10 for 10th - Memory Lane curated by Che Kothari

The Virtual Immigrant, 2015

Suitable for all ages

Project Co-Producer: The Royal Ontario Museum

The Virtual Immigrant, 2015

Annu Palakunnathu Matthew - Providence & Bangalore, USA & India

New Media Installation

The project draws on the experience of call centre workers in India who become North Americans for a workday but remain physically in India. To work in these call centres, Indians study western culture and either neutralize their Indian accents or adopt western ones. The tangible markers of identity such as race, ethnicity, gender or class become more malleable for them. The ethereal installation consists of a projected photo-animation depicting each worker alternating between his or her work clothes, usually perceived as more western, and in clothes that they would wear for a formal occasion, which are invariably more Indian.

The voices of the call centre workers can be accessed by the audience calling a number available on-site. The disembodied voices in the audio, echo the dislocated experience of communicating with people hundreds of miles away.

Their experience of living between two cultures mirrors the duality of experience common to many Canadians. In multi-cultural Toronto, many are local and non-local at the same time; from elsewhere, but also very much rooted to here. This is a familiar feeling/memory in our new global neighborhood and, one might argue, increasingly part of the contemporary collective experience. 

Annu Palakunnathu Matthew's exhibitions include the RISD Museum, Newark Art Museum, Tang Museum, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and the Royal Ontario Museum of Art.

Grants recently supporting Matthew's work include a Fulbright fellowship, a John Gutmann fellowship, a MacColl Johnson Fellowship and Rhode Island State Council of the Arts fellowship. Matthew is a Professor of Art at the University of Rhode Island, Director of the URI Center for the Humanities and is represented by sepiaEYE, New York City.


Royal Ontario Museum (Hyacinth Gloria Chen Crystal Court)

100 Queen's Park

This project is indoors.