Saturday, January 29, 2011
*Until recently it wasn’t much more than some rumours on the web: a 1982 released LP called TEN RAGAS TO A DISCO BEAT containing Kraftwerk-like acid house music, years before the genre was invented.
So it turns out, the record was no rumour. Only a few hundred copies of the LP were ever pressed, and only a handful seem to have survived. Moreover, the LP outdoes all expectations. Performed on the synths that would later define Acid House, the Roland TB-303 and TR-808, the album sounds light years ahead of its time with its repetitive beats and hypnotic electronic melodies. Its maker, Bollywood session musician Charanjit Singh, set out to translate ancient Indian classical Ragas to the modern synthesizer and in doing so seems to have invented House music along the way. The 10 tracks make a consistent listen from A to Z. Its restrained minimalism and lack of cheesiness makes it incredibly contemporary, sounding animated, fluid and unabashedly alive.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
2000 young men compete in tests of speed, strength and accuracy to land one of the 30 job openings for night rat killers in India's commercial capital.
The Rat Race, winds its way through the grimy underbelly of Mumbai, through dimly lit alleys, crowded markets and overflowing garbage bins, to tell the story of the city's rat killers. Through their tales of love, sacrifice and survival one glimpses the human face of development, amidst the rough and tumble of a rapidly changing metropolis.
Rat Race won the documentary co-production challenge at Mipdoc Cannes 2010.
Dhobi Ghat has been on my movie radar even before I knew about its connection with rat killers. Kiran Rao is a friend and senior of mine from film school in Delhi. I remember hanging out with her and her roommates in their rented barsaati in Sukh Dev Vihar – shadow puppets dangling from the window screens and coloured patch work frames pasted on the walls. I didn’t realize then that one year later when Kiran and her friends moved out, I would make the very same barsaati my home and creative cocoon for the next 2 years!
Kiran’s final year film is probably the only one I remember among the dozens I have viewed in the preview theatre at MCRC. It revolved around a Bengali couple preparing a meal of mustard fish. The film stood out for its mellow approach and the ability to create drama from the mundane…This is the same quality that pervades Dhobi Ghat which is a quiet and meditative journey rather than a dramatic storyline, a film that you experience rather than view. Watching Dhobi Ghat gave me a sense of déjà vu because of the storyline that links characters with spaces to ultimately weave a vivid tapestry of the city of Mumbai, an approach I have been following consciously over the last 18 months to create a narrative for The Rat Race.
I was a little nervous that Prateik’s role as a rat killer would kill some of the novelty in my documentary. Prateik as Munna’ essays the most endearing role in the film, chasing his Bollywood dreams and his love interest while he juggles the jobs that earn him his livelihood. His scene as a rat killer is a turning point in the film but only as a dramatic detail. Phew! Am I glad…
The Rat Race truly proves that fact is often stranger than fiction. In a striking parallel to Dhobi Ghat, our protagonist 57 year old Behram Harda once dreamt of being a Bollywood dancer but he traded his boogeying skills for the security of a government job that entails counting the carcasses of dead rats every morning for the last 35 years. Watch our trailer and you will know why the audience at Cannes fell in love with his crackling energy, wit and humour. He is the reason that I decided I would make a documentary about rats even though I am terrified of rodents!
I am going to sign off in the words of Amir Khan in Dhobi Ghat “ To Mumbai – my muse, my whore, my beloved…” and also whisper under my breath “Back us up in our Rat Race to Cannes.” Amir Khan are you listening?!!
Check out the reward scheme for contributions to The Rat Race that have just gone up on the site. Thanks Paul, Debasis and Atin Bhai for vetting the legal terms and conditions.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Thukral & Tagra
"Put it on, Again!"
A-1 Neeti Bagh
New Delhi, India 110 049
T: 91 11 4174 0215
F: 91 11 2956 1596
Opening on January 29th, 2011; exhibition continues to February 26th at A1 Neeti Bagh, New Delhi.
Nature Morte is pleased to present a solo exhibition of the New Delhi artist duo Thukral & Tagra. The exhibition continues from their 2007 solo exhibition (“Put It On,” Bose Pacia, New York) with a body of work that addresses the themes of safe sex practices and increased sexual activity among Indian youth, against the backdrop of traditional perceptions of sexuality and the increased representation of sexualized bodies within the Indian media landscape. With their characteristic use of pop culture imagery, graphic pizzazz, seductive colors, sardonic wit and insightful juxtapositions, Thukral & Tagra will address deadly serious subjects through a humorous façade, employing paintings, consumer products and sculptural installations in the mix.
Jiten Thukral (born 1976, Jalandhar) and Sumir Tagra (born 1979, New Delhi) have been working collaboratively since 2002. Trained in both Fine Art and Design, their practice runs the range from paintings, sculptures and installations to product and interior design. This is their second solo exhibition with Nature Morte in New Delhi. Recent solo exhibitions of their works have been mounted at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, the Arario Gallery in Seoul and the Singapore Tyler Print Institute (all 2010). Upcoming projects include a solo show at the Tokyo Gallery in Japan (April) and participation in a large-scale exhibition of Indian contemporary art at the Centre Pompidou in Paris (May). More information, images of previous works and their full bio-data can be found on our website at: http://www.naturemorte.com/artists/thukral-and-tagra.
Nature Morte is open Monday through Saturday, from 10am to 6pm, and closed on Sundays. For more information and press photographs please contact Geeta Bajaj at (011) 4174-0215.
Monday, January 17, 2011
MASI will be at the preview event (VIP) and will be sharing some exclusive coverage which will take place in the capital (Delhi) this month from Jan 21st - 23rd at Pragati Maidan. This year its bigger and better - With 85 galleries, the Summit will be presenting 570 artists from across the globe. Some major attractions this year are: Graffiti artists from France doing a live wall at the Summit, a house in Jor Bagh that has been converted into an art installation, guided curatorial walks, a sculpture lounge, nine specially commissioned live art projects, 60 public art installations and much more.
Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art and Abhishek Hazra
20 – 23 January 2011
India Art Summit 2011
Hall 18, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi
20 - 23 January, 2011
We will be showing new works by Subodh Gupta and Dayanita Singh.
The Foundation Thukral & Tagra is presenting "The Beautiful Game" in Booth S1. You will also find new sculptures by Suhasini Kejriwal in the Sculpture Court and a commissioned project by Gauri Gill: "Hall of Technology."
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Gaysi Family was started to provide a voice and a safe space to desis who identify as LGBT. What began as a simple idea of sharing stories about what it meant to be gay and desi (gaysi!) has evolved into a space with multiple authors and multiple sections and traffic from around the world.
We, here at Gaysi Family, provide a forum for gaysis with something to say, whether it’s personal opinions, coming out stories, poems, erotic fiction, book reviews, movie reviews, event notices or anything at all that is related to being gaysi.
In addition, we also interview published authors, activists that work towards our cause and media personalities.
Our latest initiative, ‘Writer’s Bloc’, hopes to translate queer literature from various regional languages to English and from English to various regional languages.
We’re always looking for new writers and contributions. So get in touch with us (use the contact form) and have your voice heard!
More can be heard, read, and followed on - http://gaysifamily.com/
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
SHILPA GUPTA | HALF A SKY
solo exhibition at
OK Center for Contemporary Art
26.11.2010 – 30.01.2011
A cross-section of Shilpa Gupta's works along with a new installation produced especially for the OK offer insights into the work of the young artist living in Mumbai. The new work "Skin Globe" is an interactive sound installation that visitors bring to life by touching it.
Shilpa Gupta was born in 1976 in Mumbai. In her work she uses interactive video, Internet, photography, object art, sound and performance to investigate themes like consumer culture, desire, religion, security, militarism and human rights, social injustice or power politics.
In this diversity of media Gupta blurs the boundaries between art and everyday culture, raising questions about how we think and who we are. She generates an interactive relationship with her audience, as it is the viewers who first complete the works with their reactions.
In the most recent edition of the art magazine “DU”, the renowned curator Hans Ulrich Obrist listed Shilpa Gupta among the twenty-nine most important artists of the 21st century – artists that he thinks will mark the next decade with their work, their thinking and their visions.
I want to fly,
High above in the sky
Don’t push me away
We shall all fly
High above in the sky
I want to fly high above
In your sky
Can you let it be
Only your power
And not your greed
A part of me will die
By your side
Taking you with me
High high above
in the sky
While you sleep I shall wake up and fly
SHILPA GUPTA at INDIA ART SUMMIT
Vadehra Art Gallery presents two major works of the artist at IAS 2011, January 20 - 23, at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. Visit us at Hall 18, Booth A20 to view 'Singing Cloud' (Object built with thousands of microphones, multi-channel audio) and 'Untitled' (Motion Flap-Board).