Histories of the Immediate Present

Srishti Documents: Art, Design and Creative Practices in South Asia

Histories of the Immediate Present series will cover biennales, art fairs, design exhibitions, literary festivals and performance art events of seminal importance in South Asia. The goal of this series is to capture an event in all its diversity and richness, in order to extend its reach beyond space and time boundaries.

Although we call our enterprise documentation, our goal is to produce discourse within the space and time of art / design events by critically engaging with them as exhibitions of artistic works and as events that extends beyond display. Events of creative practice are evanescent. Temporally and spatially bound, events remain as mnemonic traces because of their self-erasing nature. Nevertheless, as a collective and a collection curated in a place and for a specific duration, they produce rich engagements and experiences for the participants. Producing discourse then about an exhibition and displayed art works and artistic practice requires considerations that are beyond the purely aesthetic, since the thematic framework, configuration, physical location, organization, promotion, audience, disagreements and its relation to its own immediate historicity, as well as to the other events of a similar nature, have a bearing on the reception and popularity of exhibitions. Therefore, the documentation we propose to produce will be a dialogical and polyphonic collection of multiple voices of both human and non-human actors that coexist in the space of these events.

In producing documentation and covering in-depth art and design events our goal is to harness the power and malleability of the Web to bring together diverse forms of representation. Each discourse will attempt to include multiple voices, artists, organizers, public, experts and others. Although we anticipate that the forms in which the documentation will unfold

include text, visuals, video, audio, photomontage and others, they will focus on the themes and subjects identified for this purpose. They include:

  • Showing: Arrangement of artistic works and their display. Looking at curation as intertextuality and as a dialogue with others that preceded it, and that which would follow.
  • Looking: Exhibition as the space of contact between the works on display and the audience. All audience comes to look, but all looks are not the same. How do different ways of viewing art and different places from which art works are viewed contribute to a deeper understanding of these events.
  • Locating: The spatial distribution of art works in the location of the Biennale, both in the city and the venue. The analysis of relationships between those that are contiguously located and those that are scattered.
  • Promoting: Branding of Photo Kathmandu and the Biennale and positioning vis-a-vis artists, community and the public at large.
  • Relating: Past as the shadow of the present. However, a-historical and unique each event may aspire to be, it is always implicated in history. How do these events relate to those that preceded it and others from different locations?
  • Surrounding: The impact of serendipitous happenings, unexpected occurrences, rejections, protest and other episodes that take place in the margins/peripheries of the main event.

We welcome submission of ideas and suggestion of events to be covered under this series. Send an email to us with your idea in an abstract from of 350 words to editors@unboundjournal.in