Passages II
Single-channel video installation (color, sound); cast sugar cane sculptures
11:30 minutes

Passages II considers oceanic thinking as means to connect related histories of exploitation and resistance between islands in the Pacific and Caribbean. The video combines digital and archival footage, cyanotypes on 16mm, and excerpts of Japanese, Caribbean, and Pacific poetry and prose along with an installation of cast sugar cane stalks. The video is loosely inspired by my maternal great-grandparents’ history as Japanese immigrant laborers on Hawaiʻian sugar cane plantations in the early 20th century. Indentured Asian replacement labor fueled the plantation system following the abolition of African enslavement in the Americas. Not only economically profitable, these islands served as strategic military sites for growing western expansion. In 1898, the US annexed Hawaiʻi after the sovereign nation was overthrown by a militia; the same year, Spain relinquished claims on Cuba and ceded sovereignty over Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to the US, a result of the Spanish American War, extending United States imperialism across the Pacific and Caribbean. These islands share a history of economic and military exploitation by Western powers but also a rich legacy of resistance and solidarity with one another. Rather than “islands in a far sea”, Tongan and Fijian writer Epeli Hauʻofa considers Oceania “a sea of islands” united by a vast ocean, the site of ancestral history, resilience, and futurity.