Muvindu Binoy

Working across visual art, filmmaking and music @muvindubinoy has participated in multiple editions of Colomboscope. Often he arrives to work while using the internet as primary archive, engaging with graffiti culture, and other forms of visual poetry that seep into everyday life. Processes of assemblage are key to the artist's sensibility often revealing the cracks in our social world, systems of fate and 'online' realities with the tone of absurdist humor and uncanny truths. Toward the 2021 edition, ‘Language is Migrant’ Binoy is working on a digital commission exploring meme culture particularly in Sri Lanka as well as conditions of replication, subversion and the ways memetic evolution can shape public sentiment. 

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This submission considers the aftermath of the Easter Sunday bombings and the rise of public as well as political pressure that led to a ban on face coverings with particular reference to the niqab and burqa. In contrast is the current reality of global pandemic that holds the world in suspension with masks becoming part of our body language for a long time to come. Through this simple gesture the artist interrogates experiencing the self and fractured identities as well as notions of freedom and contagion.

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The second contribution as part of Muvindu Binoy's digital project for Language is Migrant is a conscious meme that is heavily influenced by SpongeBob SquarePants, especially the 'SpongeBobImagination' meme. In an ironic twist and with a dose of cynicism the artist wrestles with the prolonged impact of the pandemic in Sri Lanka and the upcoming elections. He considers the promises made, unevenly deployed disciplinary measures that colour daily life and the threats that linger in our midst. Given the absence of a cure within an infected everyday, this visual explores aspects of naivety, sheep mentality and power dynamics.

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This third conscious meme by Muvindu Binoy takes a surreal turn while it captures a fatigued state of mind as the second wave of Covid-19 continues in Sri Lanka. The artist borrows several popular meme elements to reflect on a post-election context in Sri Lanka confronted by multiple concerns from militarization of pandemic control, Chinese and American influence, constitutional changes, and media-driven discourses that amplify anxieties around theses issues while pinning their hopes on economic development. Winnie the Pooh, Mr. Orange and Meme Man among other exaggerated visual and textual fragments come together to present a layered and complex context that the artist identifies as confounding and absurd at the same time. 

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As we enter lock-down 3.0 (rebranded as "travel restrictions") in Sri Lanka, Muvindu Binoy presents his last meme contribution. A scene brimming with hilarious and frightening protagonists who capture much of the island's reality, these motifs are premised on the "choose your fighter" meme. Bizarre visual fragments from herbal medicinal concoction to vaccine frenzy and mixed signals received through mainstream media updates, a beleaguered and uneasy public is reminded no choice is easy and yet we are made "easy targets." This series began contemplating social relations in the aftermath of the Easter Bombings that continue to lurk and resound as unresolved civic wounds. Resigned furor against the loss of sovereignty with the passing of the Port City Bill, if we are only willing to look beneath our nose we might miss the extracted piles of sand in the nearby horizon.

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