“Freedom, ‘I’dom, ‘Me’dom / Where’s your ‘We’dom? This world needs a brand new ‘Re’dom / ‘We’dom – they key / ‘We’dom the ‘Key’dom to life!”
Panning down to her unwavering gaze, ‘Borders’ speaks for itself. Half-removed amongst surroundings, M.I.A. anchors herself centre screen as stretches of parched land, oceans and perverse, jagged fences limit often frenzy-like hoards of human beings. There’s no doubt the clip is a passing comment to the serious refugee crisis, a crisis so large that it sadly remains in the fast, online undercurrent of First World issues. “The world I talked about 10 years ago is still the same,” she recently commented on Twitter before ‘Borders’ were released, “that’s why it’s hard for me to say it again on a new LP.”
Being a British artist of Sri Lankan descent, ‘Borders’ is entirely staged in its construction. Curating invisible lines between herself and the people neighboring her, there’s a visual barrier that disconnects M.I.A. to the passing business and calm around her. As if she were the personification of pop-culture, the lack of interactivity between her and the systematically chaotic only solidifies her message: “whatsupwiththat?”. Self-directed by Mathangi Arulpragasam herself, the clip goes beyond each sonic hook to chastise political responses and materialise the arrival, troubles and hazards refugees face in the continuing migration crisis. Flooding each montage with a series of confronting frames, ‘Borders’ cuts between high concrete borders, barbed fences, hazardous paths and laden, overcrowded boats. Again: “Whatsupwiththat?“.
If you would like to find out more about the refugee crisis in Australia and beyond including statistics and donations, check out www.asrc.org.au/resources/statistics. “We’dom (With them) smart phones / Don’t be dumb!”