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.
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.