Good Chickens and Bad Chickens

Scholarly Definition

An analogy referring to the Canadian state’s practice of welcoming or showing the door to would-be immigrants depending on their medical condition or health status. Applicants with chronic illness and developmental or genetic otherness come to learn that they are set apart from ‘healthy’ people. The uncertainty and angst this causes for people are well founded since the state’s medical inadmissibility assessment regime is organized to detect, diagnose and possibly exclude them.

Artist Statement

How to calculate human worth? The Canadian immigration system reduces and de-problematizes what is, in fact, a complex subject that has been the subject of discussion and debate for centuries. What prejudice lurks within the ideas of a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ immigrant? Through this illustration, I conjure up carnival, with its revelling, frivolity and double entendre. A line-up of chickens with targets on their back is assembled in a shooting range, set up for our amusement. People pay to shoot at them, intending to displace them, hoping for a reward. Canada has a points-based immigration system. Within this, characteristics of an applicant’s profile are scored. The immigration system happens through decisions made by visa and immigration officers. Are the three figures seen here, plane tickets in hand, “Good Chickens” or “Bad Chickens”? They are equal and indistinguishable.

Digital art © Amy Zhang and Ujwal Mantha