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2009 represents a new phase of activity, linking environmental change with race, globalisation and displacement - the beginning of "The Centre Cannot Hold" project.
In 2008, we had to focus of spreading word and distribution of the Exhale publication, which is quite some work on an unfunded basis, plus we have been 'taking stock' and discussing future potentials and directions, and generally focusing on feeding ourselves. However, we were pleased to have also organised the following event to a packed house:
Later in 2007, the Passenger performance took on a low-budget 'suitcase' format this time entitled "ReRoute" at the Creolising Europe conference http://www.llc.manchester.ac.uk/research/centres/mdcsn/conferences/programme/Fileuploadmax10Mb,118409,en.pdf where Kooj and Aidan also delivered a presentation and discussion contextualising virtual migrants' work.
In 2007, a key event was exhibiting and performing at the 'Global Eyes' art exhibition at SIGGRAPH in San Diego, a report on the performance-installation can be found at http://reports.siggraph.org/s2007/venue-articles/art-gallery-digital-performances/
Earlier in 2007 were some launches of the
Late in 2006 were Exhale "early"
At ISEA 2006 in San Jose, Kooj also presented his theoretical approach to cultural and aesthetic processes within the "What If I'm Not Real" project, though a 'poster' presentation and discussion entitled "From A Handful Of Seeds" - http://2006.01sj.org/content/view/574/145/ .
Earlier in 2006, virtual migrants work was presented by Kooj at a prestigious European Conference entitled ICT for an Inclusive Society in Riga, Latvia 11-13 June http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/events/ict_riga_2006/conference/presentations/index_en.htm. This was a part of Kooj presenting and discussing cultural diversity in new media, his presentation entitled "Representation, Identity and Self determination within Artistic and Creative Uses of Digital Media.". While there, Kooj also made a connection with local digital arts group Rix-C, meeting up with Raitis who runs the outfit - www.rixc.lv .
After Terminal Frontiers launched in late 2002, we spent the next year busy in organisational and capacity development and forming networks and links. The tour of Terminal frontiers emerged from this. Below is a summary of our activities during 2003.
virtual migrants activity during 2003
New Borders (completed March 2003)
An experimental collaboration using digital art and a range of art forms that explored poetic narratives of exile and identity. This project was awarded grants from the Gulbenkian Foundation and North West Arts Board, which funded the following activities:
§ Enabled six North West based artists to discuss, engage with and respond to the work by Keith Piper, Shirin Neshat and John Berger, within the framework of migration, asylum, refuge and exile.
§ Commissioned new collaborative production by all six artists.
§ Commissioned Keith Piper to produce new artwork.
§ Commissioned four musicians to conduct live performances including new compositions, which directly interacted with the exhibition.
New Audiences Research (completed April 2003)
Examined the ways in which audiences made up of asylum seekers and their allies accessed work shown in galleries and tested a particular approach to developing audiences using a portable, travelling, community-based installation shown at multiple sites outside the gallery. This project was awarded a grant from North West Arts Board, New Audiences.
'We Are Here Because You Were There'
(Production and initial marketing completed June 2003; marketing strategy phase ongoing)
An educational CD-ROM aimed at students was created to address issues of asylum and immigration. This was also used as a marketing tool to promote virtual migrants at conferences, presentations and events. The marketing strategy for this project, involved researching contact database of 550 educational advisors. A leaflet was produced to promote the educational CD-ROM and was widely distributed in the UK. This project was originally part-funded by Banner Theatre (Birmingham), and has since been undertaken in a voluntary and self-funded manner by Aidan and Kooj for virtual migrants, and with the distribution supported by the recent recruitment of Marilyn Cuffy.
Decibel awarded funds in March 2003, which funded the following activities:
§ Researching and expanding virtual migrants touring base.
§ Developing a marketing strategy and the development of future plans.
§ Improving networks and developing proposals with other organisations. Successful networks established include:
- The Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Archive and Refugee Action - who are now commencing with a refugee history arts project. virtual migrants supported them during the set up this project, and may continue involvement once project parameters have been planned.
- Manchester Refugee Support Network – virtual migrants attended the ‘Arts and Refugees Seminar’ organised by the Manchester University Applied Theatre Department in July 2003, and once again participated in the Refugee Cultural Festival during Refugee Week with cd-rom display and video contributions.
- Arte Digital Rosario International Festival - a version of Terminal Frontiers was sent to Argentina to be exhibited as part of the festival, but due to custom delays, it will now show as part of Arte Digital 2004 Muestra 01.
- Jubilee Arts “c/PLEX Project”, West Bromwich – virtual migrants have had initial discussions to explore future joint projects and exchange.
§ virtual migrants have been consulted by organisations on possible project development, including: Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Archive and Refugee Action, the Manchester Refugee Support Network and Global Link.
§ virtual migrants gave presentations at the British Council Conference 'A Sense Of Place': Displacement and Integration: the role of the arts in reshaping societies and identities in Europe' (Nov 2003) and Kooj Chuhan was on the Plenary Panel. Terminal Frontiers was also exhibited at this conference.