On the Other Side
On the Other Side is a collaborative work between French artist Claire Fouquet and American book artist Patty Smith that addresses issues of emigration. The concept originated as a response to the fences built by the United States to keep out illegal immigrants and by the French government’s policy on immigration.
The book is a two-sided accordion with the recto side listing the fears that might be experienced by the emigrant. The cut windows entice the viewer to turn the concertina inside out. The verso side describes potential advantages, opportunities, and joys that might lead one “to appreciate the unfamiliar”. The work is also a comment on internal anxiety that prevents us from moving forward in our personal lives. Some obstacles, seemingly threatening and impossible to surmount, may be the product of our fear of failure or the unfamiliar. These illusions, manufactured by uncertainty, can be transcended through personal resolve and collective effort.