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MOMENTUM Worldwide

Sumugan Sivanesan: THE ANTICOLONIALS
(17.02.2012 - 26.02.2012)

          MOMENTUM Worldwide
          Rachel Rits-Volloch
          Kunstquartier Bethanien, Mariannenplatz 2
          10997 Berlin

Die Adresse der Ausstellung lautet:
 M O M E N T U M / Berlin
Kunstquartier Bethanien, Mariannenplatz 2
 10997 Berlin

Beschreibung der Ausstellung:
  Sumugan Sivanesan is an anti-disciplinary artist. Often working collaboratively, his practice is concerned with histories of anti-colonialism and transcultural exchange. He was invited through 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art to perform at MOMENTUM|Sydney (2010), with “Who’s Eating Gilberto Gil”, a performance-lecture using history, popular culture, art and music, invoking the tropes of cannibalism to discuss recent ideas about race, settler–colonialism and contemporary necropolitics. M O M E N T U M is proud to invite Sivanesan back with another performance-lecture on the topics which take his research-based practice around the world. The Anticolonials traces a thread of anti-colonial anti-politics through history and into the present, offering a patchwork reading from scraps of material culture and glimpses of contemporary mediated life. Itinerant artist Sumugan Sivanesan will present a performance-lecture developed whilst shifting between Sydney, London and Berlin. Sivanesan’s recent activities include: What’s Eating Gilberto Gil – a performance/lecture that proposes cannibalism as a strategy to counter neo–colonial violence, Jump Ship – an endurance/performance in collaboration with acclaimed tattoo artist WT Norbert that interrogates a history of South Asians at sea; Nice Dreams – a major installation with Gustavo Böke exploring what many regard to be the first act of terrorism in Australia; The Trouble with TJ – a series of installations, videos and text, marking 5 years since the death of aboriginal teenager TJ Hickey and the subsequent “Redfern Riots” ; a major installation at Cockatoo Island for the Biennale of Sydney, 2008 as part of theweathergroup_U; Gang 2008 – Australia/Indonesia cultural exchange. He is also active with media/art gang He has exhibited at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (Sydney 2010), MOMENTUM (Sydney 2010), Black and Blue Gallery (Sydney, 2009), Sydney Underground Film Festival (2009), OK Video Festival (Jakarta, Indonesia 2009), Filmer la musique (France 2009) Transit Lounge (Berlin/Australia, 2006 & 2008), Transmediale (Germany 2006), Videobrasil (Brasil 2005), Gang (Indonesia/Australia 2005), Electrofringe (Australia 2003), Abstraction Now (Vienna 2003), New Forms (Canada 2003), The International Symposium for Electronic Art (Japan 2002), d>ART (Australia 2002 & 2004), Liquid Architecture (Australia 2002 & 2004 – 05). Sivanesan lectures in experimental video at COFA (College of Fine Art at the university of New South Wales). Sivanesan Video Retrospective 17 – 26 February 2012 MOMENTUM brings together, for the first time, selected video works representing the trajectory of Sumugan Sivanesan’s practice. From the early works of 2003-2004, experimenting with form, sound, and the body, Sivanesan’s practice moves toward a growing fascination with the body politic, creating works increasingly documentary and political in nature, and finally moving into research, installation, and performances which take the form of lectures building stories around remarkable histories almost lost to popular consciousness. By way of this dialogue with both overt and hidden histories, Sivanesen delves into the roots of nationalism and the mythologies of identity. In a trajectory which moves through video, sound, electronic arts, and music, by 2009 Sivanesan is engaged with documenting the cultural upheavals unraveling around him, literally, in the predominantly indigenous neighborhood of Redfern, coincidentally where MOMENTUM | Sydney took place in 2010. Sivanesan’s research into the causes of these upheavals develops into a broader interest in “the part that mythmaking has played in the history of colonialism around the globe. In performing this kind of exploration, Sivanesan’s more recent work has drawn deeply on the profound contradictions at the heart of both colonising and de-colonising processes – and the inequities, absurdities and impossibilities that crop up in the life stories of particular people who have been caught right where these contradictions are revealed at their sharpest… For Sivanesan, such an emphasis on research and story-telling has meant an increasing use of written and spoken language as an element in his work. Yet in these pieces, the move toward using language is a complex one. On the one hand, these newer works are very much about the crucial role of language in oral and written histories as a breeding ground for myth. At the same time, however, in addressing its untrustworthy tendency toward mythmaking Sivanesan has not tried to pin language down, to force language to behave as a faithful servant and perfect transmitter of meaning in his own work. Rather, he chooses to go with it, telling stories rather than sticking to strict argumentation, jumping back and forth in time to make outlandish (but compelling) connections, letting far-flung examples rub up against each other to beget illegitimate offspring – and all the while seeming perfectly happy to fight myth on its own turf.” (Excerpted from Brendan Phelan’s essay for Last Words, Summar Hippworth and Aaron Seeto (ed) 2010, courtesy of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art). Focusing solely on Sumugan Sivanesan’s video works, M O M E N T U M | Berlin brings together a selection of 8 videos created over the last decade. The Anticolonials performance-lecture will be documented and shown alongside the videos for the duration of the exhibition. The Bedroom [2003] The Bedroom re-maps footage of a flickering flourescent light to a soundtrack of construction noise. External forces penetrate domestic boundaries. Anaesthesia [2004] Addresses the treatment of people seeking asylum in Australia. Contained within the space of a television monitor, voices from another dimension struggle against an alarming and censoring tone. A Scenario Of Non–simultaneous And Only Partially Overlapping Transformative Events [2004] with Brendan Phelan Phelan’s sporadic appearances are timed to a soundtrack of surfed radio signals, from talkback to the hits of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. As exemplifi ed by Phelan, we are thrown around the banal media that is made available to us over the airwaves. An Equal and Opposite Force [2004] camera Brendan Phelan Manipulated documentation of a performance experiment. Loosely exploring (anti) social engagement, archetypes, and role playing within the public sphere. King St, Newtown. Goebbel’s Pupils [2005] with Adán Durán Vázquez (Galicia) Experimental audio/video that manipulates and re-interprets the speeches of various public figures regarding the March 11 bombings in Madrid, 2004. Commissioned by Crónica for Essays on Radio: Can I have 2 minutes of your time? The Trouble with TJ [2009] AND Accompanying Text by Sumugan Sivanesan | The Trouble With TJ A multi-faceted research project that recounts the circumstances surrounding the death of Aboriginal teenager Thomas “TJ” Hickey in February 2004 and the subsequent “Redfern Riots” in an inner city suburb of Sydney. Palm Island [2009] WITH Compilation of Essays on the Politics of Indigenous Urban Space | There Goes The Neighborhood-eBook Edit of police footage used in the prosecution of Lex Wotton following the riots that occurred on Palm Island (Queensland) after the death in police custody of Cameron ‘Mulrunji’ Doomadgee. A Children’s Book of War [2010] AND Accompanying Text by Sumugan Sivanesan | A Children’s Book of War Animation A Children’s Book of War discusses legacies of colonial violence in contemporary Australia within the context of the current War on Terror, the law and contesting sovereignties.

MOMENTUM Worldwide

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