London, Mysore: Notes on Digital Meanderings and Otherwise
Panel: An Assemblage of Artists/Technologies/City Spaces. Urban Arc, 2018 at IIHS, Bengaluru
PANEL:Technologies of Aesthetic Imagi/nation. Research Symposium on Digital Transitions in Cultural and Creative Industries in India at Centre for Internet and Society, Delhi.
So when are you coming to London next? S asks me on a call. I find myself making incomprehensible sounds – sounds expressing fatigue, frustration, hopelessness and maybe anger? In 2011 after the tightening of borders I was forced to pack up a life I had built within a community, family, friends, profession in London and move back to India. It was a rupture that was extremely traumatic, a rupture I hadn’t addressed that articulated itself in an impossibility to connect – to a city, to home, to community, to profession. Chancing upon the work of Jacqui Kenny I set out to explore London digitally – the city I was expelled from as I simultaneously started hesitatingly making the first steps to making another city – Mysuru – home. This work while situating itself within a larger framework of photography, authorship, travel and art (Jon Rafman, Michael Wolf, Jacqui Kenny, Doug Rickard) with specific reference to Google Street View also addresses issues around borders and visas and what it might look and feel like for a Global South citizen to revisit a mapped expelled from Global North. The work also addresses traumatic ruptures and the possibility for technology to provide for a space for an assimilation/ingestion/digestion or an abjection of these very ruptures.
Women’s struggle against Indebtedness and Microfinance companies in Karnataka, India. A case study presented at CFS Forum on Women’s empowerment in the context of food security and nutrition – 2017. Rome.
Women and Land: Relationships and Rights. Talk at National Forum: Women, Land, Economy, Women and Climate Change. San Salvador, El Salvador.
An (Un)emotional Protest :Exploring the politics of emotions in recent Bengaluru protests. In Workshop on Bangalore’s ‘Great Transformation’. National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) Bengaluru.
Over the past few months protests have been organized around the handover of Venkatappa Art Gallery, a public space, to Tasveer Foundation, a private trust. As a participant and observer this is an attempt to take account of the narratives circulating within the movement relating specifically to emotions – rage, shame, pain and gratitude. One of the narratives that has emerged has been the labeling of the artists’ protest as emotional and as hankering after something nostalgic. In response the movement has tried to produce a counter narrative which posits artists as not ‘emotional’. What does being emotional/nostalgic mean? What does the erasure of emotions mean within the larger framework of how we position ourselves with regard to caste and class? If emotions are a way of ‘apprehending the world’ then why is a quietness rather than a boil acceptable? There has been a directive within the Venkatappa Art Gallery movement to be restrained and ‘dignified’ as opposed to something spectacular that we were witness to recently with the garment workers’ strike. This protest claimed the streets in a way that has troubled the status quo over who occupies the streets. What does holding oneself in restraint do to say the efficacy of a protest? Is there something in the injunction ‘to be unemotional’ that then provides us with a glimpse into how both opposing groups (Karnataka Tourism Vision Group and VAG Forum) might actually be structurally the same? Would claiming ‘emotions’ have produced a narrative that may have actually contributed towards creating the presence of a counter public? This paper simultaneously explores the representation of different protests that have happened in Bengaluru over the past few months. It seeks to understand these protests and how they use the street using the work of Sara Ahmed on emotions looking at what that might mean within how a movement is constructed. This will address not just the groups but also the spaces (geographic/temporal) in which these protests happen and how they come to be represented in and through various mediums.
The Complicit Camera: Ethics of Attending to Survivors and Trauma Narrative In Event, Memory, Literature: Trauma Narratives of the Indian Subcontinent. St.Thomas College. Kozhencherry. Kerala.
This paper looked at the ethical issues inherent in the space of representation with regard to trauma narratives specifically looking at witness testimonies that speak or are trying to speak about an event/ events on camera. Using Jacques Lacan’s understanding of trauma as the “missed encounter” I look at the documentary “Inshallah Kashmir”, that explores the situation in Kashmir, to question and investigate the traumatic effects of gaps, ruptures, silences that putting a camera by an outsider, with power, in such a field produces within representation. Full conference paper here: The_Complicit_Camera
Artist’s Talk. The Subject in Contemporary Photographic Practice. SCM Sophia. Mumbai. India.
Presented issues around representation of the ‘other’ in photojournalism using ideas around informed consent, the power of the photographer. Facilitated discussions around ethics in representation.
Artist’s Talk. An Introduction to Contemporary Photographic Practice. SCM Sophia. Mumbai. India.
Artist’s Talk. An Introduction to Contemporary Photographic Practice.Presidency College. Bengaluru. India.
Resisting being über cool: An artist’s encounter with Bengaluru In Arts and Aesthetics in a Globalising World. JNU. Delhi. India.
This paper explores the recent spurt of art spaces in Bengaluru, both private and public, not as offering something transformative but as underlining and codifying already existing frameworks surrounding cultural capital and it’s production. I encounter these places as an artist mapping my way into the art space here, into this city, and the conditions of work under which I am asked to perform including free labour and lack of transparency with regards to opportunities, jobs and funding.
Showing off Skin: Interrogating Gendered Whiteness in Bollywood In De-stereotyping Indian Body and Desire: Reconsidering the Representation. Southfield College. Darjeeling. India.
In this paper I address the growing presence of white women in Bollywood as junior artists as well as moving into lead roles in contrast to the continued presence of Indian men in both these spaces. This has been made possible by India’s growth as an emerging market, it’s colonial past which rendered fair as beautiful, extremely sexist underpinnings of the film industry as well as the lack of a strong union for women. The white women surrounding the brown hero is a construction of colonized male fantasy (Fanon) as well as a means of representing a certain economic power which the brown man did not have access to earlier. I explore what these representations mean as well as the economic conditions that make this white presence possible. Without falling into the trap of hating the immigrant can we start to address this almost ubiquitous white presence in media through the notion of precarity? (Butler) Whose lives do these representations and fantasies make precarious and under what conditions? What does the performance of this whiteness do to my understanding of my own body as it redefines it is as one with a lack and constitutes a desire that is based on a racist construction of gender as well as a sexist construction of race? And what might some of the possibilities be to resist such representations? Full paper here: Showingoffskin_Confpaper
Listening to Photographers: Exploring the politics of image making practices through participatory photography In International NGO’s: Representations of Global Poverty and Development. Goldsmiths. London. UK.
This paper explored participatory photography as a more ethical and political alternative to mainstream photography in its ability to provide for a space in representation for marginalised communities. Full conference paper here: Listening_to_Photographers
Identity and Performance in the work of Rotimi Fani-Kayode and Samuel Fosso
‘…my body is and is not mine. Given over from the start to the world of others, bearing their imprint, formed within the crucible of social life, the body is only later, and with some uncertainty, that to which I lay claim as my own.’ (Butler, 2004:21)
This paper aims to look at and explore how the notion of performativity of Identity and its consequent freezing of that performance deconstructs essentialist aspects of bi- nary classifications of race and sexuality in the work of Rotimi Fani-Kayode. It also seeks to explore as to how this notion expands the concept of identity making it malleable, multi- ple and fantastical while transcending the superficial binaries of traditional/modern in the work of Samuel Fosso. This would be done through the medium of theoretical texts by Ju- dith Butler exploring the constructions of the essentialist notion of gender(Butler, 1990,1999,2004), Homi K Bhabha exploring the concepts of postcolonial and postmod- ern(1993,1994,1999), Stuart Hall and Mark Sealy who explore black identity (2001) and Kobena Mercer (1996) on Rotimi Fani-Kayode .
The first chapter introduces the work of Rotimi Fani Kayode and the world he lived in and worked. It explores his work in the context of the themes of race and sexuality that he worked with. The second chapter explores the work of Samuel Fosso through the notions of fantasy and self portraiture. The third chapter seeks to understand as to how normative discourses of identity are deconstructed or fissured through the methods of photographic practice with both their work. I would like to further open up the debate by looking at how images are constructed differently for both of them and yet they arrive at the same post constructed image readings, or new spaces that they have created for themselves.
Submitted as part of M A Photography at UCA Rochester in 2008.
Full paper here: Identity and Performance