Using object, image, spoken word and design, meaninglessness was created in response to the 2016 Danish Jewellery Legislation which allowed border authorities to confiscate ‘non-sentimental’ jewellery from people seeking asylum in order to meet the costs of their upkeep in Denmark.
Reflecting on similarities between Denmark and Australia’s own asylum-seeker policies, Cohn engages the audience in a conversation about the social, political, and historical context of jewellery as a way to navigate the troubled politics surrounding displaced peoples.
Personal and family stories are shared as Cohn invites the audience to reflect on the meaning imbued in objects, and the immeasurable weight that fell on Danish border guards charged with the task of deciding which items are ‘meaningless’ to those seeking asylum.
Using the four-leaf clover as a prism, the performance interweaves the threads of courage, trust, hope and love as a way to engage with the audience about their connection to jewellery. In pursuit of an answer to the question of how citizens can behave pro-actively when their government operates on values that are hostile to their own, Cohn offers up her own quietly subversive antidote to society’s anxiety about the stranger, the newcomer, the other.