[Reader-list] [Announcements] [Sarai Newsletter] December 2002
dak at sarai.net
dak at sarai.net
Wed Dec 4 21:30:35 IST 2002
II Workshop @ Sarai: Writers Unblock - Fiction Writing
& The Daily Life of Intellectual Property Law
III Films @ Sarai: Focus on the Documentary
IV Tactical Media Lab @ Sarai
V Launch of Deewan-e-Sarai, the Sarai Hindi Reader
VI New @ Sarai Interface
An Exhibition, Lecture and Workshop Programme, presenting facets of
contemporary Internet Based Art Practice in Britain
Curated by Honor Harger (curator, webcasting, Tate Modern, London)
and Pauline van Mourek Broekman (editor, Mute - A Journal of New
Media Arts, London)
Organised by the British Council in collaboration with Sarai: The New
Media Initiative, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.
December 2 - 5, 2002
Exhibition at the British Council, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi.
Presentation and interaction with Sarai
Net Art Now
Presentation by the Curators at the British Council, followed by a
public conversation, moderated by Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Sarai.
About the Exhibition
@rt.net.uk/now is an exhibition that brings to the fore key issues in
critical internet-based art practice. Issues of borders and
borderlessness, mapping and territories, the relationships between
'old' and 'new' media, access and control, critical reflections on the
experiences of the 'thinning' of time and the thickening of the data
cloud around us.
Internet based art is often mistakenly regarded as art 'showcased' on
the internet. This programme seeks to challenge this notion by
offering instead a foregrounding of the intrinsic properties of the
net as the material of a new form of art practice. This is a
sensibility that is conceptual, interactive, time based and that often
plays with the difficulties of access, unstable connectivity and
crashing software - features that are so much part of everyday online
Pauline Van Moerik Broekman and Honor Harger deliberately eschew the
'flashy' and spectacular effect-laden world of mainstream web content
to curate a series of online experiences that are designed to be
thoughtful, and at times, sharply political in the way in which they
treat the questions of online and offline territoriality and the
'fragmented public sphere' of the internet.
The works presented by them represent the critical cutting edge of
online art practice and include projects by leading contemporary
British net artists such as Heath Bunting, Rachel Baker, Tim Knowles,
Richard Wright, Andy Deck, Nina Pope and Karen Guthrie. The exhibition
will chart an eclectic mini-journey through new media projects from
the past few years, culminating in some of the absolute latest and
most contemporary examples in this context, based on the premise that
the quasi-historical purview will give an opportunity to look at some
of the questions that may have lingered in context.
About the Curators
Honor Harger is a new media artist who is currently working as an
education and online projects officer of the new Tate Modern Gallery.
Honor has been working on developing new techniques of audio streaming
for quite some time as a part of a group called Radio Qualia.
Van Mourik Broekman is co-publisher and editor of the London based
technoculture magazine Mute, which she co-founded with Simon
Worthington as 'the Art and Technology Newspaper' in late 1994. As
well as editing Mute, she writes regularly on art, media and
technology for journals and books. The editors, especially Pauline van
Mourik Broekmann, have created a very active and dynamic network of
contributors, artists, writers and critics who represent the best in
the British avant garde new media scene. Mute Magazine has been
presenting public forums on new media culture at the Tate Modern.
Honor and Pauline will be travelling to Kolkata and Bangalore Indian
cities to make presentations and conduct workshops as a forerunner to
the exhibition between December 6 and 15, 2002.
II Workshops at Sarai
1. December 11-12, 2002
11 am -5 pm, Sarai Interface Zone
with Meaghan Delahunt
What is the work of a writer? How do ideas for fiction crystallize and
grow into short stories... and novels? What is the daily regimen, and
what are the exercises and observational practices that an aspiring
writer needs to work out? How to make the "writer's block" into a
piece of living textual sculpture?
Meaghan Delahunt, Asialink Fellow and writer-in-residence at Sarai,
will conduct a workshop on writing fiction through a series of
imaginative and fun excercises that grapple with these questions. She
will also share aspects of her own creative process, as it was
deployed in the writing of her first novel 'In the Blue House', and
offer advice and insight into working with agents, publishing houses
and other practical aspects of the writer's trade. To pre-register
email dak at sarai.net or call 3960040.
'In the Blue House' won the Commonwealth Writers Prize, in the Best
Book category in SE Asia and South Pacific, and the Saltire Society
Award in Scotland.
2. December 20-21, 2002
10 am -5 pm, Seminar Room, CSDS
The Daily Life of Intellectual Property Law
In the context of the global economy Intellectual Property Rights
(IPR) has emerged as one of the important modes of ensuring that
cultural and economic flows occur within a given set of rules and
regulations. This necessitates the disciplining of the activities of
those who operate beyond the
boundaries of the regulated formal economy. Thus IPR unfolds itself
in the lives of people on a day to day basis, determining what
economic activities they may or may not engage in. These boundaries
are also backed by an omnipotent threat of coercive violence through
the use of the police force as agents enforcing IPR.
At the conceptual level there have been a number of challenges posed
to the philosophical and the material basis of IPR. These range from
the open source movement in software to the open revolution in
content, music and publishing. This broad movement can be called
the movement of the creative commons.
What clearly inspires the open revolution is a dissatisfaction with
the philosophical premises of IPR (romantic authorship, incentive
theory, monopoly rights etc.) as well as a recognition that, given
the distribution of inequality implicit in the global economy, there
is a need to articulate a praxis that allows for more democratic
modes of participation within the global economy.
Legal scholars, lawyers, researchers, media practitioners and law
students from across the country will discuss these and other issues
at this workshop. We will also screen The Code - Story of Linux, a
film that brings many of these issues to the forefront and Arjun
Raina, actor and playwright, will perform A Terrible Beauty is Born,
his play on work, distance and Call Centres.
III Films @ Sarai: Focus on the Documentary
All screenings are at the Seminar Room, Centre for the Study of
Developing Societies, 29 Rajpur Road, Delhi -110054.
1. Friday, December 13, 2002, 4:30 pm
Mat / The Vote
Directed by Pankaj Rishi Kumar, (2002), 80 minutes
Mat/ The Vote is a filmic deconstruction of the electoral process in
India. It closely examines the interests and issues that guide the
performance of different players - political parties, candidates,
party workers and voters - in a competition for power.
The film follows Imtiaz Khan, BJP candidate, in the Uttar Pradesh
assembly elections held in February, 2002, and Hemraj Saathi, a BJP
worker. The overall election process in Siyana, UP, forms the matrix
of the film. The crucial subjects here are the voters, divided and
categorized according to caste and community.
The production of Mat/ The Vote has been motivated by a need to bring
the vital issues in Indian democracy to the fore, by revealing in a
comprehensive and articulate manner, the failure of our society to
meet even the most basic challenges of such a social and political
2. Friday, December 20, 2002, 4:30 pm
The Code - Story of Linux
Directed by Hannu Puttonen, (2001), 59 minutes
The Code presents the first decade of Linux from 1991 to 2001. The
film tries to tell one of the key stories of the digital age, a
symbolic saga of capitalism during the last fin de siecle of the
second millenium and during the early steps of the third one. It
features Linux Torvalds and many of his closest allies in the
development process of Linux, along with Richard Stallman.
IV Tactical Media Lab @ Sarai
On November 14 -16, 2002, Sarai hosted the South Asian Tactical Media
Lab (TML), one of a chain of such events, that are taking place in
different parts of the world (Amsterdam, Barcelona, Cluj, New York,
Delhi and Sydney) as a run-up to the fourth Next 5 Minutes Conference
(N5M4) in Amsterdam in 2003.
Over the three days free software enthusiasts, programmers, graphic
designers, filmmakers, artists, activists, members of NGOs,
telecommunications experts, students and media practitioners from
Mumbai, Dehradun, Kolkata, Dacca, Kathmandu, Tehran & Delhi shared
ideas, experiences, problems and grievances, explored varied uses of
tactical media, discussed strategies, designed posters and websites,
disbanded opinions and formed new ones through panel discussions,
presentations, installations, workshops and a film screening.
The TML started with a very well attended public conversation between
Shuddhabrata Sengupta from Sarai and David Barsamian, founder and
director of Alternative Radio, an independent, award-winning, weekly
radio program produced in Boulder, Colorado. David Barsamiyan is well
known in Delhi through the publications of his interviews with Noam
Chomsky, Edward Said and Eqbal Ahmed.
This was followed by discussions and presentations on different
approaches to Tactical Media. Discussions on subsequest days focussed
on language and localization issues in Free Software, freedom and
programming culture, ICT and its ability to look beyond the
development paradigm and on the need for collaboration of new media
networks in Asia.
A print and web designing workshop conducted by Pradeep Saha, Managing
Editor, Down to Earth, and Mrityunjoy Chatterjee, Sarai Media Lab,
formed part of the TML and audio-visual and web installations were
playing in the Sarai Interface Zone on all three days.
The event lent itself naturally to the crystallization of a loose
coalition of tactical media enthusiasts in the Asian region. The
participants from Iran, Bangladesh, Nepal and various parts of India,
spoke of the need to carry the energies that they had discovered
through their meetings into the future. Plans were made to set up a
Tactical Media Asia discussion list hosted by Sarai, and everyone was
in agreement on initiating a cluster of collaborative processes, like
a free software desktop in the Urdu language as a concrete instance of
collaboration between people at Sarai and the LinuxIran group.
For more details click on http://www.sarai.net/community/announce.htm
V Launch of Deewan-e-Sarai, The Sarai Hindi Reader
Sarai launched the first Hindi Reader Deewan-e-Sarai 01: Media
Vimarsh://Hindi Janpad (Media Discourses:// Hindi Public Domain) on
Saturday November 30. Prof. VB Singh, Director, CSDS, welcomed the
guests and speakers while Prof. DL Sheth moderated the presentations.
Ravikant, co-editor, Deewan 01, gave a brief introduction to the
series that is designed to cover a whole range of issues from the
history and practice of technology (Electricity, Railways, Computer,
Internet) to city, films, legal debates around copyright, surveillance
and information politics, history of labour and historiography.
Sanjay Sharma, co-editor, Deewan 01, presented an overview of the volume.
This was followed by readings from Deewan 01. Ruchika read a poem,
'Internet par Shaadi', and 'Aag ka Copyright', Ravikant read out his
translation of Bapsi Sidhwa's 'Television Satyagraha ke woh Din', an
essay on the day in the 1970s when the Indian film, Pakeeza, was
broadcast on Amritsar TV and how Lahore went berserk. David Lelyweld
who was a witness to the Pakeeza screening shared his memories of the
day in private conversations later. Sanjay Sharma then read out
extracts from his rather funny memoir on the BBC Hindi service.
After the readings invited speakers commented on the book. Much of the
interactions revolved around the use of language by Hindi writers and
publishers. Historian Sudheer Chandra praised the prose and supported
the Deewan's practice of going against the dominant notions of
shabd-maitri, whereby people do not allow so-called Hindi words to
mingle with so-called Urdu ones, but he also pointed out a couple of
Sanjeev Kumar, lecturer of Hindi at Delhi University, liked the name
Deewan but was critical of the Deewan's assumptions about the Hindi
Public, especially its literary publics, and pointed out the
overwhemingly secular mood of high Hindi literature. He sought to
nuance the notion of tadbhavaization, or corruption, by appealing for
the acceptance of tadbhavised or apbhramshised Urdu as well. He also
talked of the inherent lack in training that allows most writers the
competence to play around with words derived from Sanskrit rather than
with Perso-Arabic derivations.
By referring to current trends in the Hindi print media he pointed out
the disappearance of not only the nuqta but other diacritical marks
like the chandrabindu,and the halant, in an effort of simplifying
Hindi typography and moulding it for computer screens.
Aditya Nigam, Fellow, CSDS, distinguished these two kinds of
disappearance and celebrated the kind of language Deewan seems to have
inaugurated. He also praised the hard work put in by the Translation
Unit at Sarai.
Language debates brought forth passionate interventions from the floor
and Rana Behl, Delhi University, Yogendra Yadav, CSDS, and Vijay
Pratap, Lokayan, presented their own insights as language
practitioners. This interactive 'lokarpan' went down well with the
gathering and we are sure to hear more on this for some time.
VI New @ Sarai Interface
The Sarai Digital Interface, available on the terminals in the Sarai
Interface Zone, is an in-depth presentation of Sarai's activities and
concerns that also contains areas of interactivity. The Interface is
designed to let the visitor to Sarai have a hands-on feel of the kind
of work we do, the issues that we are interested in and to allow for
an interaction with Sarai projects in various stages of development.
It contains a digital gallery and also acts as a public platform for
the sharing of ideas, knowledge and creativity, a digital bulletin
board for posting messages about public concerns as well as an
evolving resource that is built and sustained by the community that
grows around Sarai. The Interface can be used as a space to register
subjective experiences of living in urban spaces.
The recent additions to the digital gallery in the Interface are:
Cold Glory at Ground Zero
Photographs by Monica Narula
Exactly a year after September 11, 2001, New York city, under a clear
sky. A nervous flutter of US flags at every block are signs of
remembrance, and foreboding. And talk of war brings alive a cold glory
in early autumn. Monica Narula follows the flag and its strange
appearances, on pavements, walls, alleyways, and the outer perimeter
of Ground Zero.
Graffiti and Signage in the City
Photo-essays by Sadan Jha and Prabhas Ranjan.
2 HTML photoessays documenting the pictorial modes of visual
representation through graffiti and signage ranging from the
religious, the superstitious and the occult to everyday announcements
in the city of Delhi.
That's all this month. We hope to see you at the screenings and the
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