11th December 2020
The webinar will be held on the online platform Zoom. To register for the webinar please click on the link below:
Acts of Looking
As we increasingly inhabit an omnipresent Image World, we are simultaneously the creators and the consumers of an endless stream of images. How can we begin to find and apply tools to actively decipher what these images mean to us as viewers? And as image makers what are we trying to communicate using them?
This conversation emerges from specific fissures in the history of Image, moving from photography’s prehistory, to its place in our fragmented contemporary moment. It highlights the still inherent but often insidious presence of dominant gazes, violence and silencing that are embedded within images, even as they are presented as mute objects of desire, advertising, even art. At the same time, the conversation also considers historical and contemporary examples – junctions where the dominant imaginations and hierarchies are challenged, resulting in critical subversions of visibility, power and meaning.
– Adira Thekkuveettil and Amarnath Praful
About the panelists
Adira Thekkuveettil is an artist and designer working primarily with photography. Her practice is grounded in research within historical documents, literature and visual material that inform and colour her process and inquiries as a photographer. Her current project explores how the built environment of a city is both informed by, and consequently informs the manner in which it is depicted, understood and tackled in popular culture, media, policy making and politics. She is also deeply interested in how individual lives are shaped by and shape the urban landscape.
In her professional practice, Adira is an exhibition designer as part of the design studio, The Interpreters. Leveraging technology with thoughtful curation, the studio has worked with various institutional and personal archives, museums and private collections across India. Adira is also a collaborator with The Anglo-Indian Archives a project that is digitally documenting the visual and oral histories of the Anglo-Indian community within India as well as the larger diaspora.
She is a graduate of the National Institute of Design, and is presently based out of Trivandrum, Kerala.
Amarnath Praful ( b 1992 ) is a visual artist and writer, who primarily works with photography. His practice explores performance, text, video, and found material – often guided by the landscape, folk traditions, cultural and political histories of Kerala, India. His concerns are in the area of representational politics, history of photography in the subcontinent, intermedia image practices and cinema studies.
Currently, he works as an Associate Faculty in the Photography Design Master’s program at the National Institute of Design, Gandhinagar where he teaches photography, art history and interdisciplinary practices.
The Guftgu Series have been facilitated and supported by Pro-Helvetia New Delhi’s Now On Grant for the year 2020.
Bibliography and suggested reading from the talk
Azoulay, Ariella Aïsha (2019), Potential Histories: Unlearning Imperialism. Verso
Azoulay, Ariella Aïsha (2008), The Civil Contract of Photography. Princeton University press.
Berger, John. (1992). About Looking (Reprint ed.). Vintage.
Amelia Jones, Ethnic Envy and Other Aggressions in the Contemporary Global Art Complex https://www.artandeducation.net/classroom/video/350693/amelia-jones-ethnic-envy-and-other-aggressions-in-the-contemporary-global-art-complex
Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, Imperial Rights and the Origins of Photography https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3Zf7ippGPk
Teju Cole, When the camera was a weapon if imperialism and when it still is https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/06/magazine/when-the-camera-was-a-weapon-of-imperialism-and-when-it-still-is.html
On Lala Deen Dayal
How Frederick Douglass Found Power in Photography – Kara Hanson
How 20th Century Camera Film Captured a Snapshot of American Bias – Ainissa Ramirez
The Racial Bias built into Photography