12.10.17 - 2017-10-31

Exile and Other Syndromes

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I samarbeid med Screen City biennalen presenterer Rogaland Kunstsenter en audio-visuell installasjon av kunstneren Budhaditya Chattopadhyay. 

“In our current era of pervasive mobility, migration and (dis)connectivity, perceptions constantly shift between cities and across urban sites to form unsettled geographies. This relates to how, as an increasingly migratory being, a wandering urban dweller of today’s post-global cities is sensitive to environmental sounds. They navigate through various alienating and dehumanizing hybrid post-industrial urban spaces, relating to these situations through contemplation, mindfulness and contingent processes prompted by an enhanced sense of mobility. In this contemporary condition boundaries between the digital and the corporeal, between local and the global, and between private and enhanced access and freedom of the public domain are blurred. Exile and Other Syndromes intends to examine these contemporary realities, manifesting them in an augmented environment that incorporates multi-channel sound diffusion and visualization of field recordings in modulated text. The work responds to this indisposition of migration, mobility, placeless-ness and nomadism, helping the nomadic subject emerge as an elevated and emancipated self through a combined auditory and visual experience.”

Developed with the support from Institut für Elektronische Musik und Akustik – IEM, Kunstuniversität Graz.

Budhaditya Chattopadhyay is an Indian-born artist, researcher, writer and theorist. Chattopadhyay works with sound as his primary medium, often dealing with contemporary issues such as human intervention in the environment, urbanity and exile. Conceptually, Chattopadhyay’s work questions the materiality, site-specificity and object-hood of sound, and addresses the aspects of contingency, contemplation, mindfulness and transcendence inherent in listening. His artistic practice intends to shift the emphasis from object to situation, and from immersion to discourse in the realm of sound. Chattopadhyay has graduated from India’s national film school specializing in sound, completed a Master of Arts degree in new media/sound art at Aarhus University, and received a PhD in sound studies from Leiden University.

 

Fra Screen Citys kuratortekst:

Migration is a condition of our contemporaneity, a symptom of the world’s interface today. The plight of thousands of migrants putting their lives in peril to cross the Mediterranean and other geo-political borders in the escape from war, terror and miserable living conditions evokes the ways in which people, politics, history, ideas and personal narratives today migrate to new locations and dislocations, revealing the urgencies of elsewhere in our here and now. With Migrating Stories, the Screen City Moving Image Biennial takes contemporary conditions of movement as its thematic framework for examining the complex forms of transition in all its guises – from one place to another, from one state to another, from one memory to another, and from one perceptual state to another – as a general narrative to describe our human, cultural and communicative existence today. The Biennial presents expanded moving image artworks from a broad international range of artists dealing with current complexities relating to migration. Their works reflect deeply upon journeys, diasporas and post-colonialism, transformation of place, and ‘alien’ realities.

We have recently witnessed, as a symptom emerging from roughly twenty years of globalisation, that parts of the world have been closing in on themselves while cultivating nostalgic perceptions of history and cultural origin. As the connectivity of the world’s economies and cultures grew in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the interchange of world views, ideas and cultures strengthened a sense of a global ‘we’, which, with the evolution of the Internet, became connected in a global ‘now’. In Europe, progressive visions of a region without borders facilitated optimism and an identification with migration and free movement in younger generations, while the pressure from citizens frustrated with work migration, right-wing sympathisers and older generations fearful of the insecurities of a globalised world – alongside increasing refugee migration from the Middle East in particular – has recently led to a need for a redefinition of borders. Brexit, walls, rising populism and support of far-right and nationalist parties challenge a crumbling European dream of migration as synonymous with openness, connectivity and exchange. The current climate of distrust and scepticism towards globalisation is inducing the collapse of dreams and the shuttering up of countries. The idea of migration is trapped in the gap between a vision of global co-existence and fear of the other.

The Biennial unfolds in the urban setting of Stavanger, a coastal city in Norway, which, situated outside of the European Union, has developed in a bubble of its own. Since 1969, when oil was first discovered in the North Sea, marking the beginning of what in Norway is commonly known as the ‘oil adventure’, the city of Stavanger has passed through the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s on a wave of wealth, barely affected by the global financial crisis of 2007-2008. However, this bubble of affluence, more or less disconnected from the world, burst with the oil crisis of 2015-2016, with thousands of people losing their jobs. This caused a paradigm shift in the city’s relationship with the world. While Stavanger’s current state of transition departs from stories migrating from a financially glorious recent past, it crystallises with stories migrating from new technological narratives, new openings to international relations, and newcomers arriving from (or, arriving to) ‘alien realities.’ The still-raw wound of the oil crisis requires a reconceptualisation of Stavanger’s local identity and for new visions to replace the old. These include visions of the city as ‘smart’, visions of new business adventures in a recently emerging start-up community and creative industries, and visions of relations to the outside world in search of a new industrial-financial identity and new connections to the global ‘we’. The Biennial’s thematic approach focuses on these migrating stories in relation to migrating stories from the world.

The 2017 Biennial extends the thematic concerns of the Screen City Festival 2015, Labour and The City In-between, in light of a European post-industrial climate focused on labour migration as this relates to Stavanger’s state of change with regard to industrial, architectural and social spaces and an unstable economic future. The 2017 Biennial brings these concerns to a global perspective in lieu of the recent redefinition of geographies, borders and identity in relation to space and belonging. The 2017 Biennial takes the harbour of Stavanger as the historical, site-contextual and conceptual point of departure, presenting artworks along a route from Stavanger’s west end through the city harbour to its eastern district. The Stavanger harbour was the physical point of departure for Norwegian immigration to America in the latter half of the nineteenth century and the first few decades of the twentieth century, for the journey of workers to Stavanger’s offshore oil platforms, and for tourists, migrants and newcomers arriving in Stavanger today. The North Sea simultaneously symbolises a horizon of dreams of better lives and new adventures elsewhere, of an essential relationship with natural resources and the rise and fall of wealth and security, as well as symbolising international connectivity and a new cultural expansion of the city and the collective mind.