I can't place you...

‘I Can’t Place You’ is a sound installation that traces the stories of South African migrants who came to Australia post-apartheid. The voices and soundscapes serve as an invitation to deep and radical listening. This exhibition is an initiative of the Community, Identity & Displacement Network (CIDRN) at Victoria University. It features a cross-section of individual sound portraits of South African migrants, weaving together a collective narrative of migration and displacement.


This installation brings to life the voices of participants, allowing the listener to experience vocal tone, emotional complexity and the sounds of home and host lands.  Such nuances are often lost in text-based research publications. ‘I can’t place you’ is a call to engage with individual memories while also remaining attuned to the broader sociopolitical context. Using a ten-channel sound installation, this sounded experience conveys the multiple forms of dislocation often experienced by migrants.


This installation is based on a research project that is part of the Apartheid Archive Project (AAP), which is a collaborative research initiative that focuses on the collection of personal stories and narratives accounts from ordinary South Africans, about their experiences of racism during apartheid. A key goal of the AAP is to include the voices of marginalized sectors into the public record, and for people to have an opportunity to reflect on and share their experiences.




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