Tag Archives: refugee

‘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.

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

 

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.