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Migration Dreams and Nightmares

Stuart Hall Library Research Network Event 19 November 2015
To listen to audio recordings of the event, please scroll down.

A panel discussion to mark the opening of Alia Syed and Nadia Perrotta’s exhibition in the library which responds to themes of migrant experience in John Berger’s novel ‘A Seventh Man’ (1973).

The panellists were Nirmal Purwar (Reader in Sociology, Goldsmiths) Ashwani Sharma (Principal Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies, UEL), Nadia Perrotta (artist) Alia Syed (artist nominee for the 2015 Jarman Award).

On A Wing web

Alia Syed, On a Wing and a Prayer (film still) 2015

Alia Syed showed her hypnotic film ‘On a Wing and a Prayer’ recording her walk through the alien environment of the Rotherhithe Tunnel. Alia was invited to respond to Berger’s ‘The Seventh Man’ as part of  the Goldsmiths Methods Lab Project  Migration Dreams and Nightmares. Alia had been affected by a news story about the asylum seeker, Abdul Rahman Haroun, who had walked the 31 miles through the Channel Tunnel. Her film recreates the claustrophobia and fear that Haroun experienced during his nightmarish journey.

Alia Syed and Nadia Perotta

Alia Syed and Nadia Perrotta

Nadia Perrotta interviewed six migrants during a journey to and from her native Italy and the UK. Her artists’ book, ‘Traits and Lines #1’ contains transcripts of the interviews in English and Italian and overlapping drawings of the migrants. Nadia stressed the unique identities of the migrants by capturing the inaccuracies and idioms of language used by each individual. Her ‘Crystalised Objects Archive’ is also on display in the library which contains alum-coated flotsam collected from the Thanet shoreline, with echoes of dangerous migratory sea-crossings .

Ash Sharma and Nirmal Puwar

Ash Sharma and Nirmal Puwar

The artists’ presentations were followed by reposes to the works from Ash and Nirmal, a lively discussion by the panel and questions from the audience.

The library exhibition is part of a larger project, Migration Dreams and Nightmares, led by Nirmal Puwar and Mariam Motamedi Fraser from the Methods Lab at Goldsmiths University of London. A concurrent exhibition and seminars at Goldsmiths “Migrating Dreams + Nightmares: Materials and Movement” Nov 2015-April 2016.