Investigating New Media in India (2017)

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During the summer of 2017, I travelled to India in order to uncover the electronic and experimental arts scenes. I wanted to understand the relationships Indian artist have with technology, and how their works are interpreted by audiences. I spent time interviewing, collaborating and performing with artists in Mumbai and Calcutta for this research project. All photos on this page were taken by Conner Singh Vanderbeek.

Calcutta

I collaborated with experimental theatre group Culture Monks on a multidisciplinary project called "Checkpoint Hoogly". The project examines marginalization, the sub-altern, and the status of refugees through stories revolving around the port of Budge Budge outside Calcutta, and the settlements that have grown alongside the railway leading to it. For the project, myself and ethnomusicologist/ composer Conner Singh Vanderbeek collaborated on an audiovisual installation on the Komagata Maru, a passenger ship of predominately Sikh men that sailed from Hong Kong to Vancouver in 1914, was denied entry into Canada, then was fired upon when it eventually docked in Budge Budge.

Checkpoint Hoogly

Setting up for Checkpoint Hoogly at Cafe Toto, Calcutta

Setting up for Checkpoint Hoogly at Cafe Toto, Calcutta

Audio visual installation for Checkpoint Hoogly at Cafe Toto in Calcutta

Audio visual installation for Checkpoint Hoogly at Cafe Toto in Calcutta

Photos by Debraj Jana of the New Alipore slum communities (see World Music Day video below) installed for Checkpoint Hoogly.

Photos by Debraj Jana of the New Alipore slum communities (see World Music Day video below) installed for Checkpoint Hoogly.

We also had the chance to view the Komagata Maru memorial at Budge Budge. The both memorials in Vancouver and Calcutta became our source materials for the visual portion of the installation.

Komagata Maru memorial at Budge Budge

Komagata Maru memorial at Budge Budge

Close up of Komagata Maru memorial at Budge Budge

Close up of Komagata Maru memorial at Budge Budge

Kiran Bhumber conducting and interview with (left to right) Culture Monks director Sudipta Dawn, Listening Room director Rana Ghose, DJ/synthesizer builder Varun Desai, and noise duo Jessop & Co. Calcutta, June 22, 2017.

Kiran Bhumber conducting and interview with (left to right) Culture Monks director Sudipta Dawn, Listening Room director Rana Ghose, DJ/synthesizer builder Varun Desai, and noise duo Jessop & Co. Calcutta, June 22, 2017.

World Music Day 2017: The Subaltern Sings

Continuing examining the themes of Checkpoint Hoogly, we asked the communities living in the New Alipore Railway station slum if we could perform for them during Calcutta’s World Music Day. This video is a summary of our interaction. The presence of flutist Pradip Chtterjee (Bulada) acted as a conduit in this journey. The video was shot by Debraj Jana.

Bulada and Kiran Bhumber at New Alipore Station slum

Bulada and Kiran Bhumber at New Alipore Station slum

Debraj Jana and Kiran Bhumber at New Alipore station slum

Debraj Jana and Kiran Bhumber at New Alipore station slum

Mumbai 

In addition to interviewing artists in Mumbai, I teamed up with artistic agency Homegrown on an event called "A Night of New Media", where Nancy Lee and I installed our swing installation "Pendula" and participated on a panel which discussed the future of new media in India and abroad. 

Interviewing artists in Mumbai with Nancy Lee; Left to Right: Kiran Bhumber, Nancy Lee, Arman Menzies (Zokhuma) and Ashish Jose(Tarqeeb)

Interviewing artists in Mumbai with Nancy Lee; Left to Right: Kiran Bhumber, Nancy Lee, Arman Menzies (Zokhuma) and Ashish Jose(Tarqeeb)

The Future of New Media panel at Khar Social.

The Future of New Media panel at Khar Social.

“Hollow Vertices” performance at Khar Social

“Hollow Vertices” performance at Khar Social

Kiran Bhumber setting up for “Hollow Vertices” performance at Khar Social

Kiran Bhumber setting up for “Hollow Vertices” performance at Khar Social

Nancy Lee and Kiran Bhumber engaging with audience members at Khar Social

Nancy Lee and Kiran Bhumber engaging with audience members at Khar Social

Pendula installation at Khar Social

Pendula installation at Khar Social