. It is a depressing fact that migrants and the issues that surround the topic of migration are not associated with these positive values; migrants are not always thought of as good tidings. Vessels is about the importance of valuing the goods international migrants bring to communities.

The installation is consists of 24 vessels from which we hear the voices of international migrants currently residing in the Netherlands. Each vessel is positioned in the space on an imaginary world map, according to where each migrant was born. Cables run from the vessels across the space, mapping the routes of the individuals. The words, ‘I bring you love, I bring you hope, I bring you belief, I bring you loyalty, I bring you good tidings’, are spoken by the 24 migrants in their mother tongue.