Durham Art Gallery

Kooj Chuhan 'CHAMADA FROM CHICO MENDES' at Durham Art Gallery

Chamada From Chico Mendes interactive digital art installation at Durham Art Gallery


by Kooj Chuhan

Interactive digital art meets Afro-Brazilian carnival inspired by environmental activism stories from across the world – including Chico Mendes.

This interactive piece brings together art and documentary video, imagery, poetry and sound from across the world to connect with climate justice and the underlying social roots of carnival in Brazil. A large mask containing visuals, music and words from guest artists, film-makers and environmental activists confronts you, representing a world of active change. Encounter six objects which you can play like percussion to make the large mask imagery pulsate and respond to your rhythms, the world needs your active participation.


Chico_Mendes_1988_CC - taken by Miranda Smith in Xapuri_s

Chico_Mendes in 1988 – taken by Miranda Smith in Xapuri

The exhibition’s starting point is the powerful story of Chico Mendes, who was a Brazilian rubber tapper, trade union leader and environmentalist committed to protecting the Amazon’s ecosystem. He had opposition from industrialists and corrupt government officials, was jailed, fined and threatened, and in 1988 he was eventually murdered but has now become a national hero in Brazil. “Chamada” means “a call to all” in Portuguese, here signifying a call to other voices to share their experience. The installation is an expression of multiple responses and parallels to Chico’s story.

“What these images reveal is the deep need to pluralise how we understand climate change.  Politicising climate change means grappling with its multiplicity.” Dr Andrew Baldwin, Geography Dept, Durham University.

GUEST ARTISTS: Kooj Chuhan invited artists and activists spanning the globe for media contributions to create a composite work from other parallel to Chico’s story, creating an ‘exhibition within an installation’. The artists, film-makers and activists contributing their work for this exhibition include Sarawut Chutiwongpeti (Thailand), Badrul Alam and Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Heiko Thiele and Zwischenzeit e.V. (Germany), Marcella Haddad (Brazil), Shaikh Mohir Uddin & Rural Visual Journalism Network at Drik (Bangladesh), Fuyumi Labre Lopez (Uruguay/Spain), Milda Lembertaite / Amelia Prazak (Lithuania/Switzerland), Victor Steffensen and the Living Knowledge Place (Australia), Nigel Hulett (Zimbabwe), Ali Pretty and Kinetika (UK), Marian Osman (Somalia) with ‘Democracy Now!’ (USA), Maya Chowdhry (UK), Julia Davenport (UK), Jose Ignacio Lopez Ramirez-Gaston (Peru/Spain).

Victor Steffensen 'YOUR CLIMATE CHANGE STORIES' australiaIndigenous-still01_from KChuhan-CHAMADA

Still image from ‘Your Climate Change Stories’ video by the indigenous Australian film-maker Victor Steffensen, one of the contributing artists whose work plays within the Chamada installation.

Selected media from these contributors are watchable on extra screens in the exhibition. Percussion loops produced by 17 young musicians from the Future Leaders carnival arts training programme by Global Grooves.

Full details about this project and work at www.metaceptive.net/chamada

Details of the artists and activists involved from across the world in this project can be found at:

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Presented as a part of the city-wide Footprint Modulation exhibition by Metaceptive Projects and Media, in partnership with the international conference ‘Human Migration and the Environment: Futures, Politics and Invention’ at Durham University 28th June – 1st July 2015 www.durhamconference.eu

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