Manus Recording Project Collective

where are you today;

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  • 31.07.20 (play)
    Yasin, drinking green tea and looking through the window, watching cars go by, for Eid.

    You are an unknown distance from Mantra Hotel, where Yasin made this recording.

    289 messages sent, listened 389 times in 183 locations including:
    two in Adelaide , eight in Auckland , two in Ballarat , one in Bendigo , three in Brisbane , two in Hobart , one in London , one in Long Beach , 66 in Melbourne , one in Mildura , two in Perth , 13 in Sydney and four in Wollongong
  • 01.08.20 (play)
    Samad, waking up in his room in Gordon, Port Moresby.

    You are an unknown distance from Port Moresby, where Samad made this recording.

    270 messages sent, listened 283 times in 137 locations including:
    four in Auckland , one in Ballarat , three in Brisbane , one in Hobart , one in Maungakiekie-Tāmaki , 42 in Melbourne , one in Mildura , two in Perth , 26 in Sydney and one in Wollongong
  • 01.08.20 (play)
    Farhad Bandesh, walking from his room to the lounge room and kitchen of Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation.

    You are an unknown distance from Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation, where Farhad Bandesh made this recording.

    399 messages sent, listened 377 times in 126 locations including:
    two in Adelaide , 21 in Brisbane , two in Hobart , one in London , 39 in Melbourne , one in Mildura , one in Perth , seven in Sydney and two in Wollongong
  • 03.08.20 (play)
    Thanush, listening to a guided meditation and talking about painting.

    You are an unknown distance from Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation, where Thanush made this recording.

    434 messages sent, listened 345 times in 169 locations including:
    one in Adelaide , eight in Brisbane , two in Coffs Harbour , one in Gold Coast , one in Hobart , 70 in Melbourne , one in Mildura , one in Perth , nine in Sydney , one in Whau and four in Wollongong
  • 04.08.20 (play)
    Farhad Rahmati, playing pool with a friend.

    You are an unknown distance from Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation, where Farhad Rahmati made this recording.

    464 messages sent, listened 310 times in 113 locations including:
    four in Adelaide , one in Auckland , seven in Brisbane , one in Gold Coast , one in Hobart , two in London , one in Los Angeles , 32 in Melbourne , one in Mildura , one in Perth , 12 in Sydney and one in Wollongong
  • 05.08.20 (play)
    Shamindan, listening to a song that reminds him of home.

    You are an unknown distance from Shady Rest Hotel, where Shamindan made this recording.

    493 messages sent, listened 318 times in 118 locations including:
    two in Adelaide , seven in Brisbane , two in Gold Coast , one in Hobart , one in Los Angeles , 36 in Melbourne , one in Mildura , three in Newcastle , one in Perth , 13 in Sydney and one in Wollongong
  • 06.08.20 (play)
    Yasin, playing FIFA 20 with his roommate.

    You are an unknown distance from Mantra Hotel, where Yasin made this recording.

    484 messages sent, listened 294 times in 99 locations including:
    one in Adelaide , five in Brisbane , four in Caboolture , one in Cleveland , one in Gold Coast , one in Hobart , 31 in Melbourne , one in Mildura , one in Newcastle and eight in Sydney
  • 06.08.20 (play)
    Samad, watching the second day of the Test match between Pakistan and England.

    You are an unknown distance from Port Moresby, where Samad made this recording.

    501 messages sent, listened 120 times in 61 locations including:
    one in Adelaide , one in Brisbane , one in Caboolture , one in Gold Coast , 21 in Melbourne , one in Mildura , two in Orange , one in Perth , four in Sydney and one in Wollongong
  • 08.08.20 (play)
    Farhad Bandesh, teaching his fellow detainee English.

    You are an unknown distance from Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation, where Farhad Bandesh made this recording.

    525 messages sent, listened 316 times in 97 locations including:
    one in Adelaide , four in Auckland , three in Brisbane , two in Gold Coast , 40 in Melbourne , one in Mildura , one in Perth , nine in Sydney and one in Wollongong
  • 09.08.20 (play)
    Thanush, giving his friend Sinna a haircut.

    You are an unknown distance from Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation, where Thanush made this recording.

    528 messages sent, listened 344 times in 121 locations including:
    one in Adelaide , two in Brisbane , one in Gold Coast , 29 in Melbourne , two in Mildura , one in Perth , 13 in Sydney and one in Wollongong
  • 09.08.20 (play)
    Farhad Rahmati, sitting by the fence in the evening and listening to the birds.

    You are an unknown distance from Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation, where Farhad Rahmati made this recording.

    537 messages sent, listened 276 times in 122 locations including:
    one in Auckland , four in Brisbane , two in Gold Coast , two in Hobart , 46 in Melbourne , one in Mildura , four in Perth , ten in Sydney , one in Waitākere Ranges , one in Whanganui , two in Whau and two in Wollongong
  • 12.08.20 (play)
    Shamindan, sitting in front of the Shady Rest Hotel and then going for a walk.

    You are an unknown distance from Shady Rest Hotel, where Shamindan made this recording.

    579 messages sent, listened 238 times in 79 locations including:
    one in Adelaide , three in Brisbane , one in Gold Coast , 29 in Melbourne , two in Mildura , ten in Sydney and one in Wollongong
  • 12.08.20 (play)
    Yasin, listening to ABC Country and working out at the hotel gym.

    You are an unknown distance from Mantra Hotel, where Yasin made this recording.

    1132 messages sent, listened 233 times in 84 locations including:
    one in Adelaide , five in Brisbane , one in Gold Coast , 27 in Melbourne , 15 in Sydney , one in Wollongong and one in 臺南市
  • 14.08.20 (play)
    Samad, boxing.

    You are an unknown distance from Port Moresby, where Samad made this recording.

    568 messages sent, listened 146 times in 73 locations including:
    three in Brisbane , 26 in Melbourne , one in Port Moresby , seven in Sydney and one in Wollongong
  • 15.08.20 (play)
    Farhad Bandesh, walking the yard and feeding pigeons.

    You are an unknown distance from Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation, where Farhad made this recording.

    599 messages sent, listened 245 times in 80 locations including:
    one in Auckland , one in Brisbane , one in London , 28 in Melbourne , two in Perth , eight in Sydney and one in Wollongong
  • 16.08.20 (play)
    Thanush, playing cards with his friends.

    You are an unknown distance from Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation, where Thanush made this recording.

    591 messages sent, listened 130 times in 66 locations including:
    two in Auckland , two in Brisbane , one in Gold Coast , 26 in Melbourne , three in Sydney and one in Wollongong
  • 16.08.20 (play)
    Farhad Rahmati, working out with a friend and thinking about the future and freedom.

    You are an unknown distance from Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation, where Farhad Rahmati made this recording.

    573 messages sent, listened 146 times in 71 locations including:
    one in Adelaide , two in Brisbane , one in Gold Coast , one in Kaipātiki , 24 in Melbourne , one in Perth , eight in Sydney and two in Wollongong
  • 18.08.20 (play)
    Shamindan, in his room, doing nothing.

    You are an unknown distance from Shady Rest Hotel, where Shamindan made this recording.

    620 messages sent, listened 176 times in 85 locations including:
    one in Adelaide , two in Auckland , three in Brisbane , one in Cleveland , one in Kolkata , three in London , two in Los Angeles , 20 in Melbourne , one in Mildura , one in Quezon , seven in Sydney and three in Wollongong
  • 18.08.20 (play)
    Yasin, playing pool and listening to music.

    You are an unknown distance from Mantra Hotel, where Yasin made this recording.

    632 messages sent, listened 120 times in 69 locations including:
    one in Adelaide , two in Brisbane , one in Hobart , one in London , one in Los Angeles , 13 in Melbourne and nine in Sydney
  • 18.08.20 (play)
    Samad, missing friends and family, looking at the sky and listening to sad songs.

    You are an unknown distance from Port Moresby, where Samad made this recording.

    642 messages sent, listened 144 times in 72 locations including:
    one in Adelaide , three in Brisbane , one in City of London , one in London , one in Los Angeles , 19 in Melbourne , seven in Sydney and one in Wollongong
  • 21.08.20 (play)
    Thanush, doing abdominal exercises with an activity officer.

    You are an unknown distance from Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation, where Thanush made this recording.

    682 messages sent, listened 105 times in 72 locations including:
    one in Adelaide , one in Auckland , one in Brisbane , one in Broome , one in Gosford , 21 in Melbourne , one in Mildura , nine in Sydney and one in Wollongong
  • 21.08.20 (play)
    Farhad Bandesh, listening to a very old Kurdish folk song.

    You are an unknown distance from Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation, where Farhad made this recording.

    652 messages sent, listened 163 times in 78 locations including:
    one in Adelaide , one in Alice Springs , three in Auckland , five in Brisbane , one in Broome , one in Kolkata , 23 in Melbourne , one in Mildura , two in Sydney and one in Wollongong
  • 22.08.20 (play)
    Farhad Rahmati, playing ping pong while waiting in the queue for nightly medication.

    You are an unknown distance from Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation, where Farhad Rahmati made this recording.

    680 messages sent, listened 132 times in 57 locations including:
    one in Adelaide , one in Auckland , one in Brisbane , 20 in Melbourne , six in Sydney , one in Whau and one in Wollongong
  • 24.08.20 (play)
    Yasin, chatting with two friends, one still waiting in PNG and another who has been resettled in the USA.

    You are an unknown distance from Mantra Hotel, where Yasin made this recording.

    692 messages sent, listened 113 times in 58 locations including:
    one in Adelaide , one in Auckland , two in Brisbane , one in Broome , one in Gosford , 16 in Melbourne , one in Norwich and seven in Sydney
  • 24.08.20 (play)
    Thanush, listening to meditation music.

    You are an unknown distance from Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation, where Thanush made this recording.

    687 messages sent, listened 160 times in 65 locations including:
    two in Brisbane , two in Broome , one in Lincoln , one in London , 23 in Melbourne , three in Norwich , six in Sydney and three in Wollongong
  • 25.08.20 (play)
    Shamindan, having a shower.

    You are an unknown distance from Shady Rest Hotel, where Shamindan made this recording.

    689 messages sent, listened 107 times in 52 locations including:
    one in Brisbane , one in Kolkata , 14 in Melbourne , seven in Sydney and three in Wollongong
  • 24.08.20 (play)
    Samad, making breakfast after working out.

    You are an unknown distance from Port Moresby, where Samad made this recording.

    689 messages sent, listened 98 times in 39 locations including:
    two in Brisbane , 11 in Melbourne , three in Sydney and one in Wollongong
  • 27.08.20 (play)
    Farhad Bandesh, waking up and having breakfast.

    You are an unknown distance from Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation, where Farhad made this recording.

    701 messages sent, listened 133 times in 51 locations including:
    three in Brisbane , one in Kolkata , 16 in Melbourne , one in Norwich , two in Perth and ten in Sydney
  • 28.08.20 (play)
    Farhad Rahmati and others, watching Discovery Turbo channel and discussing what kinds of cars to buy when they’re released.

    You are an unknown distance from Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation, where Farhad Rahmati made this recording.

    688 messages sent, listened 85 times in 38 locations including:
    one in Adelaide , 11 in Melbourne , one in Norwich and eight in Sydney
  • 28.08.20 (play)
    Shamindan, eating dinner alone. This is the final recording of ‘where are you today’.

    You are an unknown distance from Shady Rest Hotel, where Shamindan made this recording.

    686 messages sent, listened 147 times in 69 locations including:
    one in London , 23 in Melbourne , two in Norwich and 12 in Sydney
About

Throughout August 2020, subscribers received a text message every day with a new ten-minute audio recording from Farhad Bandesh, Farhad Rahmati, Samad Abdul, Shamindan Kanapathi, Thanush Selvraj or Yasin Abdallah.

These men, seeking asylum by boat, were forcibly transferred to Manus Island by the Australian government nearly seven years ago. Now, they are held in hotels or detention centres in Port Moresby, Melbourne or Brisbane.

Mantra Hotel, Preston. Photo by Yasin Abdallah Mantra Hotel, Preston. Photo by Yasin Abdallah

‘For this recording, of course, there will be people who find it boring, and they won’t want to listen. But there are many people here, who just sit down and try to understand. They close their eyes, just to imagine the people in Manus, and try to make a connection with the men, in Manus. And that’s why I think this work is very interesting … it takes the audience inside the prison camp, just to live with them for a while. To witness their lives. Another thing really that is very important, is that this system treats us in a way where we do not exist. But we do exist. Sometimes we exist in Australia, through these artworks, you know. That part is very surreal. That is the important thing about this work. That it allows us to say: here we are.’

Behrouz Boochani, in conversation
with André Dao about how are you today,
3 December 2019.

  • [8:36 pm, 16/11/2019] Michael Green:
    How are things in the hotel?
  • [7:01 pm, 17/11/2019] Yasin Abdallah:
    Still waiting ...
Above: Mantra Hotel, Preston. Photo by Yasin Abdallah

Biographies

FARHAD BANDESH is a 38-year-old Kurdish musician, painter and poet who was detained on Manus Island for six years, and now for more than a year in the Mantra Hotel and Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA). Before seeking asylum, he worked as a guitar maker. He has no formal art training; whilst in detention, he has produced solo and collaborative works of music, art and writing. He loves nature and is a keen gardener; his sisters now look after his plants.

FARHAD RAHMATI is a civil engineer from Khorramabad City in Iran. He was forcibly sent to Manus Island in 2013 and then evacuated to Australia in 2019 to be treated for a heart condition he developed in PNG. He was held at Kangaroo Point Central Hotel for eight months, where, from his balcony, he watched people walking their dogs on the outside. In June, he was moved to Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation (BITA).

SAMAD ABDUL was detained in an Aus­tralian run off­shore deten­tion centre on Manus for five years. For the last two years he has been in Port Moresby, where he is still not free. He loves cricket and his only dream was to be a pro­fes­sional crick­eter but politi­cians have taken his dream and used him as a polit­i­cal pris­oner. Although his seven years will not come back, he now wants to be a social worker to help those who are in pain.


SHAMIN­DAN KANA­P­ATHI is a Sri Lankan Tamil refugee. In Sri Lanka he was a mar­ket­ing exec­u­tive and a stu­dent. He was detained on Manus Island for six years and is now held in Port Moresby.

THANUSH SELVRAJ is a 32-year-old Sri Lankan Tamil refugee who fled persecution. In Sri Lanka he was a painter, artist, hairdresser, phone and computer repairer, photo and video editor and a student. He was detained on Manus Island before being transferred to Port Moresby hotel detention. From PNG he was transferred to the Mantra Hotel in Preston, Melbourne. He is currently being held in MITA with no hope of his freedom.

YASIN ABDALLAH is a 24-year-old man from Darfur, Sudan, from the Zaghawa ethnicity. He arrived in Australia by boat in 2013 and was taken to Manus Island. He has been detained in Mantra Hotel in Preston, Melbourne, for one year. When he was a teenager in Sudan, he used to fix cars with his uncle. He wants to be a mechanical engineer.


ANDRÉ DAO is a writer of fic­tion and non-fic­tion. He is the co-founder of Behind the Wire, an oral his­tory project doc­u­ment­ing people’s expe­ri­ence of immi­gra­tion deten­tion.

JON TJHIA is a radio-maker, artist and writer. As the Wheeler Centre’s senior dig­i­tal editor, he col­lab­o­ra­ted with Behind the Wire to pro­duce The Mes­sen­ger. He’s a co-founder of Paper Radio and the Aus­tralian Audio Guide.

MICHAEL GREEN is a writer, radio-maker and pro­ducer. He was the host of The Mes­sen­ger pod­cast, which won the 2017 Walk­ley Award for Radio/​Audio fea­ture. He trav­elled to Manus Island twice.


Two members of the Manus Recording Project Collective, who made recordings for how are you today (2018), are no longer detained by the Australian government. ABDUL AZIZ MUHAMAT is now in Geneva, where he was granted asylum by Switzerland. BEHROUZ BOOCHANI is now in Christchurch, where he was granted asylum by New Zealand. A third member of the collective, KAZEM KAZEMI, is still being detained at Kangaroo Point Central Hotel in Brisbane. Kazem decided not to make recordings for where are you today.