Virtual Migrants – radical artist and cultural interventions in narratives on migration, asylum and deportation

This is a short post (for the moment) to introduce the work of Virtual Migrants.  This article gives a flavour of some of our previous work: http://www.virtualmigrants.com/vmartcle/intro_exhale.htm
Soon-ish one of us will post up something specifically about our performance work though there is a youtube video of this work available to watch right now at http://www.virtualmigrants.com/passenger.htm . Until then, from our website the following summary statement about us is worth a scan by way of introduction:

virtual migrants connects and engages artists with digital media, and organises projects that add new aesthetics and perspectives to themes of race, migration and globalisation.  virtual migrants create, exhibit and distribute artworks that incorporate digital media techniques that can be installed in galleries, public spaces or community venues.

Over the years we have produced interactive media art, film and music such as the “Terminal Frontiers” exhibition that has been shown in galleries across the UK and abroad, we have collaborated with UK-based artists and communities at all levels and geographies, have published educational resources about refuge and immigration, have created a series of performance works entitled “Passenger”, and have produced a major publication “Exhale” as a DVD-CD-booklet box set covering five years of our productions. We are currently working on issues around race, refugees, and climate justice as well as other linkages.

virtual migrants association was founded in 1998 to bring together a range of artists, particularly those working in visual, music, performance and writing, to collaborate on moving image and new media projects. Its critical purpose is to add new aesthetics, artistic responses and perspectives to themes of race, migration and globalisation; to cross boundaries between artists and non-artists, including with theorists, activists and communities; to draw attention to expressions of migrants whose existence is held in question; and to artistically explore and respond to the causes of racialised political issues which continually make headline news.

EXHIBITION OF NEW WORK BY KOOJ / VIRTUAL MIGRANTS for GMIAU and ASHA

at Z-ARTS 6th-29th June 2013, including Launch Event at 6pm on 6th June

CommittedRepresent_B+W_s

refusingTheRefused_s

Exhibition opening times are 5pm – 9pm weekdays, 10am – 4pm Saturdays, closed Sundays.

Committed to Represent
An exhibition of photography and texts as a series of portable panels by the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, in partnership with Virtual Migrants
How does the legal work of the GMIAU help refugees to rebuild their lives? What motivates the caseworkers? How do refugees respond to the challenges that the asylum system throws at them?
This exhibition is a celebration of the work that caseworkers do and a testament to the courage of refugees and people seeking asylum.
Design and direction by Kooj Chuhan. Research and text by Ursula Sharma. Photography by Mazaher.

Refusing The Refused
A short film created for ASHA (Asylum Support Housing Advice) from footage of a training workshop on Asylum Destitution on 22nd February 2013, a Virtual Migrants production by Kooj Chuhan
Destitution effectively means poverty and mental suffering at a chronic level, and this workshop involved a range of strong and emotive presentations and dialogues on the experience of destitution among people seeking asylum, the legal and wider political framework for this, and what kinds of support and action can be possible.
ASHA helps asylum seekers whose applications have been refused and fully determined, and whose status renders them homeless and destitute.

Both of these pieces of work are still ‘in development’. They involve intersecting elements of documentary, community portraiture, campaigning and education. This is an integral part of Virtual Migrants’ critical practice in artistic, media and cultural work.

Accompanying these works is an exhibition of paintings by Elizabeth Kwant, titled Tracing Presence. This comprises a series of large-scale portraits developed during her Artist’s in Residence with The Boaz Trust, a charity working to help destitute asylum seekers in Manchester.

6th-29th June at Z-arts, 335 Stretford Road, Manchester M15 5ZA
An exhibition to coincide with Refugee Week 17-23 June 2013

www.virtualmigrants.com

www.gmiau.orgwww.ashamanchester.wordpress.com
www.z-arts.org

IMG_1717_s