Vivaad - a series of talks by critical collective


Conceptualized by Critical Collective

Principal Venue Bikaner House

Principal Sponsor Serendipity Arts Foundation


To address the need to have active conversations around the myriad topics pertinent to today’s context, a collaboration between the venue, Bikaner House and the principal sponsor, Serendipity Arts Foundation came about. 

This series of talks resulted in an exhibition titled ‘Part Narratives’ that was showcased in Delhi and in Mumbai in 2017.

26 September, 2016

Public Places, Social Spaces

Speakers: Anita Dube, Tushar Joag, Sharmila Sawant

Moderated by Gayatri Sinha

In the contemporary scenario, the belief in the artist as a liberated individual is offset by the demands of spectatorship and somewhat vexed category of the public and its art. As an art work moves through a global field it encounters multiple ‘sites’ – the circuits of biennales, the migrating and unnamed publics of the net, group interests determined by economic and political understanding, but also the filters of ecology, location and under the right wing, class and religion. While conventionally the viewer was seen as receiving a discrete work of art, she may be now repositioned as a co-producer or participant. Within India, the terms of a public engagement appear poised for a remediation. Public engagement and the avante garde modernist intentions – of street and travelling theatre companies, artist initiatives in community areas and even the category of art and activism appear to have a shrinking presence. At the same time, the ‘public’ nature of art has shifted to accommodate a complex visual field, determined by media and spectacular representation. Consider the artistic response within India to war and events in the West Asia since the mid-90s, and the number of works produced to image destroyed art sites. At the other end of the spectrum is the commissioning of massive works in malls, museums, parks, building exteriors which affirm wealth and a ‘civilizing’ social influence of art. And lastly there is the artist driven by community interests who may seek to create participatory art, which is concerned with democracy and ethics. To what extent do we in India understand public art where the artist is less the producer of discrete objects than as a catalyst, a collaborator and a producer of situations? If attempts in the past have produced one kind of action what present and future models may be anticipated? What are its contours, its funding mechanisms and its affects?

November 2, 2016

Perform Repeat Record – Body as Artistic Device

Speakers: Nikhil Chopra, Samudra Saigal Saikia, Amitesh Grover, Zuleikha Chaudhuri

Moderated by Anuradha Kapur

The title is borrowed from a book edited by Amelia Jones. It speaks of the act of performance and its transition from an ephemeral to a ‘captured’ form, often, filmed for circulation and posterity. How do performance artists see these states, in their negotiation with temporality, space and spectators? Further, how do we see the elements used to create identity in performance?

10 January  2017

Migration, Borders and Global Capital 1:

Homi Bhabha in conversation with  Gayatri Sinha

Against the backdrop of the 70th anniversary of Partition, the subject of migration has amplified into a global concern. The figures for Partition, where UNHCR estimates that 12 to 14 million people crossed the border are staggering. At present figures however, it is India’s internal migration which is second only to China that exceeds even those figures. In parts of North India, the word for ‘foreign’ and for the neighbouring state are both ‘pardesh’ distinguished from ‘desh’ which means nation but also a cultural location.

In effect, movement is seasonal and circular, and allows large numbers to be in a perpetual state of the unlocated, the unstable, the moving. In effect, the migrant may be in perpetual quest. From the 1950s in Indian popular cinema literature and poetry, the idea of the ‘desh’ as pure, the locus of childhood and youth and ‘pardes’ as a site of corruption has played out. As populations become ‘floating’ and invisible, the cultural fabric of the country heaves and shifts.

Migration as a consequence of war, and as the promise of capitalism is playing out in different parts of the world.


20 January  2017

Migration, Borders and Global Capital 2

Speakers: Helen Hirsch, Dr. Jonathan Harris, Madhushree Datta, Dr. Parul Dave Mukherji

Moderated by Gayatri Sinha

Invites from the series of talks