Creative Encounters with Science and Technology

Legacies, Imaginaries and Futures

at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016
February 18-19, 2017

Institutional Partners
Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bengaluru
CEPT University, Ahmedabad
Transtechnology Research, Plymouth University, Plymouth

with support from Geothe-Zentrum, Thiruvananthapuram




Saturday, February 18, 2017

9.00     Arrival and registration

10.00     Welcome and Introduction by Joanna Griffin and Muthatha Ramanathan

10.30    Archit Guha, Srishti Institute
Steaming Histories of the Present: Situating the Art-Science Movement in India

10.50    Geetha Narayanan, Srishti Institute
Critical Reflections on Art-Science Pedagogy

11.10    BREAK

11.30    Gautam Sharma, Central University of Gujarat
Alternative Imagination of Science and Technology in India: A Historical Perspective

11.50    Sandeep Mertia, The Sarai Programme, CSDS
Did Mahalanobis Dream of Androids?

12.10     Panel Discussion

1.00    LUNCH & Marialaura Ghidini, Srishti Institute
Installation – Silicon Plateau

2.00    Jacqui Knight, Plymouth University
The Ecology of Photographic Practices Towards an Aesthetic of the Posthuman

2.20    Gavin Keeney, CEPT University
Representation as Research?

2.40    Dina Boswank, Bauhaus University (Supported by Goethe-Zentrum Trivandrum)
‘Construction for Destruction’: A research study into notions of technology, creativity and participation in India by reenacting the letter publications of G.D. Naidu

3.00     Panel Discussion

3.30      BREAK

3.45     Dinaz Kalwachwala in conversation with Joanna Griffin
Another Satellite TV: Transdisciplinarity and media in 1970s Ahmedabad and Kheda

4.15     Shai Heredia, Srishti Institute, Experimenta India
Artists in Action (Curated film)

5.15 – 6.00     Panel Discussion


Sunday, February 19, 2017

10.00    Agi Haines, Plymouth University
Ideas Exchange in simulating technological scenarios

10.20    Sharath Chandra Ram, Srishti Institute
Signal Territories, Infrastructures and Intermediaries: New interfaces for Art, Science and Policy

10.40    Nicholas Chrisman and Dennis Dreher,
Weaving art, design and computer graphics at the Harvard Lab 1967-1982

11.00    Shruti Tamboli, CEPT University
Taknik and Technology :  Meanings of Makings

11.30     BREAK

11.45    Panel Discussion

12.45    Eugenia Stamboliev, Plymouth University
Performing emotions: Humanoid robots beyond bad acting

1.15    LUNCH & Marialaura, Srishti Institute
Installation – Silicon Plateau

2.15    Hannah Drayson, Plymouth University
All kinds of magic; instrumental representations of mind-body medicine as a way to make things happen

2.45     Zainab Bawa, HasGeek Learning
The narrative of digital colonialism – and the project to build Indian technology for India

3.15   BREAK

3.30    Snehal Nagarsheth, CEPT University
Astronomical Landscapes

4.00    Chandan Gowda, Azim Premji University
The Pasts of Technology

4.30 – 5.30    Panel Discussion and Closing Thoughts





Please register for the symposium by sending an email to this address with your name, affiliation (if any) and contact email: [email protected].

Registration is free, but we need to know numbers for catering and to send out information prior to the event. Tea, coffee and snacks will be provided. Lunch and dinner will be extra.



Concept Note


By focusing on creative encounters, the symposium aims to amplify transdisciplinary negotiations of art and science via tangible technologies and intangible infrastructures, through social domains As a fresh wave of media ideologies enter India’s state policy, such as in the form of the Smart Cities Mission, the symposium provides a timely pause for reflection on the roots, legacies and consequences of participatory technological infrastructures, in India as well as on the global stage.

In the context of India, a thread we are interested in opening through the symposium is the cosmopolitan, critical discourse that took place in India through the 1960s to 1980s around the extent to which development technologies, such as television, space technology, farming methods and nuclear power delimited or extended agency. Sources from this time that retrace concerns for intimacy within large-scale infrastructure and its structural blind spots include Johan Galtung’s ‘Violence, Peace and Peace Research’ (1969), Victor Papanek’s Design for the Real World (1971), Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish (1977), Ivan Illich’s ‘The De-linking of Peace and Development’ (1980), and Ashis Nandy’s ‘Counter-Statement on Humanistic Temper’ (1981). In addition, the public discourse and activities of key technocrats in India’s media histories, such as Yash Pal and Vikram Sarabhai, forged connections between science, technology, design and the arts. The notion of transdiciplinarity, as used in recent times to describe temporary mobilisations of a range of disciplinary perspectives in order to engage with emerging problems (Nowotny, Scott and Gibbons, 2001), becomes a relevant analytical tool with which to reassess less familiar patterns of creativity within genealogies of art/science encounters.

Setting such discussions within the Kochi-Muziris Biennale draws attention to the performance of science as experience, affect and visuality, which marks artistic practices and intervention. It highlights the intimate contexts in which large-scale technological infrastructures are encountered. The symposium, as intervention, sets out to critically re-examine historical experiences in order to better negotiate future scenarios.





Dr Joanna Griffin is a UK artist who is currently a Teaching Fellow conducting postdoctoral research at CEPT University, Ahmedabad in the Faculty of Design. She is also Associate Researcher with Transtechnology Research, Plymouth University and former Artist-in-Residence at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, where she led a three-year project called Moon Vehicle that brought together space scientists, design students and children. As an artist she has held an International Artist Fellowship at the NASA Space Science Lab, UC Berkeley and devised a performance with scientists from the Mullard Space Science Lab in the UK. Her current research focuses on collaboration between the Indian space agency and the National Institute of Design that took place in the 1970s in Ahmedabad. She has presented in space industry conferences internationally and writes about the motivations behind transdisciplinary activities between artists and scientists.

Dr Muthatha Ramanathan is a human geographer who has conducted extensive ethnographic research into the use of remote sensing technologies by NGOs in Karnataka. In her dissertation research she developed a place-based critique of technocratic spatial planning in India. She is Faculty at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology leading the postgraduate programme in Land and Livelihood Studies. Her current interests are centred around researching and teaching across disciplinary boundaries, specifically working with design students to historicise design and thereby develop connections between the politics of place and difference, and art and design practices.