The Persistence of Memory : Problems in Documenting and Historicizing Contemporary Performance Art in India
Public Lecture by Samudra Kajal Saikia
Moderated by Sumangala Damodaran
4 March 2015, 6 pm | Conference Room, School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU, New Delhi
As the recipient of the Ila Dalmia FICA Research Grant in 2013 Samudra Kajal Saikia has researched on multiple aspects of Contemporary Performance Art in India under his project, Understanding Performance as Art and Beyond : Multiple Gaze. The project has been engaged in historicizing the new trends of Performance Art in India by tracing art historical references, as well as reflecting on the various guises in which performance art has made cross-generational and inter-media experimentation not only possible but also intellectually engaging.
The public lecture will bring together the ideas, reflections and propositions that have emerged from this project. Instead of following a linear chronology the presentation will focus on two dialectical key apparatus: appropriating and problematising: how across the time the formal executions of performance try to appropriate itself within 'art' ; and concurrently how it problematises not only other disciplines but also itself. Denying a uni-linear evolution and a singular contextual social history, the contemporary situation appears highly responsive towards a discursive dialogue around its own semiotics. Perhaps this is one of the key reasons why the genre has gained such prominence in India.
A display of the research materials, inquiries, methods and findings in the form of text, image and video, will also be presented at the venue.
Samudra Kajal Saikia is a practitioner of interdisciplinary art practices (including performance, public art and videos) and is a writer. He has a MA in Visual Arts (Art History) from M.S University, Baroda and is the Founder and Creative Director of Kathputlee Arts and Films, New Delhi. He is engaged in a self-driven theatrical practice coined as Disposable Theatre that works within multidisciplinary paradigms. Samudra was also the recipient of the FICA Public Art Grant 2010.
Sumangala Damodran is an economist and a musician, working at the Ambedkar University, Delhi and is associated with the School of Development Studies and the School of Culture and Creative Expressions. She has been involved in research and documentation of a forgotten musical tradition, that of the Indian People's Theatre Association, from the 1940s and 1950s, which will soon be published as a book. Holding a PhD in Economics and after a 17-year teaching career at Delhi University's Lady Shri Ram College, she has been involved with the setting up of the School of Culture and Creative Expressions at Ambedkar University, Delhi which is a unique interdisciplinary arts education and practice initiative and has also, in recent years, been involved with research and teaching in Popular Music Studies in this capacity. Her most recent project is on a historical and musical exploration of the minor note based melodies resembling the Raga Bhairavi that can be heard across diverse cultures spanning from India to North Africa and Spain.
The Ila Dalmia FICA Research Grant was instituted in 2013 by the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art, with the support of art historian and curator Yashodhara Dalmia in the memory of her sister, the acclaimed writer and poet Ila Dalmia (1944-2003) and her lifelong support to the arts.