Becoming Forest: Breakwater & Cường Phạm

Becoming Forest is a collaborative endeavour between the artist duo Breakwater and the radio producer, curator, activist Cường Phạm.

Breakwater: Becoming Forest (poster), 2020, courtesy the artists

Breakwater is a London-based Korean diaspora artist duo of cross-disciplinary artist and researcher Youngsook Choi and Taey Iohe, who make installations combining performance, film, sound, photography and  text to explore postcolonial and intersectional identities. Their collaborative practice centres around ideas of postcolonialism, climate justice and migrants’ lived experiences as well as their mutual interest in excavating counter-narratives through an exploration of spiritual knowledge, folklore, and queer methodologies.

Cường Phạm is a cultural producer, community activist and curator based in London. He has co-curated ‘Record, Retrieve, Reactivate’ (An Viet Foundation) and ‘Resettled Spaces’ (Lien Viet) which explored the history, memory, and language of the Southeast and East Asian migration experience. He holds a MA in Southeast Asia Studies at SOAS. Under the handle phạmbinho 范悲儒, he hosts an NTS online radio show, to musically reframe ‘Asia’ as a contested paradigm. 

This project considers mental wellbeing as a collective responsibility, focusing on the  detrimental impact of Covid-19 and the spike of anti-Asian racism upon the mental health of Southeast  and East Asian diasporas, refugees and precarious migrants in the UK. Drawing upon Franz Fanon’s  seminal observation on the relationship between colonial oppression/violence and mental illness, this project conceptualises collective healing as performing justice. Four radio episodes will be developed during the residency that aim to provide and hold a space of solidarity and communal comfort.