partner projects

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DADA on Tour

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Concept note: 2016 marks the centenary of Zurich’s Dada heritage. This outstanding jubilee is an opportunity to make use of the Dada heritage as an archive of inspiration and to show the way ahead in terms of how to nurture and popularize this legacy. Cultural programs defying categories will be offered, combining at once sophisticated, experimental as well as popular, historically reflective and contemporary approaches. This will mean delving into Zurich’s cultural history and in the process, foster and develop further the city’s cultural heritage. The jubilee is aiming for national significance and reach, and at addressing local, national as well as international audiences. The association “Dada 100 Zürich 2016” is responsible for planning and carrying out the Dada Jubilee. It receives assistance from a support committee staffed with well known figures from the fields of culture, society and the economy. Both the City and Canton of Zurich as well as the Swiss Federal Department of Culture are providing the Dada Jubilee with substantial support. Museums and institutions, independent initiatives, festivals and sponsors are invited to play a part and become involved. Apart from deciding the content of core projects, the association initiates, coordinates and supports third party events and acts in the capacity of a “Dada Bank” and umbrella brand. The majority of festivities are to be realized by partners of the jubilee independently.

Venue: Aspinwall House, Fort-Kochi, Kochi-682001

Curator: Juri Steiner

Dates: 12th December 2014 – 13th December 2014.

Website: http://www.dada100zuerich2016.ch/en/

UMMIJAAN- Making Visible a World Within

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Artist: Haleema Hashim

Concept note: After discovering hundreds of photographs in family albums taken by his great grandmother, Haleema Hashim, between the 1950s and the 1970s, the curator, Nihaal Faizal, presents an exhibition which offers on display a survey of her work in the form of a micro retrospective. The photographs in this retrospective make visible domestic and social life of the Kutchi Memon community settled in Cochin during the first few decades following India’s Independence in 1947. The primary body of work on display is titled ‘YasminManzil’ and includes photographs staged in a manner referencing studio photography while using her relatives and children as models and her large joint family house, which served as her home for 45 years, as the backdrop. Also on view are her experiments with 120mm colour negatives and a documentation of the brides of the Kutchi Memon community on their wedding day.

Though the photographs in this exhibition were never shot intended for public display, they are important in making visible a fragment of a small, but significant community that has marked its legacy in Cochin, and its history. By reclaiming personal memory and family history, they also offer an alternative understanding of the practice of photography in the subcontinent and also of the gender norms in a Muslim community in mid-20th century India.

Venue: Aasiya Bai Trust Hall, Door No. CC VI/917, Next to Puthiya Palli, Off Bazaar Road, Mattancherry, Kochi-682002.

Curator: Nihaal Faizal

Dates: 12th December 2014 – 29th March 2015.

Cosmology to Cartography

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Concept note: This exhibition presents the multiple cultural perspectives towards representing the ordered world in the Indian subcontinent. The evolution from early cosmological representations of the ‘World of Mortals’, to pictographic depictions of ritual landscapes and sacred pilgrimage sites, through to the evolution of cartography is testament of the diverse, competing and global interests and influences – religious, economic and political – which have contributed to the perception of ‘India’ as we understand it today.

The exhibition features a rich variety of sources – painted and printed Indian maps produced in the sub-continent and a variety of nations, including original manuscript representations. These date from the late 15th century until the early 19th century and each of them speaks to broader themes. The journey commences with Jain and Hindu cosmological representations, through to painted hangings depicting sacred rivers and pilgrimage sites, and ultimately to the transition of cartographic depictions of the ancient European conception of the subcontinent. The exhibition continues with the first vaguely accurate maps of India done in the wake of Vasco Da Gama’s arrival in 1498, documents the evolution of map making as part of the military contestation for supremacy by various European powers, and ultimately the cartographic consolidation of India through the map makers of the British Raj.

The historical cartography of India charts a progressive quest for the accurate physical depiction of the subcontinent and many of its various regions. However, this journey was not linear, as it was channeled by the particular priorities, limitations, experiences and cultural biases of the mapmakers, who were invariably not native to India. Many maps fundamentally reflect a Europeans’ view of India, and not necessarily India as it truly existed. That being said, much of the cartography made by Europeans heavily relied on the knowledge and support offered by Indians, making it a medium of cultural exchange.

During the 16th Century, Portugal had a virtual monopoly on European interaction with India. However, from the early 1600s, new powers arrived in India, and the maps of the British, Dutch, French, Danes and Belgians speak of their endeavours and their complex interactions with various Indian players. This is followed by maps depicting the contest for imperial dominance over India, fought between France and Britain, backed by their respective Indian allies. With British dominance across the subcontinent came the use of scientific methods to create accurate general maps of India, which could be used as devices of military and juridical power, supporting the creation of ‘The Raj’. This impressive cartography established an estimable intellectual endowment, however, the people of India would have to wait until their nation’s independence in 1947 to assume their ownership of this legacy.

Venue: Heritage Arts, Jew Town, Kochi- 682002

Curator: Vivek Nanda and Alex Johnson

Hosting Gallery: Kalakriti Art Gallery (personal collection of Prshanth Lahoti)

Dates: 12th December 2014 – 29th March 2015

Website: www.kalakriti.in 

Reading Room

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Artist: Multiple artists

Concept note: The ‘Reading Room’, curated by Amit Kumar Jain and presented by Blueprint12, is a journey of discoveries and experiences, of nostalgia and witness; a space where the many and varied perspectives and practices of the book arts find a place of meeting, dialogue and expression.

Book art demands both an aesthetic engagement and critical conceptual inquiry into the work. Aesthetic engagement with book art requires a paradigm shift to reading a different logic in the book: the logic of the visual, textural and cultural. Traditionally, the book has signified knowledge, and can be considered a visually embedded cultural site because of this history (consider the many times that books have been burnt as acts of symbolic violence). It is a site where many versions of history, senses of identity and narratives (both dominant and counter) converge.

The book in contemporary art, is thus an object completely transformed – not just in its structure, but also in its meaning. Walter Benjamin calls this the ‘renewal of existence.’ This sense of renewal is to be experienced in the work of the exhibiting artists brought together in conversation in the ‘Reading Room’. The mood is sometimes fantastical and playful, and sometimes evocative and intimate. At its most activist, it stands as a collective resistance to dominant politics and ideologies. And, as the artist, in many ways, works as an interpreter of the book, so will the viewer of the work.

The experience of reading is deeply personal, whether approached with anticipation, curiosity, or sometimes even with hesitation. Thus, the ‘Reading Room’ invites the reader of this space to carry with them the memory of this experience in a context created for encounter, discussion, and making meaning. The exhibition, at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, is in its third edition, having shown successfully in New Delhi (April 2014) and Mumbai (August-September 2014). The upcoming edition extends the practice of book making and invites artists from Nepal, Pakistan, Doha and the United Kingdom to add to an already exciting roster of artists from India, Sri Lanka, the United States and China.

The exhibition is also an exciting partnership with the Colombo Art Biennale as well as the Nepal Arts Council; institutions that have played a critical role in the promotions of contemporary art practices in their countries.

Venue: Yousuf Art Gallery, 7/644 Jew Town, Kochi- 682002

Curator: Amit Kumar Jain

Support: In association with Colombo Art Biennale and the Nepal Arts Council.

Dates: 14th December 2014 – 6th January 2015

Website: www.blueprint12.com 

Muziris Wharf Roof Prototype

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Concept Note: Built entirely in bamboo, the piece in the Kochi-Muziris Biennala is a prototype for the project proposal for the Pattanam Wharf Roof and in-situ Museum, designed by architect Luis Feduchi. The museum at Pattanam was envisagedby P J Cherian, Director of the Kerala Council of Historic Research, and approved for construction by the Ministry of Tourism of Kerala. Once built in Pattanam, the structure will protect the archaeological findings unearthed in Pattanam, 35 km north of Cochin, and display the remains of the emerging architectural structures, which experts have identified as belonging to the bygone city of Muziris. The Biennale prototype was built as part of an educational and training initiative organized by the UCJC School of Architecture, led by a team of local and international bamboo experts and with the participation of KCHR workers and architecture and engineering students from both UCJC Madrid and CEPT Ahmedabad. The project is part of an on-going research collaboration between the Universidad Camilo José Cela [UCJC] in Madrid and the Kerala Council for Historical Research [KCHR] in Thiruvanathapuram.

Venue: Aspinwall House, Fort-Kochi- 682001

Curator: Luis Feduchi

Support: Universidad Camilo Jose Cela (UCJC) School of Architecture, Madrid, Spain

Dates: 12 December 2014 – 17 March 2015

Collaborations: P J Cherian – Historian, Kerala Council of Historic Research, Thiruvananthapuram A Srivathsan – Architect and journalist, The Hindu, Chennai Elliot Harvie, Jonathan Kopinski, Iwen Kuo, Michael Martin – Architects, ROAD, Centre for Research on Architectural Design, Brisbane Daniel García, Fátima Martín – Architects Eugenia Muscio – Bamboo expert Luis Feduchi – Architect, Madrid, Pondicherry. Alejandro Calle, Marta Toral – Architects, UCJC School of Architecture, Madrid

Website: www.feduchi.netwww.architecture.ucjc.edu 

Malayalam Project

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Art Director: Theresa Joseph George

Content Collaborator: Riyas Komu

Researchers: Divya P, Aleena Sajeev, Usha P

Design: Blessy John, Jaleel KY

Concept Note: Malayalam Project is a collaborative forum for experiments in the Malayalam Alphabet, Language and Lettering / Typography.

The Partner Exhibit at Kochi-Muziris Biennale has been put together from the research and archives of Thought Factory Design & Viakerala in collaboration with Riyas Komu. This exhibit attempts to explore the scope of graphic design and typography in interpreting the language and its letterform.

The Malayalam Project has three parallel threads of exploration:

  • Publishing & Sub-culture

The project aims to explore the nuances of language through examples of written works of authors, poets and even journalists published during the 20th century. With the chosen subject, ‘narrative of woman character in published texts’, the selected passage conveys various levels of information and reflects the socio cultural background of the time. Through the portrayal of the character, we can perceive the idea of the ‘woman’ during a particular time period. Also, lost words, letters, numerals are discovered as we read texts through the time period. It becomes a typographic study.

  • Experiments in Graphic Art

In addition to the texts, the exhibit also presents visual representations of familiar words & phrases used during that period, some of which have changed in meaning or become redundant. Almost 50 artists have contributed artworks that are a graphic interpretation of existing concepts through various mediums of photo illustrations, hand drawings/paintings, typography, lettering and mixed media installations. For the full list of illustration briefs and collaborating artists please refer www.malayalamproject.com

  • Malayalam Metaphor

With little visual recordings of script available, research from archives and historic manuscripts, an attempt at recreating a visual transcendence of ancient script from known Grantha manuscripts to modern-day computer powered digital fonts.

New mediums give way for experimentation. Techniques of printing and production allow a seemingly 2-dimensional script that was merely functional to take on characteristics beyond readability and become motifs for identity and expression. This installation uses found lettering & typography from Kerala State Archives, Gundert Dictionary & Hortus Malabaricus. Inspired by the works of Ezhuthachan in the late 16th century and the works of Hermann Gundert and his contribution to the Malayalam alphabet, this has been a subject of enquiry at Thought Factory Design & Viakerala over the last decade.

Venue: 292 B, Lilly Street, Fort Kochi

Curator: Theresa George

Dates: 12th December to 29th March 2015

Website: www.malayalamproject.com, https://www.facebook.com/malayalamproject

Sponsors: Thought Factory Design www.thoughtfactory.in, Viakerala www.viakerala.com