A single channel video installation, mini-DV colour and sound, transferred to DVD, 22 mins 22 secs looped
[Excerpt above: 4 minutes]
In January 2008 artists Susanne Bosch and Anthony Haughey together with film maker, Kevin Duffy invited eleven individuals to participate in the production of a dialogical video work. All of the group had recently migrated to Ireland (north and south) from countries including, Brazil, Nigeria, Somalia, Poland and The Czech Republic. The project generated a series of intersubjective encounters reflecting Nicholas Bourriaud’s notion of ‘relational aesthetics’. These encounters continued between the participants throughout the cultural production process and later, between the participants and audience when the video is presented in various public contexts.
The first stage of this piece was to create a dialogue between the participants. This was achieved by generating a blogsite and inviting each member of the group to respond to series of questions relating to the experience of being a newcomer living on the island of Ireland.
The questions and discursive exchanges can be read by visiting the blogsite. Using the blogsite as source material, each participant created a personal narrative which was later used to inform and generate a “conversation” performed in a communal setting, around a dinner table. The event was documented using digital video.
Emerging from the video, are a series of powerful and diverse multi-ethnic voices, a collective knowledge of personal experiences and stories of contemporary migration. Storytelling is a way of participating in the world, creating a sense of belonging and reasserting dignity and self-respect when one becomes uprooted and displaced. Anthropologist Michael Jackson emphasises this point further: ‘To reconstitute events in a story is no longer to live those events in passivity, but to actively rework them, both in dialogue with others and within one’s own imagination’ (2006: 15).
In the completed video, Progress ll, the audience is invited to engage with and extend the intersubjective process. The discussion inevitably turns towards how the guests have been received by the host country citizens. This is reminiscent of Derrida’s notion of hospitality. In order to be hospitable the receving community must be altruistic and open to the aporia, tout autre – every Other is infinitely Other, a seemingly impossible paradox, but nonetheless, the tensions within this aporia invoke the possibility of transformative action.