Trust, Arrest, Rest, Trust…
November 26,  2020
'Trust, arrest, rest, trust...' was conceived as an absurdist response to the heightened level of COVID paranoia combined with xenophobia, islamophobia, anti-semitism, homophobia and other forms of authorizations fueled by propagandists. At a time when we are supposed to be more humane and helpful, thanks to extremist groups, politicians, media and other crooked opportunists, we are becoming more and more insensitive and suspicious of each other, due to the abundant inflow of misinformation and hate attempting to target and demonize particular sections of society as the perpetrators behind the corona pandemic. 
The artist has used sound effects of military movement to turn the safety of domestic setting into a defamiliarizing and destabilizing atmosphere of fear and suspicion. The background voiceover is based on various incidents of politics of hate riding on the back of COVID crisis around the globe. 
Kailas Sreekumar, Trust, Arrest, Rest, Trust... (Voice only).  Total length: 7 minutes, 35 seconds. 
Cover Image courtesy of the artist. "...[Image shows] fake thermograph imaging of migrant workers stranded during the lockdown...CCTV footage connotes to the mass surveillance and violation of digital rights enabled by authoritarian states, taking advantage of the COVID crisis. "  - Kailas Sreekumar
In-depth analysis of the voiceover are as follows:
“You are dirty”, “You are unhygienic” // Based on Thailand Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul’s discriminatory tweet on western tourists saying that they are “dirty”, “never shower” and pose higher Covid risk to local population.”
(Dated 13 March 2020) 
“You eat shit” // From a tweet, “that’s why that damn virus going around they eat shit we should not be nowhere close at”, as a response to a tweeted viral video of an Asian woman eating a large mollusk, Geoduck Mukbang – thereby stigmatizing Asian especially Chinese food culture by associating it with Covid spread.
(Dated 28 Jan 2020)
 “ You are insensitive” // Based on former Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Akthar’s video blaming Chinese people’s eating habits for the global outbreak of Covid. He says, “why do you have to eat bats, cats, and dogs, drink their urine, their blood and spread virus in the entire world… cannot go on eating anything and everything”.
(Dated 15 Mar 2020)
 “You are a corona terrorist” // Based on Indian political leader and legislator belonging to the right-wing ruling party – BJP, Sangeet Som’s comment that the Muslim missionary group, Tablighi Jamaat’s religious congregation in capital city of Delhi is an act of Corona terrorism. Muslims who participated in this congregation were branded as the sole “super spreaders” of Covid-19 in India eventually leading to the dehumanization of the missionary group and fuelling islamophobia in India.
(Dated 4 Mar 2020)
“You are a suicide bomber” // Based on an islamophobic cartoon by Lallu Ram implying that earlier Muslim suicide bombers used bombs to kill people now Muslim terrorists deploy Covid-19. 
“ You are a human bomb” // Based on Indian political leader and former Chief Minister of the state of Maharashtra, belonging to the right-wing ruling party – BJP, Devendra Fadnavis, calling the people who attended the religious congregation of Muslim missionary group, Tablighi Jamaat in Delhi as human bombs.
(Dated 8 April 2020)
 “ You invented the virus and deliberately spread it for your country” // Based on U.S Secretary of state, Mike Pompeo’s accusation of China for the origin and spread of Corona Virus and calling it “Wuhan Virus” (Dated 6 Mar 2020), and Iran’s supremo Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s accusation of US of spreading Covid-19.
(Dated 22 Mar 2020)
 “ You invented the virus and deliberately spread it for your religion”, “ You invented the virus and deliberately spread it for your community” // According to former Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief by UN Human Rights Council & Deputy Director of Human Rights Centre at University of Essex, UK, Mr Ahmed Shaeed ,the long standing racist trope/conspiracy theory prevails that Israelis/Jews are developing and spreading Covid-19 Virus to reduce the non-Jewish population and to control the world. According to the research by Equality Labs, a South-Asian NGO, Muslims in India were dehumanized based on the false claim that Muslims are intentionally spreading Corona Virus to non-Muslims as a form of “jihad’ – Corona Jihad. Formulated as part of an ongoing and relentless campaign of demonization against Indian Muslims and other caste oppressed faiths by Hindu nationalists. 
“You should not be allowed to cross our armour plated borders” // Based on Italian politician, Matteo Salvini’s remark wrongly linking Covid19 to Italy’s acceptance of migrants, especially the docking of the NGO Ocean Viking rescue ship in the Sicilian port of Pozzallo with 276 African asylum seekers on board.
(Dated 23 Feb 2020)
 “We are watching you” // Based on a racist note left on the front door of a Chinese-American family in Minnesota during the Covid crisis.
 “Let’s boycott their business” // Based on hate-filled comments under a video posted by Sky News Australia on Youtube titled “Chinese willfully inflicted Corona Virus upon the world” (Dated 20 Mar 2020) and Indian political leader and legislator belonging to the right-wing ruling party – BJP, Suresh Tiwari’s video of him urging people not to buy vegetables from Muslim vendors, calling them as Corona carriers.
(Dated 28 April 2020)
 “Let’s throw them in the desert” // Based on Kuwaiti actress, Hayat Al-Fahad’s controversial statement in a telephone interview with Kuwaiti TV station, ATV, calling for deportation of migrant workers or to “throw them in the desert” in order to address the deficit in the capacity at Kuwaiti hospitals to help in the Covid-19 outbreak.
(Dated 1 April 2020)
 “Let’s throw them in a remote island” // Based on Bangladeshi government’s decision to send dozens of Rohingya refugees, who had remained stranded at sea for several weeks, to Bhasan Char, a remote island – thus using pandemic as a pretext to send away refugees.
(Dated 4 May 2020)
 “Let’s wipe them out” // From a Sino-phobic rant in South Africa.
About The Artist
Kailas Sreekumar is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Kerala (India). As a keen observer of socio-political developments, Sreekumar makes works that are often responses to events and phenomena happening around him. 
In 2018, he completed his Bachelor’s in Creative Arts with a major in Contemporary Art Practices from Srishti Institute of Art, Design, and Technology, Bangalore, and in 2019 he earned his Master’s Degree in Contemporary Fine Art from the University of Cumbria (UK).