We are no different from dragonflies. With their tiny transparent wings flapping at 30 beats per second, these creatures travel thousands of kilometers to reproduce, to find a new home, to fight for their survival. This is what Pangdemonium’s Dragonflies alludes to: like dragonflies, our existence is dependent on long-distance migration. From the nomadic homo erectus to our forefathers arriving on distant shores, human beings share this animalistic drive to seek out greener pastures.
Dragonflies begins four years in the future, in a post-Brexit United Kingdom where xenophobia is rampant. It reads like a Nigel Farage wet dream – all non-British citizens no longer have the right to own property and are forced to return to their home countries. Despite having made England his home for thirty years, Singaporean citizen Leslie Chen (Adrian Pang), finds himself back in Singapore. He is greeted by a country that is equally hostile and brimming with racial tension.
Everything that is happening today has been magnified and intensified in Dragonflies: climate change, the refugee crisis, and the resurgence of far-right politics have converged to form a devastatingly turbulent world. In contrast to the chaos, there are neat, futuristic touches of retina scans, and orderly police procedures accompanied with a menacing authoritarianism. “What race are you?” a Singaporean policeman asks Leslie’s British daughter. “There’s only Chinese, Malay, Indian and Other”. This is the strongest component of Dragonflies, when authentic dialogue is set against a backdrop of impending catastrophe. The world is not quite apocalyptic yet, but is perhaps just a couple of new regulations away from becoming a dystopia.