Jyoti Dhar

  • “(Not) Just a Historical Document”

    “The name of the game is Dialogue,” an expressionless female face tells us in a booming robotic voice. The rules of the game are simple, but bear repeating for the sake of emphasis: Keep playing and keep talking; keep playing and keep talking. “Let us now begin our dialogue,” she says, piquing our curiosity. “You’ve lost.”

    At first, Danny Ning Tsun Yung’s single-channel video Game, 1986, appears to suggest that debate, dialogue, and reasoning are the origin of game logic. However, as the video continues and the participant loses no matter what, this absurd game points to the meaninglessness of

  • Gauri Gill

    “Who does the indigenous turn belong to?” asked keynote speaker Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak at the Dhaka Art Summit in Bangladesh this past February. The postcolonial theorist posed this question in response to the recent focus on so-called indigenous practices—a focus made manifest, in particular, in a critical-writing program at the summit. Prodding us to question the very term indigenous and its historical origins, Spivak recalled the distinction between work that acts as an extension of the colonial project and work that subverts it.

    The same month, Gauri Gill held her exhibition “Acts

  • Munem Wasif

    There is nothing new about science fiction containing an under-lying social message. An exhibition of photographs, prints, and video art that evokes a sci-fi aesthetic and sounds a warning siren for urgent social, political, and ecological issues in South Asia does, however, give one pause for thought. Bangladesh-born Munem Wasif’s solo exhibition “Jomin o Joban—a tale of the land” opened with a series of monochrome, light-gray landscapes of barren mountain passes and scree that brought to mind an extraterrestrial terrain such as the desolate moonscape of Anarres in Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1974

  • “Evidence Room”

    Over the past decade, timely art festivals such as “48°C Public.Art.Ecology” (2008) and the “Yamuna-Elbe Project” (2011) have highlighted some of New Delhi’s most pressing environmental issues, including rising temperatures, toxic water supplies, and a growing population. Among these initiatives, nonprofit organization Khoj International Artists’ Association stands out for its consistent and long-term approach to public-art, community-oriented, and ecology-based programs in India. One such program, “Negotiating Routes: Ecologies of the Byways” (2010–14), combined these three interest areas and

  • “SUNSHOWER: CONTEMPORARY ART FROM SOUTHEAST ASIA, 1980S TO NOW”

    At a time when Western alliances such as NATO and the EU are under unprecedented threat, other international post–World War II consortia have taken on renewed significance.“Sunshower” marks the fifty-year anniversary of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), a ten-country trade partnership founded in 1967, with a major presentation of eighty-five artists from the member nations. Hoping to sidestep the often-reductive frameworks of large-scale, geography-based surveys, the fourteen-person curatorial

  • the Kochi-Muziris Biennale

    IN HER 2013 ESSAY “Globalism Before Globalization,” critic and curator Nancy Adajania recounts how, in 1968, the first Triennale India was initially misunderstood and rejected by the art community, and later mummified by the retrograde vision of a meddlesome state. She contrasts this star-crossed endeavor with the Delhi Biennale of 2005, which was artist-backed but short-lived because it had no state support at all. As her text rightly suggests, between these extremes lies the model for a potentially successful recurrent exhibition. The Kochi-Muziris Biennale, located in Kerala and now in its

  • the 11th Shanghai Biennale

    In 1991, three young filmmakers from New Delhi were discussing the future of the world over a late-night game of carom (table billiards) when they decided to write their first script together. The resultant film, Half the Night Left, and the Universe to Comprehend, 1991, marked the formalization of the three-way partnership among Jeebesh Bagchi, Shuddhabrata Sengupta, and Monica Narula as Raqs Media Collective. Raqs’s artistic approach, involving cinematic, philosophical, social, and digital pursuits, as well as their cerebral force, often pulls other practitioners into their orbit and is fueled

  • Rana Begum

    London is a city best encountered on the move. As the to-and-fro of commuters and the rhythmic waves of visitors synchronize into one homogenous beat, we tend to overlook the colorful moments that can punctuate the dull monotony and give this city its eclectic character, from neon-yellow underground railings against charcoal-gray business suits to steel-drum street music accompanied by the drilling sounds of construction, or a graffiti-covered parking lot at the foot of a sharp, shiny skyscraper. Tuning in to these varying pulses and contrasting facades, however, is the perfect way to prepare

  • Asim Waqif

    For those of us who call New Delhi home, dystopia can be a lived rather than imagined condition; societal ills range from constant attacks on civil liberties under the current right-wing Hindu nationalist government to disease-inducing levels of air and water pollution. Many artists respond to this toxic state of affairs through politics—organizing and attending protests, writing petitions and opinion pieces like their fellow citizens. Though their work often engages with political content, these artists rarely employ overt activist methodologies. Particularly among the younger generation,