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The Kochi Edition of Safina Radio Project broadcasted throughout the fourth
Kochi-Muziris Biennale

December 2018–March 2019

 

broadcasts

Safina Radio Project: Kochi Edition 2018–19

Produced by ART-ICULATE

Supported by Hundred House

In partnership with

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Considering colonial histories, Julie Gogh explores connections between Tasmania + Kochi. A congregation of crows, links to ancestry and the production of her work in situ all form part of this meditative reflection on place, history and process. The work ends with the sound element from her work in the Biennale. 

Curator Anita Dube envisions the Pavilion at Cabral Yard as a central space of dialogue that will continuously shape the Biennale throughout its run, both in the thematic frame, and experientially. In that space, she discusses with John Xaviers and Anushka Rajendran approaches for a biennale that imagines 'Possibilities for a non-alientated life'.

Broadcasts Schedule
 
K P Krishnakumar, Boy Listening, 1985. P

K P Krishnakumar, Boy Listening, 1985. Painted plaster, fiberglass, and cloth.

With the subtitle Stanza/Stance, this edition of Safina Radio Project explores 'Possibilities for a non-alienated life', Anita Dube's curatorial concept for the fourth Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

 

Beginning in December 2018, during the opening week, broadcasts will run throughout the Biennale's 108 days – listen on air with partner Resonance FM, tune in via the stream option on this site and  kochimuzirisbiennale.org, and through podcasts below and subscribe to spotify

 

 

Resonance FM Schedule:

Episode 1: Spaces of Inclusion

Episode 2: Isolation and Congregation

Episode 3: Histories + Curatorial Approaches

Episode 4: Books: Form + Transmission 

Episode 5: Colonial Histories

Episode 6: Past + Future Faultlines

Episode 7: An Unpredictable Place

 

 

 

Broadcasts


Vypin Dhanurdharan, Kimberly Drew + Annalisa Mansukhani, Edible Archives, Nick Merriman + Abhishek Poddar, Nathan ColeyTemsuyanger Longkumer and Shailee MehtaDomènec, Vivian Caccuri + Matt Barlow, Veer Munshi + Ajay Desai, Chris Dercon + Bose Krishnamachari, Shwetal Patel + Sudarshan Shetty, Anita Dube 'Questioning the Curatorial Frame', Heri Dono, Shubigi Rao + Mukta AlhuwaliaAfrah Shafiq,
Chandan Gomes, Kausik Mukhopadhyay + Mort ChatterjeeAnnu Palakunnathu Matthew + Nathaniel Gaskell, Marzia Farhana,

Tania Candiani + Manoj Nair, 
Lubna Chowdhary + Sunil V, Julie GoghSue Williamson + Rachna, Anju Dodiya, Vivian Caccuri + Manoj NairTunty Chauhan + Anandi Mehra, Marzia Farhana + Aaron Cezar, Warren Niedich + Rahul Gudipudi, YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES

 

Uploads Coming Soon Samira Bose + Diksha Gupata, Song Dong, Barthélémy Toguo, BV Suresh, Probir Gupta, Anjali Monteiro + KP Jayasankar, Srinagar Biennale, Peter Nagy with Probir Gupta, Anju Dodiya + Prabhakar Pachpute, Vidisha Saini; Rahul Gudipudi, Shaunak Mahbubani + Adwait Singh; Tania Candiani + Ranesh Reju – Activating the Loom,
Oorali Experience

 

Conversations: Kimberly Drew + Annalisa Mansukhani
 

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Safina Radio Project listens in as New York-based curator Kimberly Drew and Kochi Biennale's Annalisa Mansukhani meet for the first time. They discuss the dual capacity of archives to exclude and include, considering the potential of informal and collective archival practices as a powerful mode for artists, thinkers and writers of the margins. They also think about the radical approaches offered by biennales, and how archives play a role in documenting these transient events – not only their planned activities, but the unpredictable feelings, experiences and encounters promoted.

 

 

"I think especially for queer communities looking at this biennale, its incredibly impactful, walking around there's just pure romance and tenderness – you don't get to see that all the time in museum spaces" – Kimberly Drew

 

"Something I've come across repeatedly is that visibility and representation are often distanced from the archive, it's usually kept as an institutional documentation of something unemotional" – Annalisa Mansukhani

Possibilities for a non-alienated life – Anita Dube, September 2018

“I remember Guy Debord’s warnings of a world mediated primarily through images – a society of the spectacle – as I write this note. That such a society is fascism’s main ally, we are all discovering in different parts of the world today.

 

Virtual hyper-connectivity has paradoxically alienated us from the warm solidarities of community – that place of embrace where we can enjoy our intelligence and beauty with others, where we can love – a place where we don’t need the ‘other’ as an enemy to feel connected.

 

At the heart of my curatorial adventure lies a desire for liberation and comradeship (away from the master and slave model) where the possibilities for a non-alienated life could spill into a ‘politics of friendship.’ Where pleasure and pedagogy could sit together and share a drink, and where we could dance and sing and celebrate a dream together.

 

In this dream, those pushed to the margins of dominant narratives will speak: not as victims, but as futurisms’ cunning and sentient sentinels. And before speaking, they will listen, like K P Krishnakumar’s 'Boy Listening' – to the stone and the flowers; to older women and wise men; to the queer community; to critical voices in the mainstream; to the whispers and warnings of nature – before it is too late.

 

If we desire a better life on this earth – our unique and beautiful planet – we must in all humility start to reject an existence in the service of capital. Through the potential of social action, coming together, we ask and search for questions, critical questions, in the hope of dialogue."

Monologues: Domènec
 
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Domènec imagines the future potential of lost utopias. Not interested in archives, but in the power of reactivating their collective spirit in the present, he researches the ghosts of modern history's urban proletariat – their communal building projects, monuments and social models. In this piece, he speaks of restaging the vast energy that realised Alvar Aalto's House of Culture in Helsinki and reigniting the fleeting idealism that shaped Etienne Cabet's vision for his Icarian utopia with a spark of fireworks, illuminating the words 'Voyage en Icarie', for a brief moment before darkness returns. In these infrastructural remnants, he finds alternatives to neoliberalism's dystopic, individualistic present.

A stance is an active mode in a non-alienated life, necessarily acknowledging context and  continual potential for new viewpoints – of the other, in relation to the environment, other moments adjacent to the present, perspectives slightly askew from the current. Conversely, it is an intractable place of opposition. Transmissions of adopted positions are found in the word’s evolution – how stanza (from Italian, denoting a room, an architectural form and a place of gathering) became stance (a position taken by an individual or a discrete group, perhaps a forthright official opinion, a political diktat, or an impassioned alternative to the status quo). Individual actions on art making and art viewing can also be read, the stance of a viewer becoming the site of the work’s activation, its story told by their presence. Conversely, the stance of a culture, a trend or a market subsumes the viewer and the work itself – we adopt a posture as we try to step into their interpretation. It is an interconnected linguistic unit and a spoken act – the stanza of a poem is a part of a whole; a negotiating stance is primed to be articulated and modulated.

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Monologues: Nathan Coley
 

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Nathan Coley’s 'A Place Beyond Belief' unfolds its meaning with each new context – from its origins in a radio story about a post-9/11 train carriage, to Kosovo and on to Kochi where it stands at the edge of the exhibition space, looking on to the city. Considering the words' transmission and alteration through iterations of form and meaning – spoken to written word, radio broadcast to light sculpture – each work becomes a meditation on space, language and their collision. The artist's act of editing shifts registers and contexts to unfurl a series of quietly powerful changes. As the words' meanings shift and unfold in their new, unexpected contexts, so too their settings are reconfigured in surprising ways.

Monologues: Vypin Dhanurdharan
 

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Before dinner with Kochi-based artist Vypin Dhanurdharan, in the kitchen of a community project inspired by renowned social reformer Sahodaran Ayyappan. 

 
 
Conversations: Edible Archives
 
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Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar, Shalini Krishan, Manoj Parameswaran and Abhishek Smurthy are four members of the Edible Archives collective – here they introduce a social history of India and set out their ambitious for an archival project that preserves memories and biodiversity through rice. In the days before the Edible Archives restaurant opens in Cabral Yard, they share the stories, encounters and journeys that will come together across 108 days of food.

 
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On its opening in 2020, the Museum of Art and Photography, Bangalore (MAP) will be home to one the first permanent and publicly accessible contemporary art collections in India. Following an exhibition opening at its project space in Kochi, founder Abhishek Poddar explores modes for meaningful accessibility with Nick Merriman from London's Horniman Museum and Gardens, who also serves on the advisory board of MAP. In the context of Anita Dube's curatorial focus 'possibilities for a non-alientated life', the conversation considers new approaches to collection building, examines the constructs that preserve art-going for limited groups, and looks to methods of place making that can engage and empower communities. Nick and Abhishek share professional and personal perspectives from London and India.

 

 
 
 
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Conversations: Temsuyanger Longkumer + Shailee Mehta
 

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Art mediator Shailee Mehta sits with Temsuyangar Longkumar on the dock by the water behind Aspinwall House. They discuss his three works at the Biennale, each capricious meditations on community and gathering. In a red tent, a 'God’s Summit' which stitches together an argument on the fate of the human race from film fragments, in the garden at Pepper House, a rainbow appears and disappears, impossible to predict or grasp, and in 'Aye Aye My Suntanned Lullaby', the refrain of log drummers recalls childhood and social rituals. 

 
 
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Music: Vivian Caccuri + Matt Barlow
 

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In Vivian Caccuri's 'Mosquito Shrine', Safina joins the congregation of insects to record the first improvised music session between the artist and Kochi-based anthropologist and PhD researcher Matt Barlow.

 
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Conversations: Ajay Desai + Veer Munshi
 

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Finding themselves unexpected exhibition neighbours at TKM warehouse, artists Ajay Desai and Veer Munshi (Srinagar Biennale) reminisce on their time at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. Through their divergent careers and creative practices – one personally-political, the other abstract and intuitive – they reflect on the turns which have constituted art of the margins and the mainstream.

 
Conversations: Anita Dube, John Xaviers and Anushka Rajendran
 
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Conversations: Sudarshan Shetty and Shwetal Patel
 

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Sudarshan Shetty curated 'Forming in the Pupil of an Eye', the third edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2016), asking: "as rivers flow, overflow and recede, can a biennale accumulate meaning over time and spill into the future?" Shwetal Patel, part of the Biennale's founding team, sits with the artist in the library at Pepper House to reflect on a prescient and poetic curatorial premise and the unfolding of its significance two years on.

 
 
 
Monologues: Heri Dono
 

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Artists' works from Kochi-Muziris Biennale dealing with books – as a form and structure, the narratives found in them, as well as the knowledge protected and propagated by them. Heri Dono’s mythic references, from flying angels to Trojan ships.

Conversations: Shubigi Rao + Mukta Alhuwalia
 

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Artists' works from Kochi-Muziris Biennale dealing with books – as a form and structure, the narratives found in them, as well as the knowledge protected and propagated by them. Shubigi Rao and Mukta Ahluwalia in the imagined world of a colonial officer and book smugglers.

Monologues: Afrah Shafiq
 

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Artists' works from Kochi-Muziris Biennale dealing with books – as a form and structure, the narratives found in them, as well as the knowledge protected and propagated by them. Afrah Shafiq explores archival images of women reading, transforming them into a computer game

Monologues: Chandan Gomes
 

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Artists' works from Kochi-Muziris Biennale dealing with books – as a form and structure, the narratives found in them, as well as the knowledge protected and propagated by them.

 
 
 
 
Stanza / Stance
Safina Radio Project at KMB2018
Conversations: Chris Dercon + Bose Krishnamachari

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Chris Dercon has been visiting Kochi since the first Biennale in 2012, when he was Director of Tate Modern. In the days after the opening of the fourth edition, he talks to founder Bose Krishnamachari, reflecting on the ideas that spurred what has become the largest art exhibition in India and the biggest contemporary art festival in Asia. 

Conversations: Nick Merriman + Abhishek Poddar
 
Monologues: Marzia Farhana
 

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Marzia Farhana's Ecocide and the Rise of the Freefall is an urgent archive of loss. Gathering remnants from the devastating Kerala floods, she creates an immersive environment that feels suspended, a precipice that suggests a point of catastrophic no return. Books, domestic objects and broken electrical equipment hang in tumult from the ceiling, as eerie sounds and glitching video loops evoke the chaos of our near future. The artist explores the grave local and global events that have shaped the work, and considers the importance of archives to warn and to preserve.

 

Hear her conversation with Aaron Cezar here.

Conversastions:
Annu Palakunnathu Matthew + Nathaniel Gaskell

 
with music by Elizabeth Fausak 
 

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A wide-ranging conversation that considers photography in global, local, contemporary and historical contexts. Annu Palakunnathu Matthew is a lens-based artist that occupies diverse vantages – an "Indian from India", born in England, teaching at the University of Rhode Island in the United States, she considers and interrogates constructs of cultural identity. The Unremembered, her multi-disciplinary installation work for Kochi-Muziris Biennale, confronts fraught notions of national identity and colonial histories, memorialising the 2.5 million Indian soldiers who fought for the British in World War II. Together with Nathaniel Gaskell, Co-Founder and Associate Director of forthcoming Museum of Art & Photography Bangalore and author of Photography in India A Visual History from the 1850s to the Present (Prestel, 2019), the exchange covers strident political developments in India, accessibility in creative practice, and how fitting the notion of "Indian photography" can ever be. 

The conversation closes with the soundscape from Annu's KMB work The Unremembered – a composition by Elizabeth Fausak.

 
Conversastions: Kausik Mukhopadhyay + Mort Chatterjee

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Having dedicated much of the last twenty years to teaching, Kausik Mukhopadhyay's work has rarely been seen publicly. In an old lab space in Aspinwall House, he presents a cacophony of apparently purposeless machines. Each is composed of the debris of electronic matter – printers and toasters, computer hardware and alarm clocks. As the room comes alive, the kinesis gives new meaning to the detritus – as sounds ricochet off the tile interior, a living history of India's industrial, consumerist reality can be understood. On first encounter, the gesture of retrieval and reconstitution critiques a throwaway culture, but there are layers of innovation and social anthropology to be read in this genealogy of material and technological cultures. Kausik speaks with gallerist Mort Chatterjee about the origins and meanings to be found in his laboratory of reinvention. 

Conversastions:
Lubna Chowdhary + V Sunil 
 

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Lubna Chowdhary’s teeming Metropolis defies expectations regarding traditional ceramic works. Together, the more than one thousand handmade pieces – some bearing recognisable details of urban environments, others more fantastical – run the length of an entire room at Pepper House. Yet, each individual piece stands on a minuscule scale. The installation charts the material culture of our urban environment, reflecting the complexity of the man-made world and human production. Drawing on memories of cities, anthropological collections and flea market juxtapositions, new fused forms which slip between overlapping identities are imagined and created. The historical and the current, the hand made and the industrial, the vernacular and the ubiquitous are all encompassed and reconfigured into a new landscape. 

During the opening week, Lubna sat with V Sunil, a Kochi-Muziris Biennale founder, for a lively exchange that considers creative motivations and inclinations, as well as their own individual tendencies when approaching the presentation of art.

 
 
 
 
Conversastions: Tania Candiani + Manoj Nair

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Tania Candiani is interested in the intersection of language systems, sound, and logics of technology. With some nostalgia for the obsolete, her experiments and instigations make explicit both the discursive content of artifacts, and projections for the future envisioned through the past.


In Kochi, Tania has repurposed an old loom into an instrument that shifts obsolescence to music, industry to art, history to new contexts. On the opening day, the new machine was activated by Ranesh Reju – a local musician and luthier who collaborated with Vinay Murali and Carlos Chinchillas. The symphony performed was not only via sound – instead, it was the unplanned process instigated by Tania that articulates the ‘possibilities’ sought by curator Anita Dube, creating a space where ‘pedagogy’ and ‘pleasure’ can meet. Tania’s idea sparked generative spaces of exchange between luthiers from Mexico and India who designed and adapted the loom. There was no plan for an instrument such as this, only on-the-spot decisions about tuning and technique, demanding a departure from the rigours of tradition, choices that shaped a later series of impromptu gatherings and performances.

Conversations: Marzia Farhana + Aaron Cezar
 

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Marzia Farhana's Ecocide and the Rise of the Freefall is an urgent archive of loss. Gathering remnants from the devastating Kerala floods, she creates an immersive environment that feels suspended, a precipice that suggests a point of catastrophic no return. This conversation with Aaron Cezar, Director of the Delfina Foundation, explores the development of the work, as well as Marzia's connection to London and her residency with Delfina.

Listen to Marzia's monologue about the piece here.

 
Conversations: Tunty Chauhan + Anandi Mehra

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Gallerist Tunty Chauhan with Anandi Mehra, the daughter of the late artist Priya Ravish Mehra, whose delicate, sculptural fabric works explore the limits of the body, the work to repair and mend. Created while Priya was terminally ill with cancer, this conversation touches on the artist's commitment to her practice, as well as the grief and healing found exhibiting the work after her death. 

 
Monologues: Julie Gogh
 
Conversations: Sue Williamson + Rachna
 

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With her assistant during installation at Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Sue Williamson explores the historical connections between Kochi and South Africa, forged through the slave trade. The conversation addresses narratives of slavery and the significance of naming, as articulated in Sue's work Message from the Atlantic Passage, where the limited, distorted and dehumanising records of 16th and 17th-century human trafficking become not cast off nostalgic messages in bottles but a single, stark warning impossible to ignore.

Monologues: Anju Dodiya

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Anju Dodiya considers the factors that compelled her towards the dramatic subject of her work for Kochi Muziris Biennale – the apocalypse. The tension between the collective and the individual introduce a wry irony to miniatures that draw on diverse sources – from biblical traditions to conversations with people she works with. Here, the impending doom inspired by 24-hour news cycles are observations of shared concerns in civilisations past and present.

 
 
 
Conversations: Warren Neidich + Rahul Gudipudi
 

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Artists and curators, Warren Neidich and Rahul Gudipudi first met through the Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art, of which Warren is the director. Reunited at the Biennale, their conversation reflects on cognitive capitalism, AI and the future of labour. 

 
Conversations: Vivian Caccuri + Manoj Nair
 

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A conversation between artist Vivian Caccuri + editorial director of the Kochi Muziris Biennale Manoj Nair, prompted by her sound installation in Pepper House – Mosquito Shrine. The conversation centres around the mosquito – the unlikely anti-colonial hero found in Caccuri's visceral and brilliantly confounding stage set. Blue, UV lights draw swarms of insects to the artists’ space at Pepper House where an embroidered hanging tells a forgotten history – a complex narrative of ecology, slave ships, migrating mosquito varieties and the unexpected, yet instrumental significance of inherited Yellow Fever immunity to revolutionary narratives. A speaker stack emits unearthly sounds, welcoming the congregation of creatures as we reconfigure broad brushstrokes of history around this infinitesimally small character.