Remembering Jaya Graves

A year ago today, a dear friend of mine died of cancer.  She was old but not that old and youthful in spirit, her name was Jaya Graves who I will miss dearly.  Her death at the time was overshadowed by the far more devastating loss of my own son just 10 days earlier, and its taken me until now to put this all too brief post up.

I first met Jaya in the late 90’s as part of some activities supporting refugees and people seeking asylum in Manchester.  She later became involved on the management committee and then as occasional collaborator with the artists’ collective that I had founded, Virtual Migrants www.virtualmigrants.net and we used to meet at the Southern Voices office at St Peters House Church and Chaplaincy.

In 2003, while she was a member of the Manchester Museum Community Advisory Panel, I was commissioned to create a series of video works for permanent installation in the at that time new galleries being built, and one of the videos was of Jaya.  Here it is along with another two from the same series of videos.

There is more information about that project, titled Rekindle, at www.metaceptive.net/rekindle-interactive-museum-object-stories .

The more recent work on environment, climate change, race and migration was co-developed with her vital contribution, meeting at her house.  It was Jaya who suggested we call the project The Centre Cannot Hold, from the WB Yeats poem.  I valued our reflective, analytical, critical and good humoured chats enormously, as well as the ideas and knowledge she introduced me to.  We were good friends even though we only met occasionally, and I miss her.  I count her as an inspiration and influence on my work and my humanity.  May she be carrying on in the way she always did so well wherever she may be.

'Rekindle' Interactive Museum Object StoriesPS: Regarding my dear son Naseeb, mentioned earlier, I have not felt the need to put a post about him on this website since there is a memorial website dedicated to him already at www.naseebchuhan.wordpress.com .

 

Launch of Footprint Modulation – art exhibition exploring climate migration

FOOTPRINT MODULATION
An exhibition of art and interventions exploring climate change, global justice and human displacement across five venues in Durham, UK.
5th June – 5th July 2015 
www.footprintmodulation.net

FOOTPRINT MODULATION_horizontalPromoWide2text_750x184Exhibition Preview and Launch
Thursday 4th June, 6pm-8pm at Durham Art Gallery   www.dlidurham.org.uk

The preview evening’s gathering will include presentations by Kooj Chuhan (artistic director), Maya Chowdhry (co-producer), Dr Andrew Baldwin (Geography Dept, Durham University) and selected artists.  Launching an art exhibition exploring climate migration and displacement,  includes live poetry by Sai Murray, short screening + more to be announced…

You can join this event on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/1385392818458056/

The exhibition runs 5th June – 5th July 2015 at five venues:
DURHAM ART GALLERY / ORIENTAL MUSEUM / MINERS HALL / EMPTY SHOP HQ / DURHAM UNIVERSITY
+ Special Events Weekend 27th-29th June

Artworks and contributions from:
SHAHIDUL ALAM : PLATFORM (LONDON) : KOOJ CHUHAN : MAYA CHOWDHRY : MAZAHER : TRACEY ZENGENI : APU CHOWDHURY : TRANSITION DURHAM : DILLER, SCOFIDIO + RENFRO : UK CLIMATE CHANGE & MIGRATION COALITION : MIKA LAIHO : SAI MURRAY & SELINA NWULU : DAVE DOUGLASS : NIGEL HULETT : JUDY PRICE & ANDREW CONIO : GEOGRAPHY@DURHAM UNI

A Metaceptive project in partnership with the international conference ‘Human Migration and the Environment: Futures, Politics and Invention’ at Durham University 28th June – 1st July 2015 www.durhamconference.eu

Sai Murray to read some poetry at this event

Sai Murray to read some poetry at this event

An exhibition exploring climate migration:

Popular ideas of climate change rarely connect with migration even though migration is probably the largest human consequence of climate change. The creative work presented here moves on from often didactic climate-art approaches from a decade ago without ducking strong critiques, and harnesses fresh perspectives from migrants and global voices.

Artists and activists at all levels from internationally acclaimed to local and emerging, and from countries including Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Iran, Brazil and Australia are involved in this exhibition exploring climate migration. Footprint Modulation culminates in a fantastic weekend of public performance, film screenings and discussions involving artists, activists, performers, community members and researchers, and which dovetails neatly into the final conference at Durham University.

Artistic director, curation and project management – Kooj (Kuljit Chuhan) of Metaceptive Projects and Media.
Collaborative research partner and conference chair – Dr Andrew Baldwin, Geography Dept, Durham University.
Artistic producer and transmedia consultant – Maya Chowdhry.

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Maria Benevides on Eco-Brazil, Chico Mendes, Forests and Water: live link confirmed

Maria Benevides on Eco-Brazil, Chico Mendes, Forests and Water

Maria Benevides

The exhibition opening for ‘Chamada From Chico Mendes’ will talk using live video with Maria Benevides on Eco-Brazil, Chico Mendes, Forests and Water on Saturday 28th February 2015 at Global Grooves Arts Centre (MAP).  This will bring some of the realities that people in Brazil are currently facing direct to the audience at the event, where the audience will be able to ask questions chaired by the poet Sai Murray who has worked for some years on issues of climate justice and is the MC for the event.

Chico Mendes, Forests and Water – the context for a digital art work

‘Chamada From Chico Mendes’ is a digital art work by Kooj Chuhan made up of art and documentary video, imagery, poetry and sound from across the world – full details at www.metaceptive.net/chamada . Visitors encounter a range of objects which they can play like instruments, which then spark off visuals, music and words from guest artists, film-makers and environmental activists.  Kooj describes it as an “exhibition within an installation” because of the wide range of material that the audience can view and interact with.

Its starting point is the powerful story of Chico Mendes, who was a Brazilian rubber tapper, trade union leader and environmentalist committed to protecting the Amazon’s ecosystem. He had opposition from industrialists and corrupt government officials, was jailed, fined and threatened, and just over 25 years ago he was eventually murdered but has now become a national hero in Brazil.  “Chamada” means a ‘call to all’ in Portuguese, and the exhibition is about other voices contributing their parallel experience to that of Chico Mendes.

During the evening event, which includes live performance, guided tour, poetry and food, Maria will talk to us live from Brazil and will discuss:

– What are the important issues for climate change in Brazil?
– How is Chico Mendes is understood in Brazil?
– What influence did he have?
– Which other people are doing that kind of work now?
– What are the difficulties right now for people doing this kind of work?
– How serious are the water shortages and what are the future issues that they raise?

If you can’t make it to the event, maybe because you are too far away, the event will be webcast live at 7.30pm GMT (UK time).  You will be able to watch it on ANY device that can play a YouTube video, and you will be able to type in any comments or questions live during the event.  The web address for the webcast is: http://metaceptive.net/chamada/live-webcast/ or directly from this YouTube page https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRjDjx-TjE0 .

About Maria Benevides:

Maria Benevides is a Brazilian journalist working for NGOs, research institutions and think thanks on media relations and content production related to environmental issues. She has previously worked as a producer for the BBC World Service and the BBC Media Action in London.  She also acted as a UNHCR spokesperson in Angola, UNDP’s press officer in Brazil, IRIN’s editor in South Africa and Head of Communications for the British Embassy in Brazil. Her continuing interests are in green economy, sustainable development, the Amazon forest and the people living there.

video - legacy of chico mendes

Videos about Chico Mendes and Wangari Maathai now online:

There is a great video about Chico Mendes as told by his close collaborator Marcos Afonso now online:
http://metaceptive.net/chamada/chico-mendes/
. This is accompanied by an excellent article ‘Martyr of the Amazon: The legacy of Chico Mendes’ by Kate Evans / CIFOR, well worth the read.  “At first I thought I was fighting to save the rubber trees; then I thought I was fighting to save the Amazon rainforest.  Now I realise I am fighting for humanity,” Mendes famously said.

Also now online is a trailer for the film ‘Taking Root’ about Wangari Maathai, the activist who went on to become the first environmentalist and also the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize (2004): watch it at http://metaceptive.net/chamada/register-to-attend/#taking-root .Taking-Root-Signature-image

The Forest Code Observatory

http://www.observatorioflorestal.org.br – Forest Code Observatory: This is a network of NGOs and institutions that joined to monitor the implementation of the new Brazilian Forest Code and Quartzo (Maria Benevides’ own company) has created and has been managing the contents of the website and social media since it was founded, two and a half years ago. Maria’s talk will touch on the work of this network.

Guest artists, film-makers and activists

This exhibition and project involves a range of contributions from across the globe. They include Sarawut Chutiwongpeti (Thailand), Badrul Alam and Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Heiko Thiele and Zwischenzeit e.V. (Germany), Marcella Haddad (Brazil), Shaikh Mohir Uddin & Rural Visual Journalism Network at Drik  (Bangladesh), Fuyumi Labre Lopez (Uruguay/Spain), Milda Lembertaite / Amelia Prazak (Lithuania/Switzerland), Victor Steffensen and the Living Knowledge Place (Australia), Nigel Hulett (Zimbabwe), Ali Pretty and Kinetika (UK), Marian Osman (Somalia) with ‘Democracy Now!’ (USA),  Maya Chowdhry (UK), Julia Davenport (UK), Jose Ignacio Lopez Ramirez-Gaston (Peru/Spain).  Selected media from these contributors will be watchable on extra screens in the exhibition.  Percussion loops produced by 17 young musicians from the Future Leaders carnival arts training programme by Global Grooves.  READ MORE ABOUT THE GUEST ARTISTS

Digital Art, Carnival, Environmental Activism and Documentary

‘CHAMADA FROM CHICO MENDES’

Digital Art meets Afro-Brazilian carnivalCHAMADA FROM CHICO MENDES combines Digital Art, Afro-Brazilian Carnival, Environmental Activism. Installation art by Kooj Chuhan.

Interactive Digital Carnival Installation by artist Kooj Chuhan, inspired by environmental activism stories from across the world – including Chico Mendes.
SPECIAL OPENING EVENTS SAT 28th FEB incl. Film Screening, discussion, Multimedia Music Performance, live Brazil link, interviews, poetry and free food! Full details: http://metaceptive.net/chamada/

at Global Grooves Centre until 21st March. 10 mins walk from Mossley station – just 20 mins train from Manchester, only £4 off-peak day return ticket! (MAP)

– 4pm: Film “TAKING ROOT: WANGARI MAATHAI” + discussion.

– 7pm: LIVE PERFORMANCE by Kooj/Holly/Leon, guided tour, poetry by Sai Murray, live link with Brazil environmentalists + Free Food!

FREE TICKETS at: https://chamada-from-chico-mendes.eventbrite.co.uk/

MORE DETAILS

A digital art work inspired by Brazilian activist Chico Mendes, made up of voices, imagery and sound from across the world. Visitors encounter a range of objects which they can play like instruments, which then spark off videos, music and poetry from guest artists, documentary filmmakers and environmental activists.  A pioneering attempt to combine Digital Art, Carnival, Environmental Activism and Documentary.

Wangari-Maathai-Taking-Root-Signature-image– 4pm-6pm: Film Screening “TAKING ROOT: THE VISION OF WANGARI MAATHAI” the activist who went on to become the first environmentalist and also the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize (2004). Plus talk by Kooj exploring Climate Justice, incl. discussion chaired by poet-activist Sai Murray.

– 7pm: LIVE MULTIMEDIA – MUSIC PERFORMANCE, presented by poet Sai Murray plus guided tour of the installation and a live link with Brazilian environmentalists. Free food included!

– LIVE WEBCAST – if you can’t make the evening, watch the performance, interviews, Brazil link and Poetry online! Simply tune in from 7.30pm at:  http://metaceptive.net/chamada/live-webcast/

GG-drummingTHIS EVENT IS FREE, BUT ONLINE BOOKING IS STRONGLY ADVISED. REGISTER AT:
http://metaceptive.net/chamada/register-to-attend/

READ MORE ABOUT CHICO MENDES at http://metaceptive.net/chamada/chico-mendes/

GUEST ARTISTS: Kooj Chuhan invited artists and activists from across the world for media contributions to create a composite work from each person’s own parallel to Chico’s story, creating an ‘exhibition within an installation’ with Afro-Brazilian layers.
READ MORE ABOUT THE GUEST ARTISTS at http://metaceptive.net/chamada/guest-artists-and-activists/

Map for Global Grooves Arts Centre

Map for Global Grooves Arts Centre

Venue and Location: Global Grooves Arts Centre
Vale Mill, Micklehurst Road, Mossley, Ashton-under-Lyne OL5 9JL.
10 mins walk from Mossley train station.  Walk all the way up Micklehurst Road, find the mill via the last turning on the right before the end of the road.
Just 20 mins by train from Manchester Victoria station, costs only £4 for an off-peak day return ticket!

A project by Metaceptive Projects and Media in partnership with Global Grooves
www.metaceptive.net
www.globalgrooves.org

chamada-logoBannerOnWhite

‘Doh Mix Meh Up’ Diaspora Art incl. Buy This v3 by Kooj Chuhan

On 1st Nov, ‘Doh Mix Meh Up’ Diaspora Art event and exhibition in Oxford explored Diaspora and Identity in Art, great work and a provocative panel discussion involving Dr Jennifer Langer, Sharelly Emanuelson, Dr Hélène Neveu Kringelbach, Sunil Shah and chaired by Alpha Abebe.  I especially felt Kringelbach’s presentation developed very well both the strength and difficulties of the diaspora role in relation to a post-colonial framework.

'Doh Mix Meh Up' Diaspora Art Oxford 1st Nov 2014 'Doh Mix Meh Up' Diaspora Art Oxford 1st Nov 2014

Featured artists include: Pablo & Roxana Allison, Raymond Antrobus, Phoebe Boswell, Rosa Couloute, Scarlett Crawford, David Creedon, Afra Dekie, Sharelly Emanuelson, JJ Bola, Justice in Motion, Belinda Kazeem-Kaminski, Lynette Letic, Caroline Molloy, Melissa Tandiwe Myambo, Miyuki Okuyama, Kajal Nisha Patel, Sharon Paz, Mikaela Toczek, Kooj Chuhan/Virtual Migrants and Clare Walter.

Curated by: Sunil Shah.

‘Doh Mix Meh Up’ is a one-day international art exhibition and performance programme featuring artists and artworks selected from an open call entitled ‘Exploring Diaspora through the Arts’. The event brings together artist works, photography, film, spoken word poetry, theatre and a panel discussion as a way of exploring the varied and multifaceted experiences of those around the world who have moved from home to make a new life elsewhere.

Diasporas exist globally and include people with layered and diverse experiences. Art provides a means to express these complexities and creates a platform for alternative narratives, which often challenge existing power structures. Art also invites the viewer to engage with these narratives at a personal level and interpret the subject for themselves. The range of media and creative approaches on show here are as diverse as the people and stories being told.

Buy This v3 video art installation a part of ‘Doh Mix Meh Up’ Diaspora Art

Of course, the exhibition included a presentation of video art by me, Kooj Chuhan / Virtual Migrants, titled “Buy This (v3)” on race-migration-climate issues which is itself detailed at this page: http://metaceptive.net/buy-this-v3-video-installation-art :

Buy This v3 video art by Kooj Chuhan at 'Doh Mix Meh Up' Diaspora Art Oxford 1st Nov 2014

 

Doh Mix Meh Up exhibition in Oxford presents video art by Kooj Chuhan

This weekend on 1st Nov 2014 the ‘Doh Mix Meh Up’ Exhibition in Oxford presents video art by Kooj Chuhan / Virtual Migrants, titled “Buy This (v3)” on race-migration-climate issues which is itself detailed at this page: http://metaceptive.net/buy-this-v3-video-installation-art .

The ‘Doh Mix Meh Up’ exhibition

Doh Mix Meh Up exhibition in Oxford presents video art by Kooj Chuhan

More info:

‘Doh Mix Meh Up’ – Diaspora and Identity in Art

https://www.facebook.com/events/649558785140456

A free one-day exhibition and performance programme exploring the role of the arts in understanding, expressing and experiencing diaspora.

1st November 2014, 3pm – 10pm

Panel Discussion:
‘Exploring Diaspora through the Arts’, 6pm

 Drinks reception, 7pm

Venue:
Old Fire Station,
40 George St, Oxford, OX1 2AQ

Featured artists: Pablo & Roxana Allison, Raymond Antrobus, Phoebe Boswell, Rosa Couloute, Scarlett Crawford, David Creedon, Afra Dekie, Sharelly Emanuelson, JJ Bola, Justice in Motion, Belinda Kazeem-Kaminski, Lynette Letic, Caroline Molloy, Melissa Tandiwe Myambo, Miyuki Okuyama, Kajal Nisha Patel, Sharon Paz, Mikaela Toczek, Kooj Chuhan/Virtual Migrants and Clare Walter.

Curated by: Sunil Shah.

‘Doh Mix Meh Up’ is a one-day international art exhibition and performance programme featuring artists and artworks selected from an open call entitled ‘Exploring Diaspora through the Arts’. The event brings together artist works, photography, film, spoken word poetry, theatre and a panel discussion as a way of exploring the varied and multifaceted experiences of those around the world who have moved from home to make a new life elsewhere.

Diasporas exist globally and include people with layered and diverse experiences. Art provides a means to express these complexities and creates a platform for alternative narratives, which often challenge existing power structures. Art also invites the viewer to engage with these narratives at a personal level and interpret the subject for themselves. The range of media and creative approaches on show here are as diverse as the people and stories being told.

‘Doh Mix Meh Up’ is delivered by the Oxford Diasporas Programme with support from Old Fire Station Arts.
The exhibition is curated by artist and curator, Sunil Shah.
It is supported by the Oxford Diasporas Programme and hosted by The Old Fire Station, aims to bring together artists, scholars, students and the general public to explore aesthetic manifestations and representations of diasporas, and reflect on what the arts contribute to diaspora studies. It also seeks to provide a platform for established and newly emerging artists to share, showcase, and sell their work.

The three winning entries for the ODP Photography Competition will also be displayed at this event.

Interactive Digital Carnival Installation – a call to filmmakers, artists, poets, environmental activists

[ see the updated info on this project at www.metaceptive.net/chamada ]

Connecting with environmental activism and climate justice, to be created by artist Kooj Chuhan, ‘Chamada From Chico Mendes’ will be driven by an open call for contributions of video, images, poetry, sounds, and anything that could work with the theme.

ChamadaFromChicoMendes_v1crop_800x250To view the OPEN CALL – please click HERE .  DEADLINE EXTENDED: Please contact us by October 31st 2014 to express your interest.

The artist Kooj Chuhan (UK / India) is creating an interactive digital carnival installation connecting Brazilian environmentalist Chico Mendes with environmental justice issues across the world. It will be made from audio and visual material from many people and it will use interactive objects and projections that visitors can actually ‘play’ like percussion.

The digital art exhibition will take place February 28th – March 21st 2015 at a new Carnival Arts Centre in Manchester (UK), run by Global Grooves.  We then intend to tour this installation to different galleries, exhibition venues and also public places including at carnival events.

What is the installation about?

The exhibition’s starting point is the powerful story of Chico Mendes, who was a Brazilian rubber tapper, trade union leader and environmentalist committed to protecting the Amazon’s ecosystem. He had opposition from industrialists and corrupt government officials, was jailed, fined and threatened, and just over 25 years ago he was eventually murdered but has now become a national hero in Brazil.

There is so much around us to do with our environment, how we consume things, how people try and change things, and how big businesses get in the way. Chico’s story is universal, so the installation wants to show material from different people about other ways that these kinds of things happen in different parts of the world. We are especially interested in indigenous rights and issues for poorer communities.  The exhibition will be called “Chamada From Chico Mendes” (“Chamada” means “a call to all” in Portuguese).

This is a video art project that links carnival vibes with environmental campaigns, driven by people and groups from different places.  Read more about Chico Mendes: www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/20/brazil-salutes-chico-mendes-25-years-after-murder .

There will be posts about this work on the blog as the project develops, and there is an Open Call to any Film-makers or Video Artists, or anyone with images or footage to contribute, at www.metaceptive.net/chamada-open-call .  The way to contact us about the project if you are interested to get involved is via the form at www.metaceptive.net/chamada-contact .

There is also a special invitation to members of the Future Leaders carnival arts training programme by Global Grooves, who can use the same contact form above.

A project by Kooj Chuhan & Metaceptive in partnership with Global Grooves, with support from Arts Council of England and Youth Music.

ACE logo    Youth_Music_logo
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Buy This (v3) by Kooj Chuhan – video installation art 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.  We now have this video installation art 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.

Buy This (v3)  by Kooj Chuhan - video installation art archived by VtapeThe 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.