Just over a week ago I returned from Chile. I was there teaching snowboarding which is my other profession which helps fund my art activities. It has taken me a few days to come to terms with the last few days that I spent there as they were not like the rest of the season. When I tried to leave the country I was denied, refused exit. This is the first time in 16 years of travel that I have had an issue with a visa and it was a huge learning experience. Add to this that I may have learnt some Spanish in my time there but I am no way near fluent and going through this process of being denied by the check in agent to then being asked to speak to immigration followed by the police was quite a traumatic experience.
It turned out the company I had been working for had cut a few corners and had decided to not actually pay for the correct visa and had only process a token one month work visa even though they knew I was working for them for three months. So when I got to the airport and tried to explain that I had a visa, that I had paid tax and paid a visa fee. It took a while for an official to explain what had actually happened. The company I had been working for thought there would be no issue as most instructors left before their tourist visa was up.
So once I had been declined I had my passport confiscated and told that I would have to go to the main Ministry building for immigration on the Monday to see what fines I would have to pay. This is the first time in all my travels that I have been without my passport or been left in no mans land. It was an odd sensation and I am not sure how I feel about the days I spent in Santiago waiting to find out what the Ministry would say. It made me consider the issues and thoughts I examine within my art practice. These liminal states, borderless zones and wastelands where nothing but everything happens. This time where I was unable to go or do anything however I was there experiencing this quite unique process. It was real, very real to me, however I was also in limbo and these were nothing days that to everyone else really did not matter. This stasis I felt like I had little if no control of my fate or movement which compared to the fortunate life I have lead is quite the opposite.
I am not sure I have really come to terms or understood what or how this may affect or influence my work. However I leave for Armenia where I will spend the next six weeks on residency. I feel that some of the experiences I have undergone may start to filter into some of the investigations I make in the coming weeks.