Insights and background information on Kae Sun´s video project, realized with the inspirations by Emeka Alams and Simon Rittmeier. Some reflections on their beautiful project are given by Katharina Fink. Here you can get the booklet download.
Oceans Apart is a multimedia presentation incorporating a two-part projected video and music from the new EP by Ghanaian-Canadian singer-songwriter Kae Sun, directed by Simon Rittmeier with Emeka Alams from Gold Coast Trading as the creative mind. The visual narrative examines notions of belonging and home through the personal and voyeuristic relationship of an asylum seeker and a young female student in a nondescript small town in Germany. Both film and EP explore the current social dilemma of displaced persons through the emotional, spiritual, and relational experience rather than the sociopolitical. For gallery presentations, Oceans Apart is presented as a split-screen projection (on two screens or two white walls). The screens portray the points of view of both protagonists. The point of view of each protagonist is accompanied by a song from the Oceans Apart EP. Videos and music are looped, and a listening station is set up, facilitating an exclusive listen to the full, unreleased EP. Music at the listening station is played via cassette tape. The video footage was captured on VHS and cell phone camera in Germany and the Ivory Coast. The total run time for the piece is approximately 10 minutes. Oceans Apart was conceived by long-time collaborators Kae Sun and Emeka Alams of Gold Coast Trading Company with the co-direction of filmmaker and visual artist Simon Rittmeier.
“Where are you?”.
The prevailing impulse in the experience of being alive is alienation, a sort of spiritual exile.
The desire for happiness is a desire for belonging, a return to eden if you will. Everything people have ever touched, every invention, every poem, song, every prayer ever uttered is haunted by this impulse. Of the two events that shape our existence, birth and death, the latter is the more mysterious, seemingly. The reality of death, the inevitability of it and the fact that it cannot be mediated, the fact that it escapes our capacity to reason with and through it heightens this alienation so that the desire for belonging extends past our immediate physical condition into other worlds we imagine through our creative, philosophical, political and religious endeavours. So the question of what you’ve done with your life becomes a question of what you’ve done with your exile. Oceans Apart is our way of examining this notion of exile using the very current social dilemma of displaced persons or those seeking a better situation, a better point of view, a better reference point for their lives and those of their loved ones.
We’re perhaps peeling back the layers a little bit and making this more about the spiritual and relational condition of not belonging and not so much the socio-political one, we hope that you could partner with us to achieve this goal or at best pose the question eloquently through this piece of ours.
Check out Kae Suns video Being one of the participating artists, he will show his new video to the song LONGWALK in the upcoming exhibition! You can find a little preview here with Kae on Okayafrica
The collaboration took place in Bayreuth along with another artist presenting in the exhibition, designer Emeka Alams from Gold Coast Trading Company. For a little deeper inside, have a look at his interview with Art Nouveau Magazine Emeka on an-mag
Time flies and you better be ready for it!
Kwaku was born in Accra, his parents had resettled in Ghana after being based in Germany for several years. He immigrated to Canada to study at the private boarding preparatory school Columbia International College and continued on to McMaster University both in Hamilton, Ontario. He received a degree in Multimedia and Philosophy from McMaster University. In Accra he had attended the renowned Achimota School where he first started writing and performing music.
While attending university, Kwaku started using the stage name Kae Sun, performing at local clubs and making demo recordings. He also started playing guitar and experimenting with different styles and sounds. He first gained some recognition when he was awarded a local music prize.
Kae Sun recorded and released his debut Lion On A Leash in 2009 largely funded by a grant from the Ontario Arts Council. He soon after re-located to Toronto. Lion On A Leash was well received among critics, garnering further recognition for Kae Sun.
Kwaku followed up his debut with the EP Outside The Barcode, a folky, pared-down collection of songs inspired by his return to Ghana after years of living in Canada. The song Firefly Dance from this collection was a KCRW Top Tune of the day.
Kae Sun’s second LP Afriyie was released in May 2013 and was co-produced by Kae Sun and production duo Science! (Joshua Sadlier-Brown and Marc Koecher). The record received favourable reviews from publications like exclaim and Afropunk. An MTV Iggy profile of the record said, ” With Afriyie, Kae Sun has managed to emerge as one of the most promising singer-songwriters in the international scene.” The tour for Afriyie included a set at the inaugural CBC music festival, support for the Toronto stop of Janelle Monae‘s Electric Lady Tour and solo engagements in Germany.
The song “Heart Healing Pulse” from Afriyie was included in the Strumbo Hundo 2013, television personality George Stroumboulopoulos‘s list of the top songs of that year. The Roots affiliated site OkayAfrica also lauded Afriyie as one of the best releases of 2013.
“Ship and The Globe”, the lead single from Afriyie is featured in several episodes of “Its okay, Thats love”.
Kwaku’s music has been noted for its unique blend of influences owing to his background and personal history. He typically performs his songs on guitar either solo or backed by a band. His poetic lyrics have been noted as being both observational and personal often touching on spiritual, esoteric and socio-political themes. His singing often leans toward the melodic and impassioned with subtle inflections drawn from Soul and Folk traditions. According to MIT‘s The Tech, “Despite this unbridled exploration with sound and lyrics, Kae Sun colors his music with two virtues that seem to be of great importance to him – spirituality and honesty.” His work has at times been tagged Urban Folk, Indie Pop, World, Neo-Folk or Folk-Soul. Now magazine quotes him describing it as “Music. Pure and simple.”