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Buy This (v3)
by artist Kooj (Kuljit) Chuhan, 2012, a part of an ongoing exploration by Virtual Migrants artists’ group
Year of completion: 2012
Country of production: UK
Running time: 6 mins 20 secs
Refugees and ‘third-world’ migrants bring intimate and undervalued knowledge about climate change. ‘Buy This’ juxtaposes such voices with complementary poetry and journalistic photography on one screen against another, over-saturated with colliding imagery of wars, colonial struggles, environmental upheaval and UK racism, overlaid with scrolling news messages. The abrupt cuts in this montage follow an almost nerve-wrenching yet steady pace of a never-resolving set of colliding narrative fragments. An exploration of how environmental change is integral to the economic and political forces bringing about human displacement and racial inequality.
Many refugees have personal observations from their originating countries able to testify to environmental change. In this work, local refugees express first-hand observations in collaboration with scientists and social scientists to discuss their data, a window from which to appreciate changing conditions in other countries. It raises discussion about the global connections between race and climate, and how they may impact on issues such as asylum in Europe and the West.
The media-saturated culture which we in the western world inhabit is a facet of a wider approach to (over-) consumption which has become the norm, and which is fundamental to ideas of maximising economic growth with the resultant process of murdering the planet’s resources. The arts, media and cultural sectors are largely complicit in nurturing false illusions and political amnesia, this ‘soft’ consumption of particular cultural and aesthetic meanings actually forms our ways of thinking, seals our disconnections; this video work taunts the viewer to Buy This.
Stills from the video:
digital media artists and productions responding to themes of race, migration and globalisation