Video Preview for Manchester World War I’s Hidden Voices incl. The Poppy Retake

‘The Poppy Retake’ video art installation by Kuljit ‘Kooj’ Chuhan is the focus for a new short film about the upcoming Manchester World War I exhibition titled World War I’s Hidden Voices which launches on Weds 6th December 2017 at the amazing Central Library building in the heart of Manchester.

‘The Poppy Retake’ is partnering with the extensive ‘From The Shadows Of War And Empire’ set of educational graphic panels by Southern Voices to create the exhibition, which runs from 7th December 2017 – 24th February 2018.  Key details below: Continue reading

The Gift Of India poem by Sarojini Naidu

Rani will dramatise a reading of the poem by Sarojini Naidu

Rani Moorthy

At the exhibition launch of World War I’s Hidden Voices (6th December – CLICK HERE TO REGISTER) the Manchester actress Rani Moorthy will perform a dramatised reading of a powerful poem reflecting on the effects of the First World War from an Indian and colonised country perspective.  She will be accompanied by musician Jaydev Mistry and also VJ projections by Kuljit ‘Kooj’ Chuhan.  The poem is by Sarojini Naidu and is titled The Gift Of India, written in 1915 while the war was ravaging.

The exhibition features The Poppy Retake art installation by Kooj Chuhan, the launch event will be on Weds 6th December from 5.30pm and the performance and speakers begin at 6.30pm.  More information at www.metaceptive.net/poppy-retake .  The event is free but registration is strongly advised at www.hiddenvoicesww1.eventbrite.co.uk .  #poppyretake

About Sarojini Naidu

Sarojini Naidu was a distinguished poet, renowned freedom fighter and one of the great orators of her time.  She was famously known as Bharatiya Kokila (The Nightingale of India) and was a prolific poet with over three books of published poems, highly praised by Rabindranath Tagore.  Sarojini Naidu was the first Indian woman to become the President of the Indian National Congress and the first woman to become the governor of a state in India. Continue reading

World War One’s Hidden Voices: documentary and art in two parallel exhibitions

India, Africa, the West Indies, colonialism and recruitment, impacts of war and our ongoing culture of war explored in two parallel exhibitions under the title World War One’s Hidden Voices

World War One's Hidden Voices
The Poppy Retake (v3)
by Kooj Chuhan // From the Shadows of War and Empire by Southern Voices // #poppyretake

On show 7th December 2017 – 24th February 2018
at Manchester Central Library
(First Floor), St Peter’s Square, Manchester M2 5PD, UK // Opening times 9am-8pm Mon-Thurs and 9am-5pm Fri-Sat (Sunday closed) Tel. +44 (0)161 234 1983

OPENING NIGHT – 6th December 2017 5.30pm-7.30pm
including speakers Ahmed El-Hassan (Southern Voices) and Colette Williams (Mbari), plus live performance from Jaydev Mistry (music), Rani Moorthy (dramatised readings) and Kuljit ‘Kooj’ Chuhan (VJ projection) // First Floor exhibition from 5.30pm, then speakers and performance from 6.30pm on Ground Floor
Booking for this free event is strongly advised: www.hiddenvoicesww1.eventbrite.co.uk

MINI-CONFERENCE – 10th February 2018
thought-provoking talks, workshops, films and discussion for World War One’s Hidden Voices – full details to be announced www.metaceptive.net/poppy-retake

– – – – – – – –

The Poppy RetakeTHE POPPY RETAKE (v3)

…colonial narratives, spirits from the dead and video war games…

video art installation by Kooj (Kuljit Singh Chuhan) – new version

Modern war propaganda began with World War I which obscured its pointlessness and deep colonial connections, while pretending to be the ‘war to end all wars’. This artwork explores coercion into war, involving an African woman working for a war-themed park. She finds herself caught between colonial narratives, spirits from the dead and video war games.

Since the end of WWI we have seen numerous wars with the majority in regions once colonised. Modern video gaming is now the epitome of obscuring both the horror and the colonial roots of much conflict. The Poppy Retake suggests our multiple connections with wars as forms of cultural recruitment but which impact mostly on people from ex-colonies. It extends the perspectives developed in the documentary exhibition ‘From The Shadows Of War and Empire’.

www.metaceptive.net/poppy-retake

 

From the Shadows of War and Empire

documentary exhibition by Southern Voices

Few know about how European powers brought colonies into World War I, took resources from these countries and took the war to ‘fronts’ outside Europe. An exhibition which finally tells this major part of the story from the colonies’ point of view. We focus on India, the West Indies, German and British East Africa, and Nigeria – the British Colonies.

Did you know that the first and last shots of World War One by ‘British’ forces were fired not in Europe, but in Africa? Or that 1.5 million soldiers from India fought for the British? The exhibition examines the impact of 1914-18 on these selected colonised countries from the viewpoint of the colonised peoples themselves – their situation as colonies, the impact of the war on them and on anti-colonial struggles. Accompanied by ‘The Poppy Retake’ art installation by Kooj Chuhan, this exhibition gives us incredible context and information about World War One’s Hidden Voices.

www.southernvoices.org

World War One's Hidden Voices - funder logosWorld War One's Hidden Voices - funder logosPlease share via Facebook
www.facebook.com/events/1660602353990894

 

The Poppy Retake at MMU Hulme Community Learning Festival

The Community Learning Festival 25th-27th July 2017 at MMU Brooks Building (Birley Fields Campus) is set up to celebrate the diversity of learning happening in the local area https://birleycommunityfestival.wordpress.com/ .  It includes a lot of consciousness-raising activities and possibilities for activism towards progressive goals.  The Poppy Retake installation is set up there in a compact version, supporting the talk by Southern Voices about Colonialism and WWI, and also Kooj (me) will be delivering a session about using video for community activism with references to The Poppy Retake installation.

The installation looks strong, here is how it looked yesterday (some components might be added today – trying to keep playful with trying things out here):

The Poppy Retake at MMU Hulme Community Learning FestivalThe Poppy Retake at MMU Hulme Community Learning Festival The Poppy Retake at MMU Hulme Community Learning Festival

 

 

 

 

 

More about The Poppy Retake at http://metaceptive.net/poppy-retake/

Strong responses to The Poppy Retake at Z-arts: WWI’s colonial impact, the game of war today

The Poppy Retake at Z-artsA new video art installation The Poppy Retake at Z-arts Centre launched on 18th April to a diverse and appreciative crowd.  The main projection screen follows the story of an African woman (performed by Tracey Zengeni) working in a woodland park devoted to the theme of war.  Subtle clues suggest she herself has a refugee background. 
Objects from World War I draw her into an alternate reality of video games which she can’t control and which mix between playable wars and real wars.  Through a magical mirror, she meets her own spiritual alter-ego who tells her to escape before it’s too late, and also an elderly Sikh spirit who tells of the realities of World War 1 from an Indian perspective.  More about The Poppy Retake at www.metaceptive.net/poppy-retake .
A powerful accompanying set of graphic documentary panels were exhibited by Southern Voices, titled ‘From The Shadows Of War And Empire’.  They narrated the story of the contribution by and impact on the colonies from World War I.  More about this project at www.southernvoices.org/sv-proj .
There were thoughtful speeches by Southern Voices’ WWI project coordinator Kirit Patel, community researcher Washington Alcott, artist Kooj Chuhan, and a tribute to the late Deyika Nzeribe by his brother Ikem. There was poetry performed by Afshan D’souza-Lodhi, and finally a fantastic musical set by Serge Tebu (Keyboard) and Emmanuela Yogolelo (vocal) along with backing on bass and drums by Joe and Ephraim.

Words and poetry within The Poppy Retake at Z-arts

During the dramatic video sequence within The Poppy Retake at Z-arts Centre there are the words of soldiers from India and the West Indies during World War I taken from letters they had written, which are a part of drawing the main character into the war loop.  At the launch event, one particularly strong and relevant poem which was read by Afshan is as follows:
The Poppy Retake at Z-artsThe Gift of India
by Sarojini Naidu (India, 1915)
Is there ought you need that my hands withhold,
Rich gifts of raiment or grain or gold?
Lo! I have flung to the East and the West
Priceless treasures torn from my breast,
And yielded the sons of my stricken womb
To the drum-beats of the duty, the sabers of doom.
Gathered like pearls in their alien graves
Silent they sleep by the Persian waves,
Scattered like shells on Egyptian sands,
They lie with pale brows and brave, broken hands,
they are strewn like blossoms mown down by chance
On the blood-brown meadows of Flanders and France
Can ye measure the grief of the tears I weep
Or compass the woe of the watch I keep?
Or the pride that thrills thro’ my heart’s despair
And the hope that comforts the anguish of prayer?
And the far sad glorious vision I see
Of the torn red banners of victory?
when the terror and the tumult of hate shall cease
And life be refashioned on anvils of peace,
And your love shall offer memorial thanks
To the comrades who fought on the dauntless ranks,
And you honour the deeds of the dauntless ones,
Remember the blood of my martyred sons!

New version to be developed

This is the first showing of The Poppy retake at Z-arts, it will be expanded and developed further into a new version to be shown at Manchester’s Central Library for three months from December 2017 to February 2018.
The evening was dedicated firstly to Deyika Nzeribe and Jaya Graves, both of whom were members of Southern Voices and who died within the last year www.southernvoices.org .  Secondly Kooj dedicated The Poppy Retake at Z-arts to his son Naseeb Chuhan whose conscious attitude and cultural interests influenced the video art installation, who used to work at Z-arts, and who also died within the last year www.naseebchuhan.wordpress.com .   A big thanks to all who were involved and helped out, a list of credits is at www.metaceptive.net/poppy-retake .
For occasional updates please Subscribe to our newsletter or ‘FOLLOW’ this blog.  For more frequent news, why not like our Facebook page?  (All links on the side of this page if you are on a desktop, or below if you are on mobile).

Video art and documentary exhibition connects wars, colonialism and games, focusing on World War I. Launches 18th April.

The Poppy Retake video art installation connecting wars, colonialism, gamesTHE POPPY RETAKE is a new video art installation by Kooj Chuhan with an alternative take on World War I by connecting colonialism and computer games with a systematic war culture.  The installation references the involvement of and impact on European Colonies by World War I and was supported by the experiences of the actor, Tracey Zengeni, herself having sought refuge in the UK.  Its going to premiere at the fantastic Z-arts centre gallery on Tues 18th April from 6pm, and will be on show there for nearly two weeks.  There are full details at www.metaceptive.net/poppy-retake including of the opening preview night.  Here is an introductory trailer for the work:

Essential details for The Poppy Retake:

at Z-Arts Gallery, 19-28 April 2017
335 Stretford Road Manchester M15 5ZA   0161 226 1912
Open daily 9am-9pm except Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday closed

PREVIEW: Tues 18th April 6pm
Speakers: Susan Chieni, Kirit Patel and others / Poetry: Afshan D’Souza-Lodhi / Music: Serge Tebu & Emmanuela Yogolelo
FREE ENTRY but booking advised: www.poppyretakeshadows.eventbrite.co.uk

WORKSHOP + ARTIST’S TALK: Sat 22nd April 2pm – with Southern voices members, and the artist Kooj Chuhan
FREE ENTRY but booking advised: www.shadowspoppyworkshop.eventbrite.co.uk

Will wars ever end?  Was World War One’s ‘Lest We Forget’ a deluded slogan by Europeans  who endured enormous suffering yet ignored even greater calamities for their colonies?  Is war in fact the default future human addiction as global economics, culture and inequality spell more conflict forever?

The Poppy Retake is a new piece of video installation art by Kooj Chuhan which poses these questions.  The artist Kooj uses dramatic sequences of imagery that mix aspects of culture today, recent conflicts and refugees with world war one and the historical realities for people in previous colonies such as India, East Africa, The West Indies and Nigeria.

Who knows that the first and last shots of World War One were fired not in Europe, but in Africa?  Or that 1.5 million soldiers from India fought for the British?  The installation will be exhibited together with an extensive series of documentary history panels created by Southern Voices, titled ‘From the Shadows of War and Empire’.  In all this will present a unique exhibition taking an African and South Asian perspective on World War One and the role of the British colonies within it.

Art that can re-interpret, re-situate, connecting wars, colonialism, games

Kooj hopes to get people to shift from the usual and massive stereotypical icons of World War I and understand its part in the ongoing process that has got us where we are today, and how young people are influenced and co-opted into cynical acceptance of conflict yet remain oblivious to colonial histories and geopolitical power interests.  This war was fuelled by rivalry based much on competing colonial portfolios between European countries, and colonies were enormously affected in critical ways during and after the war.

However, Kooj is quick to point out that, “As an artist my job is not to stuff a load of history down people’s throats, but to draw out a human experience in simple and metaphoric ways that bring people closer to the underlying meanings and hidden agendas of the war.”

The Poppy Retake installation depicts a never ending loop which we can’t get out of, played out through a current character with a refugee connection from today.  The work is inspired by resistance to wars and colonialism in history especially the WWI period focusing on narratives that have often been suppressed such as schoolteacher John MacLean from Scotland who was instrumental in the Clyde revolts during and after WWI, or Indian revolutionaries such as Kartar Singh Sarabha, or the many women from East Africa whose families died from a famine made worse by European demands for resources to support the war. Within the installation we encounter hints of these people and events but we remain stuck in a continual loop of wars, games and colonialism which appears to have no end, driven along by a background tempo and video loops which play with ideas of nationalism, patriotism, dissidence, loss and war game videos.

Full details about The Poppy Retake and its connecting of wars, colonialism and games at www.metaceptive.net/poppy-retake

Historical Documentary Exhibition ‘From The Shadows Of War And Empire’ by Southern Voices

Alongside The Poppy Retake installation will be a set of educational panels titled ‘From The Shadows Of War And Empire’ created by Southern Voices about the issues around World War 1 from the perspective of the colonies.

2014 marked 100 years since the start of the World War One (WW1).  In a very real way, this was the first global conflict, with war between the European Empires drawing in well over 100 countries.

This project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, examines the involvement of the British colonies (India, West Indies, Nigeria and East Africa) in WW1 and the impact the war had on those countries.  Southern Voices look at European imperialism, the devastating losses on the colonies’ own ‘home fronts’ and subsequent strengthening movements for self-rule and independence.

The impact and views of the people in the ‘colonised countries’ are either neglected or absent in commemorative events.  This exhibition provides a more balanced account of this global war than is commonly available or known and adds to the connecting of wars, colonialism and wider contexts.

Full details at www.southernvoices.org

Tyneside Cinema Climate Migration weekend screens Footprint Modulation film

'Climate Refugees' feature documentary at Tyneside Cinema

‘Climate Refugees’ feature documentary

Tyneside cinema is to screen the ‘Footprint Modulation‘ documentary followed by a showing of the feature film ‘Climate Refugees’ on 17th March 2017, 8.15pm.  Full details at https://www.tynesidecinema.co.uk/whats-on/films/view/climate-refugees .

They are hosting a bold weekend of films on climate change, migration and the refugee crisis titled ‘Gimme Shelter’.  Here is the blurb from Tyneside Cinema’s own website:

“It is predicted that climate change will have a big impact on human migration in the next 50 years, with millions set to be displaced by shoreline erosion, coastal flooding, intensifying drought and further agricultural disruption.

Tyneside Cinema aims to inform and spark discussion through a curated programme focusing on the urgency of action on climate change as well as its very real connection to the current refugee crisis. The programme contextualises these issues and will cultivate a better understanding of the reasons behind human displacement and will see filmmakers joined by leading experts to discuss the connection between climate change, natural disasters and migration.

Gimme Shelter at Tyneside CinemaJoin us after the screening for a special panel discussion with;
– Filmmaker and artist Kooj Chuhan, whose recent films have focused on climate-linked migration
– Professor Tahseen Jafry, whose work in Glasgow focuses on climate and international development aid
– Durham University-based Professor Andrew Baldwin, one of the world’s leading academics on climate change and migration.”

More about the Gimme Shelter weekend festival at https://www.tynesidecinema.co.uk/whats-on/gimme-shelter  and at http://climatemigration.org.uk/climate-migration-film-festival/ .

Well done to Tyneside Cinema for making this happen, and for giving my film ‘Footprint Modulation‘ another outing and within a focused and critical context such as this. More about the Footprint Modulation project at http://metaceptive.net/footprint-modulation/ .

Footprint Modulation - the film, to be screened at Tyneside CinemaIts been almost a year since the last blog post, things have been quiet at Metaceptive due to a particularly deep and devastating bereavement for Kooj Chuhan.  However, things are now back on track as far as they can be.  Another showing of Footprint Modulation will take place on 1st April in Manchester at the Energise festival http://www.energise-mcr.info/#energise .  Kooj recently was on a panel about art and activism at University of Arts London which took place on 16th February 2017, titled ‘Art For Action – Creativity and Social Changehttps://www.facebook.com/events/1551324314885377/ .

 

There is a new and major project too – an art installation by Kooj titled ‘The Poppy Retake’ to be exhibited at Z-arts, Manchester, 18-28 April 2017 www.metaceptive.net/poppy-retake .  More news about that soon, until then, very best wishes and thoughts to all.

 

Climate migration discussion incl Zita Holbourne, Richard Black + others

Video of panel presentations from ‘Linking Climate Change with Migration’ public event 7th March 2016 at Kings College, which began with a screening of the film ‘Crossing Footprints’ by Kooj Chuhan.  The climate migration discussion also included Andrew Baldwin and Alex Randall.  The ‘Crossing Footprints’ film shown at the event can be seen in two parts as the Footprint Modulation documentary and the Human Migration And The Environment documentary, all are on the DOCUMENTARY FILM PAGE.  This video of the panel presentations is approx 40 mins long:

Also, esp if you haven’t time to watch the video above check out the great twitter feed about the event reproduced HERE

The climate migration discussion panel included speakers:

Richard Black, leading scholar at SOAS on migration in the context of climate change
Zita Holbourne, community, union and human rights activist, writer, artist and curator; co-founder of Black Activists Rising Against Cuts
Andrew Baldwin, chair of international Climate Change and Migration research network based at Durham University
Alex Randall, UK Climate Change and Migration Coalition
Kooj Chuhan, artist, filmmaker and curator of the ‘Footprint Modulation’ exhibition exploring climate migration and justice

+ Public launch and screening of the film ‘Crossing Footprints: Human Migration and the Environment’ by Kooj Chuhan / Metaceptive Media, about both the Human Migration and The Environment Conference and the Footprint Modulation art exhibition www.metaceptive.net/footprint-modulation

Chaired by Dr Helen Adams, researcher on human interactions with environmental change at Kings College

There’s a great twitter feed from Platform of the discussion if you haven’t time to watch this but want a flavour of the points being made – see bottom of this post.

Crossing Footprints film and climate migration discussion 7th March 2016 at Kings CollegeAbout the event and the climate migration discussion:

Continue reading

EVENT: Linking climate change with migration Film screening and panel discussion 7/3/16 London

Is the devastation of our climate forcing increased migration and is it projected to worsen in the future?

A new film shows how recent research linking climate change with migration has strengthened our understanding of this enormously, and how artists have begun to articulate this in human terms. In stark contrast virtually no mention was made of migration in the Paris climate summit agreements.  A leading panel explores the underlying issues and asks whether and how migration should be made more visible across public and policy agendas on climate change?

Crossing Footprints - Linking Climate Change with MigrationMon 7th March 2016, at 6.30pm
Room K2.31 Nash Lecture Theatre, 2nd Floor, King’s Building, King’s College, Strand, London WC2R 2LS
Book your FREE place at: http://linking-climate-change-with-migration.eventbrite.co.uk/

Linking climate change with migration event includes speakers:

Richard Black, leading scholar at SOAS on migration in the context of climate change
Zita Holbourne, community, union and human rights activist, writer, artist and curator; co-founder of Black Activists Rising Against Cuts
Andrew Baldwin, chair of international Climate Change and Migration research network based at Durham University
Alex Randall, UK Climate Change and Migration Coalition
Kooj Chuhan, artist, filmmaker and curator of the ‘Footprint Modulation’ exhibition exploring climate migration and justice

+ Public launch and screening of the film ‘Crossing Footprints: Human Migration and the Environment’ by Kooj Chuhan / Metaceptive Media, about both the Human Migration and The Environment Conference and the Footprint Modulation art exhibition www.metaceptive.net/footprint-modulation

Chaired by Dr Helen Adams, researcher on human interactions with environmental change at Kings College Continue reading

Kooj Chuhan’s video art at Royal Geographical Society: ‘Buy This v3’

The Impact Of Diasporas is a day-long event on Thurs 17th September 2015, including Kooj Chuhan’s video art at Royal Geographical Society titled ‘Buy This v3’ alongside key seminar presentations and a set of other video art works all under the umbrella title ‘Doh Mix Meh Up.  http://www.migration.ox.ac.uk/odp/impact-of-diasporas-event.shtml

Buy This v3 - video installation art by Kooj Chuhan

Buy This v3 – video installation art by Kooj Chuhan

The event is the culmination and conclusion of two innovative, multidisciplinary five-year research programmes, generously supported by the Leverhulme Trust. It will showcase the work of these two programmes and celebrate their achievements.

It will have an academic focus with four themed panels: ‘Home and Away’; ‘Lost and Found’; ‘Coming and Going’ and ‘Remembering and Forgetting’. Both programmes will present research in the panel discussions and the audience will have the opportunity to engage in debate around these themes.

Alongside the event itself, there will be extensive displays of work from each programme in the form of project posters, photo-essays and publication displays; artist’s pieces from the Doh Mix Meh Up exhibit; and an exhibition by the Royal Geographical Society that will display a selection of their extensive archival holdings.

Buy This v3

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.

For more about the Buy This v3, see http://metaceptive.net/buy-this-v3-video-installation-art/

Doh Mix Meh Up

Continue reading