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<nettime> Sarai Reader 09 : Projections
Jeebesh on Tue, 16 Apr 2013 18:24:38 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Sarai Reader 09 : Projections


Sarai Reader 09 : Projections

To project – light, dreams, visions, plans, propositions and prospects.
A projection always involves an incandescent transference, some crossing of a void or darkness to effect luminous landings on a distant surface. Without projections, we would have no cinemas, no city plans, no forecasts, no wagers, no fantasies. Projections convect questions, magnify dreams and illuminate desires.
Sarai Reader 09: Projections translates this imperative to act as a transport of illumination to build an axis of central questions. A handlist of these questions could be:
What does it mean to go back to the drawing board? Which drawing board are we going back to? What makes us want to revisit fundamental questions of how life, space, time, work, power, the ecosystem and society are organised? Why is it no longer possible or attractive to think of piecemeal reforms or solutions to the general economic and social crises of contemporary capitalism? The failure of capitalism to produce viable visions for tomorrow – combined with the scenarios unfolding within situations like the ‘Occupy’ Movements all over the world – anchors the urgency with which these questions can be asked today.
What gets transformed when thousands of people gather on the streets? In Delhi, we have witnessed something intangible change in the city ever since thousands of young people began gathering in the wake of the rape and subsequent death of a young woman at the end of 2012. How have these gatherings changed the way people view themselves and each other? Are people seeing each other in a changed light?
What tasks can artistic activity set itself in the 21st century? This would include speculations on the future trajectory of practice in the arts, art education, curation and the possibilities of the drawing of new relationships between art, design, technology, science, philosophy and everyday life. How can exhibitions, museums, public art institutions become sites of an active unfolding of questions, rather than a catalogue of answers and assertions?
What are the great unknowns of our times, the zones of darkness? Not in terms of negativity, but in terms of the fact that we are simply in the dark about a series of questions that confront us.
How effective are visual metaphors for social and political processes? What do we mean when we talk about transparency and opacity, light and darkness, in social and political speech?
The form that the contributions in this book take are varied and come from diverse domains. There are essays, arguments, interviews, photographs, image-text combinations, comics, art-works; each evoking responses to what ‘projection’ can mean, extending it in myriad dimensions.
Projections operates across two surfaces at once: on the printed page of this book (the ninth and final publication in the Sarai Reader series) and within the context of the contemporary art exhibition titled, ‘Sarai Reader 09: The Exhibition’. The exhibition and all the processes that arose within it anticipated the book’s concerns through an occupation of time, space and attention over a nine-monthlong duration at the Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon.
Since it opened in August 2012, the exhibition has taken the form of a series of unfolding proposals and episodes, gathering incrementally to produce a body of work that signposts shifting co-ordinates of image and thought, mapping a new horizon marked by the intersection of art, sociability, research and commentary. The last section of this book, ‘Art as a Place’, acts as an echo in print of the many kinds of energies that have animated the exhibition.
Projections is not a catalogue of the exhibition at the Devi Art Foundation. Nor is ‘Sarai Reader 09: The Exhibition’ a curated illustration of the concepts advanced by the book. Rather, the publication and the exhibition act as adjacent platforms from which new ideas and concepts, discursive as well as aesthetic, set off as travelling companions and find their separate yet occasionally converging itineraries.
This book is a roadmap of that journey.
Editorial Collective
April 2013, Delhi

Editorial Collective, Sarai Reader Series
Raqs Media Collective, Ravi Sundaram, Ravi Vasudevan
Edited by:
Raqs Media Collective and Shveta Sarda
Assistant Editor: Shyama Haldar Kilpady
Design: Pradip Saha/DamageControl
Design intern: Nirmal Singh
Cover image: Anisa Rahim
Back cover image: Chandan Gomes
Section separators: Pradip Saha
Produced in conjunction with ‘Sarai Reader 09: The Exhibition’, 18 August 2012–16 April 2013, curated by Raqs Media Collective at the Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon.
‘Sarai Reader 09’ is a collaboration between Sarai-CSDS and Devi Art Foundation.
Curatorial group from Sarai-CSDS: Shveta Sarda, Bhagwati Prasad, Kavya Murthy
Curatorial group from Devi Art Foundation: Kanupriya Bhatter, Anannya Mehtta, Reha Sodhi
‘Sarai Reader 09’, the exhibition and the book, have been supported by generous grants from Royal Norwegian Embassy, Delhi; Foundation for Arts Initiatives, New York and Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna.
Additional support: Goethe-Institut, New Delhi; Pro Helvetia, New Delhi; Office for Contemporary Art, Oslo; Alliance Français, New Delhi; TAKE on Art, New Delhi
Published by
The Director,
Centre for the Study of Developing Societies,
29 Rajpur Road, Delhi 110054, India
Tel: (+91) 11 2394 2199 Fax: (+91) 11 2394 3450
www.sarai.net, dak {AT} sarai.net
Delhi, 2013
ISBN 978-93-82388-03-6
Any part of this book may be reproduced in any form without the prior written permission of the publishers for educational and non-commercial use. The contributors and publishers, however, would like to be informed.
Printed by Impress, New Delhi
Jeebesh Bagchi

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