The Centre Cannot Hold is a project by Virtual Migrants, www.virtualmigrants.com .   Its aim is to critically explore Climate Imperialism and while it intends to be an ongoing project, the first part of this project is taking place in Bristol (UK) focusing on a cultural-artistic process and installation which is being presented at The Arnolfini gallery in October-November 2009.

Specifically, The Centre Cannot Hold discusses the ways in which Climate Change is a continuation of imperialist processes that have been active for a few hundred years.  Destruction of human beings along with their environment on a large scale is nothing new, and climate change is perhaps the most sanitised way in which ‘third’ economies will be decimated by the omnipresent culture of greed led by the first economies.

The project is led by artist and cultural producer Kooj Chuhan, along with Aidan Jolly (musician and sound artist), Jaya Graves (researcher and worker for Southern Voices), and Tracey Zengeni (associate artist).  The title “The Centre Cannot Hold” is a line taken from the poem “The Second Coming” by W. B. Yeats, a vociferously rich and dark critique of the modern world.  This same poem also inspired Chinua Achebe who used the preceding line “Things Fall Apart” as the title of his most acclaimed and landmark novel discussing colonialism in Nigeria.

Kooj (Kuljit) Chuhan has written a keynote discussion paper outlining the starting points for this investigative project, titled “Tolerating Mass Murder”, as originally presented/published at ISEA 2009 (Belfast, Northern Ireland).  This is available to read on this blog HERE .

Participate in the discussion, contribute your own dialogues, follow events and investigations on this blog.

The following text introduces the first stage of the project.

The Centre Cannot Hold  (part 1)

multimedia installation with live dialogues and music performances

by virtual migrants

Exploring hidden racial underpinnings of climate change alongside historical contexts to a future super-holocaust for ‘third’ economies, en route to predicting new and vastly heightened racisms and fear politics.  Compelling live and recorded local and global dialogues will change and evolve the work alongside colliding imagery and music.

The installation intends to create a cultural space with an aesthetic that frames and provokes dialogues using live and archive montage.  Audio and video material will respond to activities and events that occur and develop during the period of the exhibition, so that new material and narratives will be reflective of global events that will be current at any time a visitor engages with the work.

A primary aim is to encourage critical discussion and thought, and our challenge is to use cultural and aesthetic means to elevate this above the endemic indulgence in aesthetic form.  This work as presented at The Arnolfini links with the wider project which will also involve people and locations in Bristol outside the Arnolfini and will be ongoing after the end of this exhibition.  The project intends to gradually develop links across the UK and with other continents and countries.  This is simply “Part 1”, our first stage of an investigation which is too deep to complete in this short time frame, and of a subject too critically central to understanding both past and future to be entered lightly.

more information www.virtualmigrants.com

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