Bhubaneswar Art Trail (BAT) 2018

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Bhubaneswar: Stripped to its essentials, the art event is an attempt to unravel the multiple narratives which form the collective identity, history and culture of Bhubaneswar, the historic capital city of Odisha.  We are using this interactive public art project as a way to involve the community and artists to understand how we imagine and remember a city.

Through various art projects our focus is to highlight how the city of Bhubaneswar is imagined and how it is remembered now. Cities are mediated by received knowledge and people’s memories and imaginations. Using public art as an important vector our attempt is to map the collective journey in the formation of a city by navigating through personal memories and learned knowledges.

This project is located in a trail of 1.3 km in the historical city of Bhubaneswar. The street houses important medieval monuments, modern and contemporary architecture, schools, shops, public institutions, etc. Artists Artists will to explore these edifices from different time periods, the trail, interact with the community, their history, personal memories, etc. to map the transformations and record not only the memories but the aspirations of the community and their dreams and yearnings about the city.   The theme of this edition is ‘Navigation is Offline’ and is curated by Jagannath Panda and Premjish Achari. The title of this curatorial proposal refers to the contemporary technology-driven societies’ overreliance on navigational technologies to identify, access and reach destinations. We look at the world through our cameras and our world has reduced to flat images which are uploaded, liked and shared in social media. Scholars have noticed how ‘screens at once provide (the screen as window onto the world) and prohibit (the screen as buffer or barrier) access to our global social, political and economic realities’. It affects and conditions our understanding of the world. This project is an attempt to address this issue in our contemporary life. We are attempting to understand the memories, stories, tales and the history associated with the people living around this short trail. We as travellers will chronicle its biography. While being in this trail we will retell tales of our own journeys while also listening to the new tales from Bhubaneswar. In all, 20 artists from Odisha and other states of India as also from abroad have confirmed their participation in the project. The important contemporary artists, who are participating from India and abroad, are Gigi Scaria, Sudarshan Shetty, Arunkumar H.G., Markus Baenziger, etc.
Some of the highlights of this project are:

• The participation of the local community living around the trail. They are providing us their residential space to display artworks. This is a big USP of the event. We believe no art event in India has attempted it so far. • The trail is located alongside medieval historical monuments (7th century AD onwards) and because of this project the area will be developed without hampering the structures. We are using traditional materials for its reconstruction.

• The artists from Odisha are young and this will be a wonderful opportunity for them to show their works along with leading artists from India and abroad.

• This will be the first public art venture of Odisha on such a scale and we will attempt to leverage contemporary art to inspire the community.

• Artists will stay in the old town of Bhubaneswar for one month and interact with the space, local community and young art students. Students from various art colleges have agreed to volunteer for this venture. Art colleges have opened up their studios for the visiting artists to work there.

• Our attempt is to promote a new way of building cities which does not ignore the traditional structures. Our vision is to promote Bhubaneswar as a heritage city.

• Various outreach prgrammes such as seminars, children’s workshops, film screenings and cultural programmes have been planned.

The title of this curatorial proposal refers to the contemporary technologically mediated societies’ overreliance on navigational technologies to identify, access, and reach destinations. The convergence of the digital and the ‘real’ world has turned locations into information which has to be consumed rather than experienced or lived. Screens act as the interface in our everyday life. We look at the world through our cameras and our world has reduced to flat images which are uploaded, liked and shared in social media. Scholars have noticed how ‘screens at once provide (the screen as window onto the world) and prohibit (the screen as buffer or barrier) access to our global social, political and economic realities’. It affects and conditions our understanding of the world. This project is an attempt to address this issue in our contemporary life.
Taking our inspiration from travelogues and medieval travel poetry such as of Japanese poet Matsuo Basho we are envisioning a project which affirms the necessity of looking at the world and experiencing it without the mediation of screens and technologies. This is not a romanticisation of the ‘real’ but a return to the situation where navigation, not only through landscapes, but also through the labyrinth of memories, experiences, and affect was valued and cherished. Like philosopher Maurice Halbwach has noted, the physical space itself was in a real sense dependent on the enduring memories of the group that occupies it.  He also notes that buildings are not expressions, symbols, or repositories of collective memory, but the latter’s physical process. Through this project we are attempting to understand such memories, stories, tales and the history associated with the people living around this short trail. We as travelers will chronicle its biography. While being in this trail we will retell tales of our own journeys while also listening to the new tales from Bhubaneswar.
This unique project entails exploring the history, lived realities and social relations of the various communities and addressing issues of access, exclusion, discrimination, etc., and understanding the aspirations of the community. Through these various individual interventions in this trail our objective is to enhance an art practice which emerges from the local community and involves the local art scene. We aspire to use art to promote social, and environmental development in the community. We expect artists to finds new ways of collaborating, exchanging ideas and interacting with each other, and ensure participation from within the community. The final public exhibition will be seen and experienced as a walkthrough from one part of the trail to the other.

Location: Old town Bhubaneswar. Sponsors:  The Tourism and Culture Departments of the Odisha Government and Bhubaneswar Development Authority, Tata Steel are few of the official partners of this edition.
Curators:  premjish Achari & Jagannath PandaArtist List:Odia Artists:1) Satyabhama Majhi2) Samarjeet Behera3) Subrat Behera Kumar4) Niroj Satpathy5) Ramakanta Samantaray, Ramhari Jena, Shailen Routray (Project room)6) Veejayant Dash7) Suchismita Mohanty Ram8) Pratul Dash9) Pakaja Sethi10) Pratap Jena & Smrutikant Rout (colaboration)
National/ Internatioal Artists:1) Markus Baenziger   2) Arunkumar H G3) Sudarshan Shetty4) Gigi Scaria5) Sharmila samant6) Teja Gavankar7) Sayantan Maitra8) M Pravat
Advisory Board:1) V. Sunil2) Jagannath Panda3) Aruna Mohanty4) Charudutta Panigrahi5) Nila Madhab Panda6) Siddartha Mohanty
Important Dates: 18 October  – Artist’s walk through the trail along with the volunteers and team to start up artworks16 November – Artists have to finish Artworks.18  November – Trail inauguration ceremony at Guajhara.19 November – trail begin24  November – Colloquium18 December – closing ceremony at Guajhara.
Events During Trail:ColloquiumTalks and discussion of scholars on the history of old townFolk performances & Odishi Performances along the trail

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