New Eelam is a long-term artwork in the form of a start-up—a real estate technology company founded by the artist Christopher Kulendran Thomas to develop a flexible global housing subscription based on collective co-ownership rather than individually owned private property. Originated in collaboration with curator Annika Kuhlmann, the venture takes as a starting point the art field’s involvement in the global processes through which cities around the world are transformed and explores how to reconfigure what art can actually do in the world structurally.
Sitting like a new development in a rapidly changing neighbourhood, New Eelam: Brisbane presents a sci-fi vision of an alternate reality. The speculative documentary, 60 million Americans can’t be wrong introduces the post-capitalist housing proposal and the political and historical horizons of the venture. Taking as a departure point the once self-governed—but now non-existent—homeland of ‘Eelam’ from which the artist’s Sri Lankan Tamil family originates, the film explores how a new economic model could emerge out of the existing economic system rather than in opposition to it. Thomas’ first exhibition in Australia provides a timely opportunity to consider new possibilities for the architecture and experience of citizenship. New Eelam: Brisbane has been integrated locally through partnerships with landscape designer Pete Shields and ceramic artist Tim Wilson (Hunchmark).