Contracts of making, viewing and listening
‘Contract of making, viewing and listening’ is an intervention into the representation of caste relations within the popular retellings of the Bengal famine of 1943. This video work proposes that it’s only by unsettling the discourse of sympathy and Brahminic humanism that we can disrupt the nation’s upper-caste self-generation.
Description of project
‘Contract of making, viewing and listening’ is an intervention into the representation of caste relations within the popular retellings of the Bengal famine of 1943. It is both an intervention into the metanarratives around the famine and the micronarrative of the film Distant Thunder (directed by Satyjit Ray) – one of the abiding popular-cultural artefacts of the metanarrative. The intervention takes place through two artistic actions. The first is a deliberate prolonging of Moti’s sub-narrative within the film, by claiming the space and time that the original filmmaker did not deign to accord. The second is a strategic disrupting of the film’s narrative by juxtaposing it with other texts and bringing them into conversation with each other. In Distant Thunder, Gangacharan is standing in for Moti and that means “erasing the crucial difference that is the very structure of their suffering-their experience, unique to them.” In my video intervention, this ‘standing in’ is disrupted through textual commentary that names and contextualizes the disavowal of faultlines of caste in Ray’s Distant Thunder. ‘Contracts of making, viewing and listening’ proposes an unsettlement; it’s only by unsettling the discourse of sympathy and Brahminic humanism that we can disrupt the nation’s upper-caste self-generation.
Type of work
1) Research Pavilion #3 Venice 2019, Venice Biennale (hosted by Uniarts Helsinki) - 2019-05-08 2) View India, LANDSKRONA MUSEUM - 2019-06-14
Link to web site
Ranjan, Ram Krishna