The Archive of K.Kalpana

K. Kalpana is a fictional character created by Rashmi Munikempanna

The Archives of Kadudevandahalli Kalpana

Kalpana has worked as a freelance English teacher in various call centres in Bangalore for the past fifteen years. She walked away in September 2018 ‘in search of the miraculous’.

Her archive, currently being put together by Rashmi Munikempanna, consists of work that was made for publication but never published. It exists in the form of photographs, writing, video, sound and digital art. The work explores what it means to be diagnosed with mental illness and living in India. Drawing her framework from the work of the feminist psychiatrist, Dr. Judith Herman (author of Trauma and Recovery) and Dr. Eleanor Longden she documents a year of her struggle to keep the violence of the trauma she experienced from being subsumed within a psychiatric diagnosis. She also draws from English and Kannada literature, the feminist movement in India and the writings of Dr.B R Ambedkar in trying to have some kind of agency over origins and illness. While doing so she addresses issues at the intersection of gender, caste, class and mental health in India and specifically Karnataka.

This body of work and the work of creating this archive is an attempt to bring into the discourse issues around mental health not as a therapeutic methodology (even though that might be part of it) but as a way of politicizing illness and addressing the structural causes of mental illness while dismantling the disciplining of the gendered queer body marked by caste and class by the psychiatric hospital. The archive is constructed as being in conversation with the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.

The archive will be updated throughout next year online. It will be exhibited offline in late 2019. Some of her writing and her visual work will be presented as performances throughout this period as well.

The archive can be accessed online here: