“This Dome is an art project that combines Karen music, poetry, and video recording that examines the life of migrants and refugees during a lockdown period. We have incorporated spoken word and music to produce slices of life experienced by a family, community, and friends during the lockdown and amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The idea of a safe dome, perhaps a house, in the Australian suburb is explored in this project. It is a unit that is both connected to the larger social phenomena, such as the health and economic crises brought by COVID-19. However, beyond being safe, secure, and immune from the deadly and infectious disease, a house can be a world, or a small planet, where relationships exist between familial and intimate connections. Perhaps, it can be the experience of a family and their connection to their outside world, their extended family, friends, neighbours, and community.”
This is the site for the ongoing development of “River Crossing: A Journey Through Online Storytelling….”
The ARTISTIC RATIONALE of this project is a development of “River Crossing,” an online memoir about the personal, cultural journey and struggles of Karen refugees through the CREATIVE PROCESS of digital storytelling using podcasts, recorded video narratives and music performances.
“River Crossing” is a creative development of an online memoir about the lives of Karen refugees in Australia through Eh Su’s personal journey. Amidst the COVID19 pandemic, the project will produce inspiring online narratives that represent local cultural experience with a global reach. These include a series of short stories produced as a podcast, a musical, or storytelling in a video format in English and Karen (or with subtitles in one of these languages). The artists believe that this is a necessary approach since its intended audience, the Karens, are more familiar with storytelling that combines music, dance, and oral tradition. Reagan is a scriptwriter, poet, researcher, and community development advocate in the Filipino and Karen groups. Eh Su is a musician, performer, translator, interpreter, and storyteller who experienced moving from his village in Myanmar to the refugee camp in Thailand and eventually here in Australia. The project will allow the two artists to develop their capabilities of producing digital storytelling that started from their initial video collaboration (see sample work) and previous creative and cultural engagements. Within a year of production, the two artists will train themselves in basic podcasting, online and video production to reconstruct the story of forced migration and refugee life. They will also conduct several recorded online conversations and interviews with Karen individuals in rural and metropolitan Victoria. From these conversations, they will produce working drafts: stories, vignettes, musical acts in podcasts, and online video formats. These stories will also be intertwined with the current situation and recovery efforts experienced by the Karen and migrant communities during this global pandemic. It will form a narrative arc about the journey of Eh Su and the Karen people from the dangerous rivers in the mountains of Burma to riverine areas of Melbourne, Australia, thus a form of River Crossing.
Eh Su’s Storytelling of the Karen’s Wrist-Tying Ceremony (in the Karen language)
This is EH SU, narrating and explaining the value of a Karen cultural tradition, the Wrist-Tying Ceremony, in his language. He also incorporates a musical performance about the said ceremony. (Credit to EH SU and his page, Learning & Sharing with KKB: https://www.facebook.com/Ehsumightdar)
Interview with Eh Su, (sample video/zoom cast)
This is a sample video/zoom recording of a conversation between Reagan and Eh Su. This serves a sample of digital storytelling to be developed in the “River Crossing” Project.