Roo Dhissou and Sahjan Kooner have created a dreamlike exhibition that weaves narratives through the lens of North India. The work travels from a cyborg in Punjab through to a black hole at the centre of the galaxy. Recurrent ideas of the celestial, community and migratory are transformed through craft based practices and digital environments.
What is a village without community? What is a community without collaboration, collectivity and hospitality?
What is a Punjabi Pind without Seva, Taraki, Ahram, Vishwaas or Sangat?
In contemplating my lived experience, my past experiences, I cannot help but wonder what the future holds. My life changed fundamentally in 2018 and led to traumas of losing my entire family. The grief made me examine the term ‘community’, foster my own communities and question how my culture could be at stake due to lack of community. Whilst the experience is my own, many of us can relate the prospect of a lack of belonging, finding home, feeling dis-/connected and perhaps the complicated nature of being from dual or multiple cultures and identities. (ASTRAL VILLAGE) slooooowwww could be seen as an in between site, a future site or an astral projection of a past site where a village comes to life in fragmented sculptures, crafts and digital possibilities. We invite you to our village with warmth, hospitality and comfort. Take a seat, get comfortable, rest, read or bask in the stars, the Astral Village awaits…
We launched on 3 December 2021 to our next destination, we have been planning, we have been preparing an exit. Our land has been contaminated, we’ve been thinking about the moon as a potentiality, as a possible space for us, we’re not sure if we’ll make it but we try, we try everyday, we wake up and try to augment reality so that each of us can keep being alive for another day. We want you there with us because we love you and we believe in the future possible, we are changed, in order to change something you will also have to be fundamentally changed in the process.
I miss you everyday, I miss being around you, the way you held me and made it all okay, it made me feel alive. I sometimes wonder what happened to your slow rotations around us, we would head to bed and you’d be there reflecting the sunlight onto our nocturnal passages, I remember how you articulated all the loss but carried with you all the joy, you told me to bring hope into this world, I will, everyday I wake I sense you, you are with us, we hold each other as equals.
I don’t mean to reproach you by saying this
I know that scares you
All of the big occasions you might have missed No, I accept you
And I don’t even need to know your reasons It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay
I think you sometimes forget
I would know you best
I hope you don’t take this the wrong way
But I think your inside is your best side
We launched on 3 December 1970 to our final destination, we unfortunately suffered a catastrophic failure, we only survive by means of each other, waking to keep each of us alive for another day. We moved across lands and space time to encounter the most malicious form of horror our bodies and psychologies have ever seen, we wish that you never see what we’ve felt.
History isn’t something you look back at and say it was inevitable, it happens because people make decisions that are sometimes very impulsive and of the moment, but those moments are cumulative realities.
– Marsha P. Johnson
We launched on 3 December 2638, we are now orbiting around Sagittarius a*, a black hole has tidally locked us in and we will be slowly absorbed into its quantum archive, we just want to tell you that we love all of you.
West Midlands-based artists Roo Dhissou and Sahjan Kooner were selected for one of three NMG Development Programme Collaborative Project Bursaries, in partnership with Artcore, aimed at pairs looking to work collaboratively to develop and deliver a project together.
Artcore is an international centre for contemporary art and creativity based in Derby, UK, and is home to Artcore Gallery, studios and work spaces as well as a shop and café. A vibrant hub for commissioning, production, presentation and debate, we offer opportunities for diverse audiences to engage directly with creative practices through participation and discussion.
Here at Artcore we believe that contemporary art and creativity are central to the development of people and places. We have an extensive exhibition and residency programme which helps support early, mid-career and established artists to create work which deals with pressing social, political and environmental issues.