"The impact of immigration on the arts in the European societies is as manifest as in other areas."
"Immigrants have clearly had an influence on all of these [diverse artistic] expressions and on the autochthonous artistic cultures in themselves."
"As in the other areas, a differentiation between the impact of immigration and that of globalisation is difficult to make. But, it is safe to argue that these phenomena have worked together to diversify the former as autochthonous conceived civitas in Europe."
European Migration Network - Impact of Immigration on Europe’s Societies (March 2006)
Quantum People is an exploration of the effect of immigration on the artistic culture of the UK and also the cross-pollination of cultural and artistic ideas caused by migration. In order to research this effect I have been interviewing artists who have chosen to migrate to the UK.
I began by filming these interviews purely for research reasons. However, the filmed interviews have gone on to be a fundamental part of Quantum People, featuring heavily in the performance.
All the interviewees were highly eloquent and expressed their reflections with clarity and insight.
All interviewees expressed their feelings about their home countries. Mostly these were quite positive, although there were some who had struggled with their homes.
For most of the interviewees, the choice to migrate was related to their artistic practice. This may have been wanting to escape a perceived restriction in their home countries or to gain a particular benefit in the UK. Some felt greater artistic freedom, resulting from being a foreigner and having fewer local expectations on them.
Almost all perceived a more rigorous critical environment in the UK. Some compared this to a more instinctive and lyrical approach to art in their home countries.
Most found it harder to identify their influence on the artists they are working with in this country. Many of them felt they brought something of their home country's approach to art and creativity to their collaborations in the UK.
So far I have interviewed 6 artists, therefore I make no claim that this is a scientific study. Their experiences and opinions are only individual examples. The weakness and the strength of this research lies in the subjective quality of the interviews. The weakness is that I can't draw greater conclusions from such a small sample. The strength is that such small numbers allows us to focus on the full stories of our subjects.
In Quantum People, I am seeking to make an argument for migration from a perspective of cultural progress. I do not claim to be objective and I have chosen my interview subjects and used their interviews in order to help me make this argument.
My thanks go to my interviewees:
Xelís de Toro
It has been an honour to meet them and to find out about their lives and their art.
If you are willing to be interviewed for this ongoing project, please use the contact form below. I would love to hear from you.