Categories MusicPosted on

Musician Ash Koosha On the United States Travel Ban: Sublime Irony

‘I grew up in post-revolution Iran, an environment full of conflict between revolutionary values, global progress and social freedom. This conflict was reflected daily in my own life. I was discouraged from learning music and practising any creative expression that was at odds with 1979 revolutionary values.

I was jailed for organising and performing a concert in Iran. Later I was accused of promoting western values and in turn revealing the extent of Iran’s censorship and ban on many forms of contemporary arts. Consequently, I found myself, my family and friends in exile, both in Europe and the USA. This was a sad drain of creative minds, and youthful energy from a country that desperately needed its younger generation.

We suffered through anxiety, distress and a crisis of identity while in exile. We even lost friends to death in the aftermath of this transition. We became refugees; not celebrated artists.

In a new-found freedom in the UK, after a battle with these newly imposed dilemmas, I was able to speak out via music, sound and technology. I released an album that celebrated the future and explored technological ideas that could push our experiences of sound forward. I was able to see beyond my geography and contribute to what it is to be ‘human’. Be it music, film, exploring the future of humanity and tackling issues such as Universal Basic Income, climate change, and more.

I was about to travel to the USA last summer for the first time. It was time for me to see a great country that contributed to art and technology for generations and stood for progress, peace and freedom. Even though I spent a lot of money to start a petition in order gain entry (which was accepted) I still didn’t receive my visa on time. So my first tour in the US was cancelled due to ‘Administrative Processing’. All of my ambitions, contributions and efforts were reduced to bureaucratic paperwork that left me feeling betrayed and burdened because of my ‘place of birth’.

No one chooses to be exiled and no one chooses to be born in one place or another and it is in no one’s interest to ban global progress, something that many people from different nationalities are contributing to daily and they are doing it all for the future of humanity. The global progress, unfortunately is being threatened by executive orders of Donald Trump in an unjust entry ban on refugees. A ban that also affects scholars, students, family members, artists and the mere tourists with no intention of settling in the USA.

This executive order will prove ineffective in its supposed goal of defying terrorism. It is the outcome of petty political pandering to the detriment of thousands. Personally, I won’t be able to go on my USA tours, share my discoveries in sound and music or promote the first VR album experience in the biggest market in the world. More importantly, refugees won’t find safety, families won’t be reunited, academics won’t be able to continue their research and people are stranded in a limbo of unknown future.

Donald Trump came to power claiming that he’ll make America great again. But this seems impossible without the contributions from many, many people, of whom I am only one.’

Ash Koosha – January 2017

Seen this week

Categories MusicPosted on

Prep release new single and play Islington Assembly Hall this Sunday

Well, if this isn’t the sound of the summer, SEEN doesn’t know what is – PREP have aired the new video for ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’, the first single to arrive from their forthcoming EP ‘Cold Fire’, due out in April 2018. Directed by Tuixen Benet (also behind the choreography for Tame Impala’s ‘The Less …

Categories Food&DrinkPosted on

Enjoy the Feast of St. Patrick with with a Midleton Very Rare Champagne Cocktail at Corrigan’s of Mayfair

Londoners will know how enthusiastically the city enjoys St. Patrick’s Day. For a different and very luxurious experience of this auspicious day, you might want to try a trip to one of (Irishman born and bred), Richard Corrigan’s restaurants, particularly Corrigan’s Mayfair who will be hosting a full-day celebration for St. Patrick’s Day with Irish …

Categories ArtPosted on

Art on a Postcard Presents their Secret Auction at The Other Art Fair

Regular readers of SEEN will know that we just love the charitable initiatives set up by Art on a Postcard. They bring art lovers (and it must be said, auction-lovers) together for the support of the Hepatitis C Trust, which is dedicated to raising awareness, ending discrimination and being a hub for information and representation …

Categories MusicPosted on

Unflinching: Jenny Wilson releases Lo’ Hi’

SEEN is fascinated by the discomfiting yet necessary vision of Jenny Wilson who has released a new single LO’ HI’, the latest track to emerge from her forthcoming album 
‘EXORCISM’, due for UK release on April 20, 2018 via Gold Medal Recordings. Having previously collaborated with contemporaries including Robyn and The Knife (to whose Rabid …

Categories ArchitecturePosted on

László Moholy-Nagy at The Isokon Gallery

The Isokon building in Hampstead has been home to many creative people: Agatha Christie, Nicholas Monsarrat, Adrian Stokes and, of course, leading lights in the Bauhaus movement, three of whom, Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius and László Moholy-Nagy are to be honoured with a Blue Plaque, courtesy of English heritage. There is no better time to …

Categories Food&DrinkPosted on

Asian Cuisine and South American Fire at Avenue

Never mind the snow, SEEN doesn’t let severe weather warnings come between her and the discovery of a new dining concept. Thus it was that I minced carefully down to the old-school London environs of St James, yet another of those areas in the capital that shows us another side of the city. St James …