Thursday, 4 August 2011

Immigration, asylum seekers, refugees,... getting political!

Hello all,

I have lots of hobbies and interests and love talking about silly and superficial things, like things I cook, clothes I buy or bags I make. However I am a physical theatre performer and I am constantly looking for ideas, observing and listening to people and their views on things that are important to us all - how do we treat a fellow human being? I know this is a little broad, but concepts like sexuality, gender, immigration, feminism might give you a clue into my work.

I am currently doing research on a piece about immigration, refugees and asylum seekers, mainly in the UK, although, we'll see where the research takes me as it might spread to the rest of the world. For now, I am keeping it open in all respects; it might be a performer's piece, it might be an installation piece, it might concern a particular type of immigration, anything goes. This is actually an exciting part of of the process when I can dream as big as I want to and allow any idea to be a part of the creative process.

So, here is something that has got me thinking and that has touched me very much today. It is an installation piece in the South Bank, London.

The original 1951 Lion and Unicorn Pavilion at the South Bank Exhibition aimed to describe the British character and way of life as well as pointing out their contradictions. The lion of the title represented bravery and courage while the unicorn represented imagination and independence. At the heart of the installation was a sculpture of a flight of ceramic birds, symbolising migration and freedom of speech.

 In today's installation piece artist Gita Gschwendtner worked with 50 young refugees, whose poems - written and spoken - reinterpret the original themes of strength and imagination. A flock of white birds – or aeroplanes? – fly down the outdoor corridor linking Waterloo Station with Hungerford Bridge and comes to rest next to Royal Festival Hall.

Here are some of the pictures I took today:

The installation is not silent. As it is by the river, it is always windy, and the papers, poems and the wind make strange and beautiful music together. Harsh sounds are mixed with the voices of the young refugees reciting their poems. Some are in English, some in their own mother tongues, some are singing songs (click to enlarge the picture and see the poems properly):

If you have a minute, it would be wonderful if you could write what you think when you hear a word immigrant. You don't need to write more than a word if you don't feel like it. Or it might be a picture, a sound, an object? Anything you have is more than welcome. I promise I will not use it in the final piece; it will only inform my research and creative process.
However, if you rather abstain from commenting on the subject, that is OK too.
Also, if you are in London or passing through, the exhibit will be on till 4th September 2011. I strongly recommend it.

Sorry for the long post, but I have so many ideas going through my head at the moment and I just can't seem to edit well.

I think I will finish with questions by the wonderful Judith Butler:

"The question that preoccupies me in the light of recent global violence is, Who counts as human? Whose lives count as lives? And finally, What makes for a grievable life?"
Judith Butler, Precarious Life

See you all soon and thank you for stopping by.

Red xx


Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

We strongly support the concept of 'one world' and have an antipathy to anything which divides or separates one group of people from another, one nation from another. In saying this, we deplore the policies of the government of the United Kingdom which seeks to impose further rstrictions on those wishing to enter the country.

The exhibition looks to be most interesting; possibly we may have the opportunity to see it when we are in London.

Boye By Red said...

Thank you Jane and Lance, this is very helpful and as you've probably guessed from my post, i share your views.
Thank you again.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Boye By Red, no chance I was just standing by taking photos of the tree coming down. I moved all the cut wood to the other side of the garden and stacked it myself!! They would have stacked close to the tree but I wanted it at the other end of the garden!! Diane

Anonymous said...

Thanks for making me aware of the exhibition. Immigration is just one aspect of migration. In many cases, not all, migration is a symptom of inequality and injustice. Where immigration is problematic, and in spite of the positive benefits that immigration brings the host community it can often have undesirable consequences as well, again it is very often the accompanying symptoms of inequality and injustice that are the fundamental issue. As long as we fail to deal with the sources of our problems we will inevitably have to deal with their symptoms.

Boye By Red said...

Hello Owen, thank you for stopping by and for leaving your comment. I will certainly take into consideration what you said regarding immigration.

All the best