All posts by koojchuhan

‘Buy This (v3)’ artists video installation by Kooj Chuhan archived by Vtape (Toronto)

The 2-screen installation ‘Buy This (v3)’ created with support from Virtual Migrants as part of their Centre Cannot Hold ongoing exploration of climate imperialism, was re-formatted as a single screen artists’ video and toured Canada as part of the Monitor 9 programme by SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre) in Toronto.  It is now also archived by Vtape, a non-profit distribution and resource centre in Toronto.  Vtape is the leading distributor for video art in Canada, established in 1980. They represent a collection of over 5000 titles, accessible to artists, curators and educators.

buyThisV3_still-01The original ‘Buy This (v1) installation was more complex and interactive, exhibited at The Arnolfini in Bristol (2009) as a part of the ‘C Words’ exhibition about climate justice. This later non-interactive video-based version (v3) was premiered at the first Platforma Festival in December 2011 as a proper 2-screen installation followed by Manchester’s local Chorlton Arts Festival in 2012, and then in 2013 toured a few venues in Canada courtesy of South Asian Visual Arts Centre (Toronto) as part of Monitor 9 with the two screens compiled into a single screen for ease of exhibition, and then also at No.W.Here Gallery in London.

BuyThisV3_MG_7055_sAlthough this work has been screened as a single video stream, it is best viewed using two separate projectors as an installation because the intention is that the two screens loop at different rates so that the imagery juxtaposition continually changes.   Here is the original description of the work:

Buy This (v3) video installation 
by artist Kooj (Kuljit) Chuhan, 2012, a part of an ongoing exploration by Virtual Migrants artists’ group

Year of completion: 2012
Country of production: UK
Running time: 6 mins 20 secs as a continual loop

Refugees and ‘third-world’ migrants bring with them intimate and undervalued knowledge about climate change.  ‘Buy This’ juxtaposes such voices on one screen against another, over-saturated with colliding imagery of wars, colonial struggles, environmental upheaval and UK racism, overlaid with scrolling news messages.

An exploration of how environmental change is integral to the economic and political forces bringing about human displacement and racial inequality, and a continuation of the “Centre Cannot Hold” project discussing climate imperialism and the violent commodification of humans and the environment.

Increasing numbers of people in the UK are sceptical of man-made climate change, outnumbering those who accept climate change as man-made.  Many local members of refugee communities have recent personal experiences and observations from their originating countries which are able to testify to environmental change.  By enabling local refugees to express first-hand observations from countries they have recently migrated from, collaborating with scientists and social scientists to discuss their data, local people can intimately appreciate changing conditions in other countries.  At the same time, it is an opportunity to raise discussion in the UK about the global connections between race and climate, and also how they may impact on issues such as asylum in Europe and the West.

The media-saturated culture which we in the western world inhabit is a facet of a wider approach to (over-) consumption which has become the norm, and which is fundamental to ideas of maximising economic growth with the resultant process of murdering the planet’s resources and bringing about climate devastation.  More than this, the arts, media and cultural sectors is largely complicit in nurturing false illusions and political amnesia, this ‘soft’ consumption of particular cultural and aesthetic meanings actually forms our ways of thinking, seals our disconnections, and this video work taunts the viewer to Buy This.

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RESONANCE – digital media and video installation

“ R E S O N A N C E ”

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by Kuljit ‘Kooj’ Chuhan
digital media and video installation

Resonance uses visually poetic metaphors combined with testimonial narratives to create a statement linking migrant settlers in Britain with the colonial and industrial legacy that brought them here, and with contemporary experiences and creative developments. The work interactively focuses on understanding the migrant experience within the framework of global economy and centralisation of wealth, and draws on the daily lives and personal struggles of the respective communities.

As an installation, Resonance combines video screens with projected digital interactive multimedia, along with an original 3-dimensional soundtrack. It integrates layers of documentary video, interviews, graphics, animations and computer games, so allowing the viewer to navigate through a variety of environments exploring the contrasts and resonances between migrant settlers. Using digital montage, visual symbolism and creative video, with the support of the original soundtrack, contrasting notions of alienation and integration are continually explored without ever losing the sense of a wider contradiction.

Migrant experiences come together in an alternative history of cotton-spinning, which was the base of the industrial revolution and whose mills played a major part in the recruitment of migrant labour. The struggle for a pluralist identity is a metaphoric mirror-piece to the more linear and historic narrative, and provides interactivity with a range of dialectical expression. Over 40 interviews spanning Afro-Caribbean, Bangladeshi, Indian, Irish, Pakistani, Polish and Ukrainian communities contribute to and enrich the work, which focuses on the Oldham area of Greater Manchester, historically acknowledged as the pioneering global centre of cotton spinning.

The video and digital media artist Kooj Chuhan has exhibited at various film and media festivals and gallery spaces across Britain over the past seven years. In addition to productions and commissions he also works with colleges and community groups and regularly conducts lectures, presentations and discussions on related subjects.

Also available as a single-screen CD-ROM installation.

First commissioned by and shown at Oldham Art Gallery, January-July 1999. Game programming by Claudine Moutou.

“Resonance brings to life the many stories of migration to Oldham with a level of intimacy unusual in multimedia works. With a user interface that is unusual and yet feels natural in use, Resonance is a significant intervention in the struggle to tell our histories and experiences.”
Arun Kundnani, producer of the award-winning ‘Homebeats’ CD-ROM, Institute of Race Relations, UK.

“Resonance leaves the audience reverberating with a magical tapestry of the moving image – don’t miss it!”
Alnoor Mitha, SHISHA (South Asian Crafts and Visual Arts Network, UK).

Meta-Motion – interactive digital media installation

interactive digital artwork for CD-ROM by Kuljit S Chuhan (aka. ‘Kooj’)

with poetic reflections by novelist & poet Peter Kalu.

Originally commissioned and shown as part of the Aftershock exhibition for the Commonwealth Games 2002 which also included work by The Singh Twins, Jai Moody, Matt Squire and Cheryl Martin.

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An exploration of how athletic self-discipline can counter barriers to personal and collective achievement through interactively re-mixing video and audio narratives.
Mere mortals through sheer dedication and discipline can overcome their real-life barriers to follow their destiny. In watching world-class athletes compete, we admire not only the thrill and elegance of humans at the peak of physical ability, but also cathartically and inspirationally become witness to the greatness that we can all achieve, given the right conditions and mental focus.
Meta-Motion plays with the range of human narratives in which ‘ordinary’ people’s struggles become interchangeable with those of athletes. Using a variety of interviews and contextual footage, it allows the user to continually re-order a series of video segments to create new global narratives in a non-linear fashion, while simultaneously being able to re-mix the interviewees’ dialogues with parallel poetic reflections.
Through interacting with the work, we can create our own versions of these narratives and develop new relationships between their various elements. In doing so we make the essence of those relationships more tangible. We are athletes, we will burst forward.

metaHlpFeaturing international athletes Myrtle Augee (shotputt) and Jon Wild (10,000m), plus community contributors Dennis Turner, Oladimeji Adisa, Sarah Forster and Kendasz “Daisy” Shortman.
Creative and collaborative software programming by digital artist Klaus Dieter-Michel. Original soundtrack by Gurparkash Bobby Singh. Produced & © 2002, Kuljit Chuhan.

Committed To Represent exhibition with Refugee Boy play 1st-3rd April at Waterside Arts Centre

Refugees and legal support pop-up exhibition
on show with Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah

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1st – 3rd April 2014, at Waterside Arts Centre, 1 Waterside Plaza, Sale, M33 7ZF

Open to view from 1pm on Tues 1st and Thurs 3rd, and from 3.30pm on Weds 2nd. Tel. 0161 912 5616

How does the legal work of the GMIAU (Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit) 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. It consists of photography and texts as a series of 12 portable panels by the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit and Virtual Migrants.

REFUGEE BOY – a play based on the novel by Benjamin Zephaniah, is on stage at the Waterside Arts Centre 1-3 April. Adapted for the stage by Lemn Sissay. Gail McIntyre (West Yorkshire Playhouse Associate Director) brings together the work of two of the UK’s most prolific and revered poets, Benjamin Zephaniah and Lemn Sissay in a heartbreaking and hilarious production that pulses with energy, love, loss and hope. http://watersideartscentre.co.uk/whats-on/1371-benjamin-zephaniahs-refugee-boy/

A special talk about the Committed To Represent exhibition by Denise McDowell (the director of GMIAU) will take place on Wednesday 2nd April at 6.20pm, before the performance at 7pm.

This exhibition is available for borrowing or hire (if you have available funds), and a speaker can be provided if desired. The panels can be set up to accompany any relevant event or activity involving an audience, or cultural / artistic programme. Please contact virtual migrants via www.virtualmigrants.net or contact GMIAU directly via www.gmiau.org .

More information along with previews of the exhibition are available at http://virtualmigrants.net/committedtorepresent .

Design and direction by Kooj Chuhan. Research and text by Ursula Sharma. Photography by Mazaher.
www.virtualmigrants.net     www.gmiau.org

 

90 degree citizen exhibition: Re-Presenting Refugees event 30th October!

Re-Presenting Refugees event 30th October!

90 Degree Citizen
an exhibition by Virtual Migrants + performance / discussion events

on show at the Manchester Museum 10th October – 17th November 2013
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migrant art – alternative connections – cultural boundaries
A rare exhibition of work by a new wave of visual artists whose experiences include life as refugees in the UK, and engaging with objects from The Manchester Museum

Special event: Re-Presenting Refugees panel discussion with ‘Passenger 12’ multimedia performance + special guests incl. international artist Humberto Velez, Denise McDowell the director of Greater Manchester Immigration Aid, and Iranian artist Flora Alexander
Wednesday 30th October, 6.00 – 9.00pm
plus: at 5.00pm a talk + preview of the “Committed To Represent” pop-up exhibition
FREE: please register at www.re-presentingrefugees.eventbrite.co.uk

view the trailer

Full details of the event

Exhibition full details here!

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

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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

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