Dias and Riedweg: Sugar Seekers

  • 18 September 2004 - 28 November 2004

Mauricio Dias and Walter Riedweg have worked together on interactive art projects since 1993. They have exhibited internationally over the last decade; Sugar Seekers is their first UK commission. Sugar Seekers continues the artists' ongoing exploration of the rights of the individual within the territory of immigration and emigration. The starting point of these investigations is Liverpool, a city that has historically played an important role in the global pattern of migration Exhibited as part of Liverpool Biennial International Festival 2004

The young people with whom Dias & Riedweg have created Sugar Seekers are at different stages of the lengthy asylum-seeking process, which categorises them in terms of risk; their personal desires and needs for a new life are negated within this system. Only the individual who has economic and political power can achieve the degree of freedom necessary to migrate at will: the desire to travel is not itself a humanitarian right.

The cameras were in the hands of the participants at all times. Evoking memories through sensorial workshops, collating documentary-style footage of group discussions, interviewing other migrants and compiling image archives from internet word searches, the young people worked intensely with the artists in the execution of Sugar Seekers. They redefine the terms of immigration and emigration that seek to label them solely as Refugee or Asylum Seeker. The focus of the collaboration was to move beyond sensitive personal experience to the wider contexts that have affected the participants' lives. Society's tendency to label them as 'victim' was refuted by the artists; instead the young people were given the position of power as Subject that speaks, rather than the Other that remains silent.

The resulting four-channel installation does not set out to document stories; rather, it opens up new definitions of the language of migration. The viewer adds a further layer of interpretive possibilities when he or she interacts with the work: a touch command triggered by key words activates a new set of images and changes the narrative flow of the video. Sugar Seekers investigates the ways in which global economy and local politics relate to each other and the ways in which they don't. It seeks a broader comprehension of immigration as an urgent human right beyond the dominance of current capitalist global economy.


Sugar Seekers has been commissioned by FACT's Collaboration Programme in partnership with Liverpool Biennial and Tate Liverpool.