ReForming India—Artistic Collectives Bend International Art Practices

Panel Discussion Mon 16 Apr 2007 6.30PM-8.30PM The New School, Wollman Hall
55 West 11th Street (enter at 66 West 12th Street), 5th Floor
Admission: $8, free for all students, as well as New School faculty, staff and alumni with valid ID
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India's economic boom has dazzled investors and captivated the world. But beyond the gleam of computer industries lie corruption, environmental waste, and an elite that struggles with the socialist legacy. What are the challenges and opportunities for cultural projects in a climate of economic expectations and sociopolitical contradictions? What relevance does the public domain have within the cultural discourse and artistic practice in this area of the world?
The panel discussion examines various forms of artist-driven, interdisciplinary collectives in India that have developed as antidotes to the few official contemporary art institutions, which are largely inaccessible to young artists and thus a dysfunctional part of the public sphere. Facing a lack of institutional infrastructure, these collectives have given rise to participatory and interdisciplinary platforms that have spread from India throughout the world, involving artists, curators, researchers, activists or new media workers. In the absence of local funding, the collectives are assuming a quasi-institutional status that often extends their activities internationally, either for fundraising, research or artistic purposes. The results are institutions that feed internationally, in order to navigate the conditions on the ground, in a disembodied form of the public sphere. Among the subjects these institutions tackle are urban development (PUKAR or crit in Mumbai, Sarai in Delhi), artistic workshops and residencies (Khoj in Delhi), local socio-political developments (Open Circle in Mumbai) or the societal role of new media (also Sarai/Raqs).

Nina Moentmann, curator and critic, Hamburg

Jaishri Abichandani, artist and curator, founder of South Asian Women's Creative Collective
Madhusree Dutta, filmmaker
Vyjayanthi Rao, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs, The New School

This event is presented on occasion of the Vera List Center's program cycle on "The Public Domain."