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Sudden Beams 2: Extraction illuminates the speculative world of Asian futurism. From the billowing dust of the Aral Sea to the emerging eco-horrors of Northeastern India, Extraction proposes fresh visions of humanity and ecology through Asian-inspired science fiction and mythology. 

Via an audio-visual experience, we travel through time, space and memory. Sudden Beams 2: Extraction is a spiritual odyssey that explores fantasies of the future, religion and South Asian art, through artists’ film, sound and browser-based game.

This online exhibition is an extension of the Extraction screening programme that is currently touring across the UK. Visit here to read more about the screening programme. Or see the full programme online on this page from 17 April 2023.

Online Programme

Our Lady of I Can Be Anything You Want Me To
Afrah Shafiq
2020, browser-based digital work

Our Lady of I Can Be Anything You Want Me To is an interactive and continually morphing experience that includes a moving image work and a browser-based video game. 

Our Lady of I Can Be Anything You Want Me To explores the repetitive and multiplicative images of the Virgin Mary in the post-colonial world, to understand icon making, data and insight, and the logic of generative adversarial networks. And how the figure has become a container that converges with different and contradictory ideas on politics, religions and humankind.

Click the image below to see the piece:

Saraab (Omer Wasim and Shahana Rajani)
2020, 23:20 mins, two-channel sound

Click the link below to listen the piece:

A sound piece tracing the textures and toxicities of air.

Invoking the presence of jinns to explore the textures and toxicities of air, Safarnama (2020) activates natural and sacred worlds to pay attention to the intimacy of toxic colonialisms. Borrowing its name from and referencing the history of travel literature produced in the Islamic world, Safarnama traces the journey of a jinn traveling through the emerging, extractive infrastructures of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. We turn to these otherworldly beings of air and fire to disrupt colonial protocols of seeing and knowing, to rewire our experiential modes, and to stretch open the possibility of witnessing at a time of heightened policing and repression. The jinn that we seek challenges the state project of erasure. Subsisting below the threshold of official state narratives, the jinn attunes us to the entanglements between sacred, human and ecological worlds.

The narration in Safarnama references the following sources: Anand Taneja, Jinnealogy: Time, Islam and Ecological Thought in the Medieval Ruins of Delhi (Delhi: Stanford University Press, 2018); Nishat Awan and Zahra Hussain, “Conflicting Material Imaginaries,” New Silk Roads, e-flux (January 2020), online; David Abrams, “The Remembering and Forgetting of the Air,” Storytellers before Dawn: An Anthology, eds. Juddha Su and Mi You (2018); an interview conducted by Dr. Hasan Ali Khan who generously shared it with us; and Robert Lebling, Legends of the Fire Spirits (New York: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd, 2010).

Earth Friction
Chooc Ly Tan
2022, 30:26 mins, two-channel sound

Click the link below to listen the piece:

For this soundscape, Tan drew inspiration from the artist’s fascination with natural phenomena and volcanic activities, which led her to live in Iceland from 2007 to 2009; She was also inspired by her own experience of injustice — Tan’s parents were refugees from Vietnam and Cambodia — as well as conversations with friends, and ongoing research on the work of indigenous and diasporic activists. Tan collaged field recordings of geothermal activities, clips excerpted from speechs by Indiginous activists + many more sonic ingredients (see below).

The sound piece was originally commissioned by Leïla Arenou and Naïmé Perrette, for their Lava Lines project that explores the life forms, contemporary myths and geopolitical powers that shape volcanic landscapes.

List of texts, field recordings and musical beat that the artist mixed together to create the work:

  • AJA – Charge x Texts “Greenland was colonised by the Danish…” x clips from Oklou – Silicium
  • Field Recordings of Bubbling Lava; People Reacting to Geysir in Iceland; Mud in Myvatn
  • Text about Lithium x Mad Mike – Attack Of The Sonic Samurai (The Battle Within)
  • Gods of Technology – Being of Sound Mind (instrum.) x text ‘Element of Sulphur (s) (doc. excerpt)
  • Blood Sweat Cobalt in DRC, Fortune news documentary (excerpt)
  • aamourocean – Life Sim – IDL aamourocean ◖ᵔᴥᵔ◗ ♪ ♫ Remix
  • Txai Suruí’s speech at COP26 (excerpt) x 100 gecs – 745 Sticky (Black Dresses Remix) [Kidcore re-Remix]
  • ex.sses – M.A.D.
  • X6Cta – Break & Bass x Wishmountain – Dust
  • X6Cta – exiter x protesting crowd during a climate strike in Guildford
  • dreamcrusher – PSA (excerpt from intro)

Sudden Beams 2: Extraction is curated by Moritz Cheung for Sudden Beams and Platform Asia. Supported by Arts Council England. 



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