“ R E S O N A N C E ”
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 previous 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.
Resonance – Oldham’s migrant experience is 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).