MINI-CONFERENCE World War I’s Hidden Voices and Poppy Retake exhibition

World War I’s Hidden Voices MINI-CONFERENCE
Saturday 10th February 2018, 1pm – 4.30pm
at Manchester Central Library (First Floor), St Peter’s Square, Manchester M2 5PD, UK    Tel. +44 (0)161 234 1983

Registration is strongly advised and completely FREE at https://conferencehiddenvoicesww1.eventbrite.co.uk

India, Africa, the West Indies, colonialism and recruitment, the impacts of war and our ongoing culture of war explored in a free afternoon conference.

Saturday 10th February 2018, 1pm – 4.30pm
at Manchester Central Library (First Floor), St Peter’s Square, Manchester M2 5PD, UK Tel. +44 (0)161 234 1983

This mini conference is a part of the ‘WWI’s Hidden Voices’ exhibition offering an afternoon of presentations and discussions offering the most critical perspectives on World War I in any current public forum. The speakers will expose the full extent of involvement from the British colonies in World War I, the impact the war had on those regions, its legacy for those countries and cultural representation of the war. Sessions include:

The West Indies join the War by Washington Alcott
Women’s Perspectives from East Africa by Susan Chieni Cookson
Cultural Representation of World War One and other wars by Kooj Chuhan
Teaching Hidden Histories in Schools by Dipali Das
Community Research from a ‘Southern’ Perspective by Southern Voices Continue reading

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

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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’. Continue reading

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 – incl. Sarojini Naidu

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 from India in 1915 was read by Afshan and is reproduced here: Continue reading

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? Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

“Nana Bonsu” Oral History – new website by Kooj / Metaceptive Media now live

NanaBonsuWebsiteHomePageKooj at Metaceptive Media was commissioned by First Cut to design and build the website for the HLF-funded ‘Nana Bonsu Oral History Project‘, which he has been working on for over 6 months beginning with a short training course he delivered in autumn 2013.  Finally, the website has now gone live and will be officially launched at a vibrant event at Manchester’s Z-Arts on Saturday 21st June 2014.

Nana Bonsu, also known as Beresford ‘Berry’ Edwards, was of huge importance to Britain’s African community, especially in Manchester which became his home. This oral history project highlights his role in initiatives such as the Campaign Against Racial Discrimination, trade unions, social justice and equal opportunities. Nana’s work, committment and contribution is now nationally recognised by his inclusion in the list of 100 Great Black Britons.

Full details about the project and the event this Saturday are available from the website itself (of course!), at www.nanabonsu.com – please leave some comments on the site if you visit it, or send Kooj a message if you like.

Short film “No Trace” starring the late great Brian Morgan, now on YouTube

Brian’s very recent and terribly tragic death is a loss to so many of us, he was a remarkable man and actor – probably the best I have worked with.  I have now put the short film I directed, written by Peter Kalu and of course starring Brian Morgan, on to YouTube so its hopefully easier to find.  (Up until now its only been on Vimeo).  Here it is, hopefully a fitting tribute:

No Trace

A short drama film which explores the abuse and haunting of the city, the daily struggle to maintain a shred of integrity amidst the pathetic cycles of people who need to run away and cover their tracks as the only way they can gain some control over their future.

These cycles are a mirror for Darryl Johnson, a black low-life private detective forever haunted by his previous abuse when in the army. He is addicted to his job specialising in finding other people’s children who have run away from home to escape their own hidden and secretive problems that threaten to engulf them. These sordid cases overlap with his own past, in a city where he is always painfully aware of the back-street disposability of all the characters he engages with. But there’s this case about a girl called Emma that gets to him, just one case too many, or maybe he just can’t hide from himself any longer… Continue reading