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Promised Lands Residency and Performance

23 Oct 2008

Summer/Autumn 2008. Flow Motion's research residency with Iniva.

Promised Lands is a multimedia project exploring the idea of the promised land in relation to accounts of contemporary and historical migration. This summer and autumn, Flow Motion (Edward George and Anna Piva) have a research residency with Iniva to develop the project.

A performance presentation based on their residency will take place at Rivington Place on Thursday 23 October, 7- 8.30pm.

The promised land is the founding trope of the migrant adventure which confers a larger than life, metaphysical dimension on often life-threatening journeys into newness. It is a figure of speech and writing, thinking and feeling, faith and necessity, found in popular and folk cultures both sacred and secular. Communicated through verse, prose, song and visual material, the promised land is an idea that has shaped and framed contemporary and historical accounts of migration.

It is also an idea whose force and resonance is contingent on questions of culture and religion, politics and history, desire and necessity. The promised lands of slaves and former slaves in 19th century America were Liberia, Sierra Leone, California and Chicago. The promised lands of Jewish Zionism are the contested territories of Israel and Palestine. Ethiopia was among the promised lands of the churched slaves and colonial subjects of the Caribbean and oil-rich Sudan is among the promised lands of 21st-century capitalism. For African asylum seekers and displaced Eastern Europeans, the promised land is Western Europe.

The Promised Lands project will transform the idea of the promised land from that of a geographical space of nation and region, singularity and sovereignty, into a multiplicity of zones, located as much beneath as above the land, as present in the soul of the song as in the will of the state, and whose identities and locations shift and change over time.

With Promised Lands, Flow Motion propose a creative rethinking of the idea of the promised land via a range of activities and technologies – a database, a user-driven web project, multimedia installations, print, CD and DVD media, public events and workshops. Through these activities, the mythologies and histories, tensions and contradictions, the terrors and pleasures of the journey, the new knowledge born of exile, arrival (or return), and the sacred, secular and scientific nature of the lands themselves, are brought into play.

Promised Lands project partners include ICA and SCAN.

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