m.i.a announces album release info, accompanied by text on displaced people

After several threats to leak her upcoming record, M.I.A now appears to have an official timeline, artwork, and a Skrillex collab dropping tomorrow.

by Charlotte Gush and i-D Staff
14 July 2016, 7:21pm

M.I.A has announced the release date of her upcoming album with a passage of text on internally displaced people and refugees. Titled A.I.M, the bold orange, black and white artwork states "M.I.A -- Uniting People Since 2003." Its release date is September 9, with a Blaqstarr and Skrillex collaboration "Go Off" dropping tomorrow (its lyrics are already on Genius).

The accompanying text was penned by Sinthujan Varatharajah, a writer whose Tamil family, like M.I.A's, fled the civil war in Sri Lanka. The text speaks to the struggle of people fleeing from violence, only to be discredited, ignored and erased.

"Survivors of war, conflict and genocide live on as IDPs and refugees, dispersed across their homelands and the globe," Varatharajah writes. "They embody the violence that has displaced them into the unknown, into uncertainty and into camps and council estates. Survivors crossed countless continents, countries and borders, leaving behind their homes, lives and dead: only to be rendered invisible, silent and forgotten in exile; only to be told that their bodies might have travelled but their stories have not. Their narratives are construed as exchangeable, mutable and nuisance while their bodies are considered collateral damage. Survivors are treated as a surplus people whose very presence destabilizes the status quo, whose voices unsettle the known."

Varatharajah, a graduate of the Race, Ethnicity, and Postcolonial Studies masters at the LSE, and the founder of Roots of Diaspora — a multimedia storytelling project — has previously written about M.I.A's "Borders" video, as Pitchfork notes. In this new text, he considers borderlands, writing that they "are places doomed as hopeless, lifeless and futureless, where joy can never be traced, where dreams cannot be woven, where the everyday is thought to be absent. They are imagined to be places of nightmares held captive by the traumata of the displaced, kept under a never ending state of emergency."

Though no specific place is named, he writes that, "It is a country larger than England, yet isolated from its surrounding," adding "It's a place where new global orders are created, where new encounters occur, where new cultures are formed, where new people are born: REFUGEES." Read the full text at miauk.com.

M.I.A has tweeted that "Go Off" will be premiered as Annie Mac's Hottest Record tonight on Radio 1.


Text Charlotte Gush

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