Performance by students of the Shiv Nadar University at the Students' Biennale, Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016 | Department of Art Design & Performing Arts

Performance by students of the Shiv Nadar University at the Students' Biennale, Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016

One of the 15 curators of Students' Biennale, Adwait Singh invited the Master of Fine Art (MFA) students of the Department of Art and Performing Arts, to be part of the Student’s Biennale for the third edition in December 2016. He proposed a  visit to Banaras (7-12 October 2016). To attend the last four climactic days of the Ramleela at Ramnagar in Banaras.

Eight of the students of Performance Resistance Course (Smita Rajmane, Murlidhar, Priyank Gothwal, Priyesh Gothwal, Mohit Prakash Shelare, Tsering Motup, Nidhi Kukreja, Neeraj Patel) who visited Banaras, interacted with the audience, the Vyasas (stage managers) and the set designers, and under the mentorship of Tushar Joag developed a performance piece titled: ‘Prognosis of Internally Combusting Mother’. It was performed on the 14th of December 2016 at the Kochi Muziris Biennale.

The performance drew from this magical experience of witnessing the Ramleela. It extracts from the various devices and dynamics that are employed by the performers. The performance is an embodiment of observations and contemplations on issues witnessed within the societal and political dynamics of the country. It is a response to the experience of social injustices and insertion of myths in the society, targeted towards the minorities through extremism, the Dalits to maintain certain power balances or towards women as a result of gender bias and patriarchy ingrained within the country. The performance takes the shape of introspection and a contemplative position and simultaneously as a protest. It mimicked or inverted the theatrical strategies used in the Ramleela for this purpose. The Ramnagar Ramleela is performed in a traditional manner without electric lights or a sound system even though it is performed in the open air at various locations and attended by thousands. The performance, in contrast, made use of technology to layer and complicate the narrative. It made use of digital as well as analog projections.

The performance traversed history of the nation since its inception to date looking at various episodes that find some resonance with the epic. It mimicked or inverted the theatrical strategies used in the Ramleela for this purpose.

The Ramnagar Ramleela is performed in a traditional manner without electric lights or a sound system even though it is performed in the open air at various locations and attended by thousands. The performance, in contrast, made use of technology to layer and complicate the narrative. It made use of digital as well as analog projections.

Collaboration and sponsorship were sought (Through Ms. Madhavi Sardeshpande who initiated the usage of the Titlbrush) with Trans Disciplinary University for making possible the use of the Tiltbrush for creating a virtual drawing in space as part of the performance. The Tiltbrush, a groundbreaking tool for artists /art students offered the students an exciting possibility of creating immersive environments for the audience through 3-dimensional drawing. It involved the students in a performative sense through the use of movement and gestures with the whole body to delineate objects/words/ spaces around the actors to create make-believe and transient contexts providing valuable clues to the audience thus supporting and enhancing the impact of the performance.

* The Kochi Muziris Biennale an exhibition of contemporary art is an event of global importance. Started in 2012, it is known as a people’s Biennale and draws up to 500,000 national and international visitors in the three and half months.

A unique initiative of this Biennale is the inclusion of an exhibition of students from all over India.This parallel event is a collaboration of The Kochi Biennale Foundation, the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) and the Foundation for Indian Art and Education (FIAE).