Documented Non-Immigrants

Padmini Chandrasekaran + Vaishnavi Kumar




Data visualization
2020



In response to the ‘alternative narrative construction’ and ‘moments of disjoint and unexpected synchronization’ in Split Channels 5 x 2 by Molly Haig and Kristen Mallia,4 we chose to focus on our somewhat parallel lives. Padmini Chandrasekaran (Pam) and Vaishnavi Kumar (Vaish) are both Indians raised in Middle Eastern Gulf countries, and have both held non-immigrant visas in the United States. In this work, we explore these shared but alternative narratives that not only run in parallel but intersect, overlap and synchronize.

For years, we have struggled to simplify our definition of home into non-complex answers. Instead, we constantly distill our identity and experiences to provide a clear-cut version of complicated events. Spending much of our lives in transience means answering questions like “Where are you from?” takes more than twice the time
a small talk question like this one expects.

Attempting to describe the many-layered feelings of feeling like no place truly belongs to you —no matter how much you might feel a sense of belonging— is near impossible to share in the short story, ‘on paper’ way so often asked of us. In Documented Non-Immigrants, we use data humanism to visualize emotions and experiences during significant moments of living a life in non-immigrant status.

The five sets of visualizations purposefully lack context and eliminate nuance and complications. Reflections on the experiences are reduced to simplified icons and colors with limited meanings to represent common experiences and emotions. By reducing these shared experiences in this way, we can study the patterns created in both artists’ visualizations, and compare two very different people who have, ‘on paper’, experienced the same things.

Vaish and Pam met in Kuwait in 2014 when Pam, the then-designer at bazaar Magazine in Kuwait hired Vaish as a summer design intern. They later attended the same Graphic Design MFA program at Boston University from which Pam graduated in 2017 and Vaish in 2018. They are also friends and make art together.












Documented Non-Immigrants

Padmini Chandrasekaran + Vaishnavi Kumar




Data visualization
2020



In response to the ‘alternative narrative construction’ and ‘moments of disjoint and unexpected synchronization’ in Split Channels 5 x 2 by Molly Haig and Kristen Mallia,4 we chose to focus on our somewhat parallel lives. Padmini Chandrasekaran (Pam) and Vaishnavi Kumar (Vaish) are both Indians raised in Middle Eastern Gulf countries, and have both held non-immigrant visas in the United States. In this work, we explore these shared but alternative narratives that not only run in parallel but intersect, overlap and synchronize.

For years, we have struggled to simplify our definition of home into non-complex answers. Instead, we constantly distill our identity and experiences to provide a clear-cut version of complicated events. Spending much of our lives in transience means answering questions like “Where are you from?” takes more than twice the time
a small talk question like this one expects.

Attempting to describe the many-layered feelings of feeling like no place truly belongs to you —no matter how much you might feel a sense of belonging— is near impossible to share in the short story, ‘on paper’ way so often asked of us. In Documented Non-Immigrants, we use data humanism to visualize emotions and experiences during significant moments of living a life in non-immigrant status.

The five sets of visualizations purposefully lack context and eliminate nuance and complications. Reflections on the experiences are reduced to simplified icons and colors with limited meanings to represent common experiences and emotions. By reducing these shared experiences in this way, we can study the patterns created in both artists’ visualizations, and compare two very different people who have, ‘on paper’, experienced the same things.

Vaish and Pam met in Kuwait in 2014 when Pam, the then-designer at bazaar Magazine in Kuwait hired Vaish as a summer design intern. They later attended the same Graphic Design MFA program at Boston University from which Pam graduated in 2017 and Vaish in 2018. They are also friends and make art together.





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