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The Manus Recording Project Collective: "how are you today"

Since 24 July 2018, six men – Farhad Bandesh, Behrouz Boochani, Samad Abdul, Shamindan Kanapathi, Kazem Kazemi and Abdul Aziz Muhamat – have been sending daily ten minute audio recordings to The Ian Potter Museum of Art from Manus Island, where they have been detained by the Australian government for the last five years. The recordings are then played back in the gallery throughout the day. This will continue until 28 October 2018 at the end of which 14 hours of sound will have been produced. They are, in effect, developing an archive of what it sounds like to live in limbo.

At this event, we invite listeners to spend one hour with the recordings from this emerging archive – one recording from each man. Melbourne collaborators Michael Green, André Dao and Jon Tjhia will introduce and discuss. 

Free by RSVP - https://bit.ly/2NYe7XD

https://eavesdropping.exposed/events/how-are-you-today-listening-to-the-manus-recording-project-collective
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HOW ARE YOU TODAY
https://eavesdropping.exposed/artists/manus-recording-project-collective

Since 2013, nearly two thou­sand men have been indef­i­nitely detained on Manus Island, PNG, by the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment – after arriv­ing in this coun­try seek­ing asylum. When the Manus Regional Pro­cess­ing Centre was for­mally closed on 31 Octo­ber 2017, after the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court declared it uncon­sti­tu­tional, the men still detained there were ordered to relo­cate to new, smaller deten­tion cen­ters in Loren­gau, the major town on Manus. The author­i­ties elim­i­nated pro­vi­sions and removed the diesel gen­er­a­tors pow­er­ing the facil­ity, but the men refused to leave: the cul­mi­na­tion of years of organ­ised resis­tance against their invol­un­tary and indef­i­nite deten­tion. Even­tu­ally, they were force­fully evicted. 

The work com­mis­sioned for Eaves­drop­ping is a col­lab­o­ra­tion between some of these men – Farhad Ban­desh, Behrouz Boochani, Samad Abdul, Shamin­dan Kana­p­athi, Kazem Kazemi and Abdul Aziz Muhamat on Manus – and Michael Green, André Dao and Jon Tjhia in Mel­bourne. Every day for the dura­tion of the exhi­bi­tion, one of the men on Manus will make a sound record­ing – of any­thing they like or noth­ing much at all – and send it ‘onshore’ for swift upload to the gallery. No doubt the vagaries of weather, black­outs and tech­nol­ogy, along with chang­ing per­sonal, polit­i­cal and legal con­texts, will inter­vene along the way.

how are you today opens a chan­nel for a form of speech at a moment when words seem to have been exhausted. It is at once an extremely inti­mate work – a rare oppor­tu­nity to listen to these men lis­ten­ing, only very recently, some four thou­sand kilo­me­tres away – and a highly polit­i­cal one. It intro­duces the Manus sound­scape to the gallery not just for the sake of the sounds-in-them­selves, not just as a matter of curios­ity (though the work will surely pro­duce an archive of real his­tor­i­cal value), but in a way that directly impli­cates the lis­tener and demands that we attend to the politico-legal con­texts that pro­duce and frame them.

VIEW THE LIST OF RECORD­INGS, UPDATED DAILY
https://liquidarchitecture.org.au/microsites/manus-project

ABDUL AZIZ MUHAMAT is a 25-year-old man from Darfur, Sudan. He is from the Zaghawa eth­nic­ity, and with his family, he fled his vil­lage to a refugee camp. He arrived in Aus­tralia by boat in 2013 and was taken to Manus Island, where he remains. He has become one of the pri­mary public voices among the men there, includ­ing through the multi-award win­ning pod­cast, The Mes­sen­ger.

FARHAD BAN­DESH is a 36-year-old Kur­dish musi­cian, painter and poet who has been detained on Manus Island for over five years. Before seek­ing asylum, he worked as a guitar maker, and has no formal art train­ing. Whilst in deten­tion, he has pro­duced solo and col­lab­o­ra­tive works of music, art and writ­ing. He loves nature and is a keen gar­dener; his sis­ters now look after his plants.

BEHROUZ BOOCHANI is a Kur­dish-Iran­ian writer, jour­nal­ist, scholar, cul­tural advo­cate and film­maker. He was writer for the Kur­dish lan­guage mag­a­zine Werya. He writes reg­u­larly for The Guardian and sev­eral other pub­li­ca­tions. Boochani is also co-direc­tor (with Arash Kamali Sar­ves­tani) of the 2017 fea­ture-length film Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time, and author of No Friend but the Moun­tains: Writ­ing from Manus Prison. He has been held on Manus Island since 2013.

KAZEM KAZEMI is a 36-year-old Kur­dish musi­cian, heavy metal and rock song­writer and poet. Before seek­ing asylum in Aus­tralia, he lived in Khor­ramshahr, Iran, and worked as an elec­tri­cian.

SHAMIN­DAN KANA­P­ATHI is a Sri Lankan Tamil refugee. In Sri Lanka he was a mar­ket­ing exec­u­tive and a stu­dent.

SAMAD ABDUL has been detained in an Aus­tralian run off­shore deten­tion centre on Manus for the last five years. He loves cricket and his only dream was to be a pro­fes­sional crick­eter but politi­cians have taken his dream and used him as a polit­i­cal pris­oner. Although his five years will not come back, he now wants to be a social worker to help those who are in pain.

MICHAEL GREEN is a writer, radio-maker and pro­ducer. He is the host of The Mes­sen­ger pod­cast and his work has won many national and inter­na­tional awards, includ­ing the 2017 Walk­ley Award for Radio/Audio fea­ture. He has trav­elled to Manus Island twice.

ANDRÉ DAO is a writer of fic­tion and non-fic­tion. He is the co-founder of Behind the Wire, an oral his­tory project doc­u­ment­ing people’s expe­ri­ence of immi­gra­tion deten­tion, and the deputy editor of New Philoso­pher. He is also a qual­i­fied lawyer, and has worked with asylum seek­ers and refugees in a legal capac­ity.

JON TJHIA is a radio-maker, musi­cian and writer. As the Wheeler Centre’s senior dig­i­tal editor, he led the Wheeler Centre’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with Behind the Wire to pro­duce The Mes­sen­ger. He’s a co-founder of Paper Radio and the Aus­tralian Audio Guide.
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Eaves­drop­ping is a col­lab­o­ra­tion between Liquid Archi­tec­ture, Mel­bourne Law School and the Ian Potter Museum of Art, com­pris­ing an exhi­bi­tion, a public pro­gram, series of work­ing groups and tour­ing event which explores the pol­i­tics of lis­ten­ing through work by lead­ing artists, researchers, writ­ers and activists from Aus­tralia and around the world.

Curators Joel Stern (Liquid Architecture) Dr James Parker (Melbourne Law School)

https://eavesdropping.exposed/
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We acknowledge the Wurundjeri, Boonwurrung, Taungurong, Dja Dja Wurrung and the Wathaurung people of the Kulin Nation as the custodians of the land in which this event takes place, and we recognise that sovereignty was never ceded. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

Image: Abdul Aziz Muhamat in Lorengau 2017, courtesy of Michael Green