2019

Projects / Processes (P/P) is an initiative launched by Serendipity Arts Foundation in 2017 to publish commissioned research essays, longform writing and in-depth criticism that explore the ideas and processes behind select curatorial projects at Serendipity Arts Festival. The Projects / Processes series offers an opportunity to give projects and the stories that they tell continued life, through a deeply engaged look at how they came together and their significance to the discourse of contemporary art in India moving forward. Each volume comprises essays covering distinct projects that stand in some dialogue with each other, through the questions they raise and the thematic landscape they cover.

Over the next few weeks, we will be introducing the writers of Projects/Processes 2019 and the essays they have written, which will be viewable in PDF form on this website.

Managing Editor: Nandita Jaishankar
Series Editor: Senjuti Mukherjee 
Copy-editor: Arushi Vats

 

  • Essay 1

    Space and Place: Sonic Thoughts, Tensions, and Trajectories

    by Gautam Pemmaraju

    Gautam Pemmaraju is a Mumbai based writer, independent filmmaker and creative consultant who works in the areas of history, literature and art. He has published extensively on sound/music production and aesthetics, sound culture and acoustic phenomena. His documentary film A Tongue Untied: The Story of Dakhani (2017) on the vernacular satire and humour poetry of the Deccan and history of Dakhani, continues to show periodically at various venues.

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  • Essay 2

    Live Art and Ecology: A Performative Mapping of Speculative Futures

    by Najrin Islam

    An independent researcher and writer, Najrin Islam is a postgraduate from the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), India. She has written for several platforms including Critical Collective, ArtAsiaPacific and the National Cinema Series published by Rowman and Littlefield. Najrin was awarded the first Art Writers’ Award 2018-19 by TAKE on art magazine and Swiss-Arts Council Pro Helvetia which resulted in a residency and an associated publication titled Archive as Medium: Exploring the Performative Body. She has worked as the Associate Editor for Art Dose magazine, Cinema edition (October 2019) which focused on marginal histories of Indian cinema and questions of visibility across changing bodies of reception. Najrin is currently writing about Five Million Incidents on its official blog, ‘Plural Futures’, a year-long series of projects organised by Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan (New Delhi and Kolkata) and curated by Raqs Media Collective (https://fivemillionincidents.blog/). Her research interests include cinematic histories, archival studies and their various intersections in the arts.

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  • Essay 3

    New Dialogues with Analogue: Indian Experiments on Film

    by Mrinalini Vasudevan

    Mrinalini Vasudevan is Senior Assistant Editor at Marg, one of India’s longest running arts journals. She has a background in English Literature and Arts and Aesthetics and is interested in urban studies, popular culture, cinema and advertising. She has contributed articles and reviews to The Hindu and The Four Quarters Magazine, edited a book on Jamshedpur for Tata Steel and conducted a workshop at the O.P. Jindal Global University’s Editing in Practice course.

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  • Essay 4

    Who's Afraid of Documentary Theatre? & De-Deciding History

     

    Who’s Afraid of Documentary Theatre?
    by Anuja Ghosalkar and Kai Tuchmann

    De-Deciding History
    by Soumyabrata Choudhury

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    To learn more about Connecting Realities: A Symposium on Theatre and its Realities, kindly visit the symposium website.

     

    Anuja Ghosalkar is the founder of Drama Queen—a Documentary theatre company, evolving a unique form of theatre in India since 2015. Her practice focuses on personal histories, archival absences, and blurring the hierarchies between audience and performer—to extend the idea of theatre to create audacious work.

    Iterations around form and process, modes of (social) media, sites, technologies, reclaiming narratives on gender and intimacy are critical to her performance making and pedagogy.

    As artist-in-residence at Art Lab Gnesta, Sweden she created her debut show, Lady Anandi which travelled extensively across India, and showcased independently in Berlin and Stockholm. Her performances and workshops have been programmed by University of Oxford, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Serendipity Arts Festival, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Forum Transregionale – ZMO, First Post, Kerala Museum, FLAME University among others. Anuja is the co-curator of the international workshop series on Documentary Theatre with her German collaborator—that programmed artists like Boris Nikitin, Rimini Protokoll, Zhao Chuan, and Gobsquad. As visiting faculty at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology since 2016, she leads practicebased pedagogy. In the past, she was programme officer at India Foundation for the Arts, film programmer for Experimenta and India researcher for University of Westminster. She is an Art Think South Asia Fellow (2017-18) and has written on film and performance for Nang Magazine, Art India, Bioscope, Hakara, Scroll, and Ladies Finger.

    Kai Tuchmann is a director and dramaturge whose theatre works circle around the very specific relationship that theatre claims with events in the real world. In this context Kai is interested in theatre’s division between spectators and performers—which turns theatre into a paradigmatic site of reality construction. His works engage in particular with the question of how technologies of theatre, ranging from acting techniques to the utilisation of new media in performance, contribute to the production of truth claims and reality effects. Kai is developing his approach of theatre in close collaboration with artists from China and India. His stagings and dramaturgies were invited, among others, to I Dance Hong Kong, Seoul Marginal Theatre Festival, Zürcher Theaterspektakel, Kunstfest Weimar, Festival d’Automne à Paris, Wuzhen Theatre Festival, Asia Society New York, and OCAT Shenzhen. Thematically, these works examine, among other things, the afterlife of the Cultural Revolution in present-day China, the effects of urban development on the population of migrant workers, and the application of digital technologies.

    Kai studied Directing at Drama Academy Ernst Busch, Berlin. He is a member of Beijing’s Central Academy of Drama – Dramaturgy Faculty, where he develops, together with Li Yinan, the curriculum for the first Dramaturgy program in Asia. He has taught and lectured at Beijing University, University of California Santa Cruz, Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi. Currently he is a Fulbright Scholar at The Graduate Center, City University New York. Kai published articles and chapter contributions on dramaturgy and documentary theatre in several books (eg. for Routledge and the Brecht Yearbook) and he has written for Theatre Times and the German weekly Der Freitag.

    Soumyabrata Choudhury is Associate Professor at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharal Nehru University. He has previously taught at CSSSC, Kolkata, and has been a fellow at CSDS, Delhi and IIAS, Shimla. Choudhury is the author of Theatre, Number, Event: Three Studies on the Relationship between Sovereignty, Power and Truth (2013) and Ambedkar and Other Immortals: An Untouchable Research Programme (2018). His latest book is Now It’s Come To Distances: Notes on Coronavirus and Shaheen Bagh, Association and Isolation (2020). He has also acted and directed in a number of performances across the country for the last thirty years. His latest performance was an adaptation of Franz Kafka’s story A report to the Academy at the Expression Lab, Pune, in July 2019.

     

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  • Essay 5

    Experiments in Shared Time

    by Samira Bose

    Samira Bose is Programmes Coordinator at Asia Art Archive in India, an independent non-profit dedicated to documenting and making accessible recent histories of art from across Asia. Together with colleagues, she facilitates discursive programmes, workshops, and exhibitions to activate archival and library collections. She completed her MA in Arts & Aesthetics at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

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  • Essay 6

    Image Journeys: The Conquest of the World as Picture

    by Suryanandini Narain

     

    Suryanandini Narain is Assistant Professor of Visual Studies at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her doctoral thesis addressed the feminine figure in family photographs from Delhi. She has written extensively on photography in India, especially around themes of women, the family, the home and studio photography, in publications including Marg Magazine, Art India, Visual Anthropology Review, Trans Asia Photography Review and others. A recipient of scholarships from the Ford Foundation, INLAKS and ICSSR, she has also been involved as an outreach coordinator for Marg Magazine. At SAA, JNU, she teaches courses on Indian visual culture, photography, aesthetic theory and critical writing. She also has M. Phil. and Doctoral research students working on graphic novels, digital feminism, documentary photography, queer theory, and bazaar art.

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  • Essay 7

    Past, Present, Astral

    by Mila Samdub

     

    Mila Samdub is a writer and researcher based in New Delhi. He was a curator at Khoj International Artists’ Association and is currently studying at the Yale School of Architecture. He works on contemporary technology and modernist architecture. The future is his abiding research interest.

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  • Essay 8

    Performing Chhau: Reflections on Mediation and Tradition

    by Sujaan Mukherjee

     

    Sujaan Mukherjee heads Education and Outreach at DAG’s Ghare Baire museum-exhibition in Kolkata and has just submitted his doctoral dissertation on colonial memory in urban spaces in Kolkata, at Jadavpur University. A recipient of IFA’s Archival Fellowship, he looks to cross disciplinary boundaries in his writing and research. Sujaan was also part of the team that started the campaign to save Gurusaday Museum, a repository of folk art from undivided Bengal.

     

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  • Essay 9

    Celebrating the Demoness: Shadow Play as Performance and Real Life

    by Manjima Chatterjee

     

    Manjima Chatterjee is a drama explorer, teacher and occasional writer. Manjima read English at St Stephen’s College, Delhi University, and Sociology at the Delhi School of Economics. She has a PG Diploma in Drama in Education (Theatre for Education and Social Transformation) under Maya Krishna Rao from Shiv Nadar University. Her articles have appeared in Arts Praxis, the Arts-inEducation journal of NYU Steinhardt, as well as in anthologies such as Nation, Nationalism and the Public Sphere (Sage; Banerjee and Ray, eds), and newspapers such as The Hindu, The Hindu Business Line, Education World and Hindustan Times. She was shortlisted for the BBC’s International Radio Playwriting Competition and won The Hindu Metro Plus Playwright Award in 2013. Her book, Two Plays on Hunger, was published by Dhauli Press in 2018, and her play, Mountain of Bones, was published in Creating a Profession: Disparate Voices of Indian Women Playwrights, an anthology of works by female Indian playwrights.

    Manjima has conducted workshops on drama-in-education with teachers from schools across the country, including the DPS group of schools, and was privileged to moderate a panel introducing drama and storytelling based learning to a delegation of 1500 Sahodaya School Principals at the 25th National Conference of Sahodaya School Complexes held in November 2019. She teaches drama and serves as the Central Arts Curriculum Lead at Shiv Nadar Schools.

     

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  • Essay 10

    Phenomenal Fictions

    by Alisha Sett

     

    Alisha Sett is a writer, curator, and educator. She is Course Director for Aesthetics, Criticism and Theory at Jnanapravaha Mumbai, and part of the collectives: Kashmir Photo Collective, Guncotton and Round O Films.

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  • Essay 11

    Constructing Traditions: The Jamdani Within Exhibition Practice of Handicrafts

    by Abeer Gupta

     

    Abeer Gupta is currently the director of the Krishnakriti Foundation in Hyderabad and the Achi Association India in New Delhi and Leh. He has directed several documentary films and curated art, education and community media projects. His research is based in the western Himalayas, in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir around oral histories, material cultures, and visual archives. His publications include, The Visual and Material Culture of Islam in Ladakh (2014), Discovering the Self and Others in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh (Sage, 2014), and A Sense of Place: Islam in the Western Himalaya (Marg, 2018).

     

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  • Essay 12

    Acting in Concert: Reflections on Women in Alliance

    by Parvathi Ramanathan

    Parvathi Ramanathan
    is a researcher, writer and arts manager working across disciplines, with a keen focus on the performing arts through her work at Gati Dance Forum and Pro Helvetia New Delhi. She did her MPhil in Theatre and Performance Studies from the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She is interested in questions of identity pertaining to nations and borders, especially looking at how they manifest in the body and in everyday life. Her written work on these themes can be found in Ligament, Howlround, The Wire among other publications. She is a trained Bharatanatyam dancer, exploring other forms of movement as a means of expression and therapy.  Parvathi is motivated to work towards creating inclusive and accessible platforms for art, and particularly enjoys community engagement. She is a recipient of the Arts Research Grant 2020-21 by the India Foundation for the Arts.

     

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  • Essay 13

    “Kaghzi Hai Pairahan: Theatrical Takes on Ismat Chughtai’s Non-fiction”

    by Maya Palit

    Maya Palit is a Delhi-based editor and occasional writer. She is currently Books Editor at The Caravan magazine, where her work involves editing longform essays on politics, history and culture. She has worked in publishing and digital newsrooms and her interests include fiction and music.

     

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  • Essay 14

    Acts of Power: Performing Memory Against Legality

    by Trina Nileena Banerjee

    After completing her MA in English Literature from Jadavpur University, Trina Nileena Banerjee proceeded to complete a Masters of Studies (M St.) in English at the University of Oxford. For her PhD, she worked on a history of women in the group theatre movement in Bengal between 1950 and 1980. She has also been researching the interfaces between women’s movements and political theatre in contemporary Manipur for several years now. Her essays and reviews on these and other subjects have appeared in national and international journals, as well as in several edited volumes. She writes both in English and in Bengali. Between 2011 and 2013, she taught at the Theatre and Performance Studies Department at the School of Arts and Aesthetics in Jawaharlal Nehru University. She is currently Assistant Professor in Cultural Studies at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta. Her research interests include Gender, Performance, Political Theatre, Theories of the Body, Postcolonial Theatre and South Asian History. She has also been a theatre and film actress, as well as a journalist and fiction writer. Her book Performing Silence: Women in the Group Theatre Movement in Bengal is forthcoming from Oxford University Press (India) in June 2021

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  • Essay 15

    Confronting Historical Residues for the Future

    by Krishnapriya C P

    Krishnapriya C P is a practicing visual artist based in Chennai. She completed her Masters from the Govt. College of Fine Arts, Chennai. Her work is multidisciplinary in nature; she uses paintings, drawings, collage, found objects and sculptural installations to engage with her concerns.

    The works primarily deal with the self and its relationship with the environment. History and local political discourses are also woven into the imagery that she creates. She is interested in understanding the process of art pedagogy, contemporary art practices and transdisciplinary engagements.

    Her other interests are history, theatre and environmental studies. She has been part of numerous art exhibitions and art workshops. She was one of the curators of the two editions of the Students’ Biennale, Kochi (2016-17 and 2018-19). She was a resident artist at University of Pennsylvania in the fall of 2017 and the summer 2019, supported by the South Asia Centre, University of Pennsylvania.

  • Essay 16

    Dear Brendan, Dear Aruna: Thoughts on Diaspora, Culture, and Being in the World 

    By Aruna D’Souza and Brendan Fernandes

    Aruna D’Souza is a writer and critic based in the US. Her most recent book, Whitewalling: Art, Race, and Protest in 3 Acts (Badlands Unlimited), was named one of the best art books of 2018 by the New York Times. Her work appears regularly in 4Columns.org, where she is a member of the editorial advisory board, and she is a regular contributor to the New York Times. She is currently editing Making It Modern: A Linda Nochlin Reader (Thames & Hudson, 2022), and recently edited Lorraine O’Grady’s Writing in Space 1973-2018. She is the co-curator of the retrospective of O’Grady’s work, Both/And, which opened in March 2021 at the Brooklyn Museum.

    Brendan Fernandes is an internationally recognised Canadian artist working at the intersection of dance and visual arts. Currently based out of Chicago, Brendan’s projects address issues of race, queer culture, migration, protest, and other forms of collective movement. Always looking to create new spaces and new forms of agency, Brendan’s projects take on hybrid forms: part Ballet, part queer dance hall, part political protest. . .always rooted in collaboration and fostering solidarity. Brendan is a graduate of the Whitney Independent Study Program (2007) and a recipient of a Robert Rauschenberg Fellowship (2014). In 2010, he was shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award, and is the recipient of a prestigious 2017 Canada Council New Chapters grant. Brendan is also the recipient of the Artadia Award (2019), a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (2020) and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant (2019). His projects have shown at the 2019 Whitney Biennial (New York); the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York); the Museum of Modern Art (New York); The Getty Museum (Los Angeles); the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa); MAC (Montreal); among a great many others. He is currently artist-inresidency and Assistant Professor at Northwestern University and represented by Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago.

  • Essay 17

    Catalysing Interventions: Redefining Ceramic and Glass Craft Communities with Design

    By Kristine Michael

    Kristine Michael is a ceramic artist, researcher, curator and arts educator based in New Delhi. She has held over 26 solo shows and participated in international and national group shows. She is the recipient of Junior Fellowship from the Ministry of Culture, The Charles Wallace Trust Award, Sanskriti Award, among others. She was a research scholar under the Nehru Trust at the Victoria and Albert Museum (London) for the study of nineteenth century Indian ceramics in its collections and has curated the Ceramics Gallery at the renovated Albert Hall Museum (Jaipur). She recently curated an exhibition ‘The Art of Kripal Singh Shekhawat’ for Delhi Art Gallery, which was showcased at the Indian Ceramics Triennale 2018 (Jaipur) and Museum of Legacies (Jaipur). She is currently Curriculum Leader of Visual and Dramatic Arts at The British School New Delhi and a PhD scholar at School of Arts and Aesthetics JNU.