IMPORT EXPORT – Bombay Chapter
by Tushar Joag

Import/Export a project between Bombay, Vienna and Berlin saw the completion of a fulfilling Bombay chapter on the 25th, 26th and 27th of March. Import Export through a series of programs under the rubrics – Moving People, Moving Concepts and Moving People explored the relations between the three societies. At times extremely critical and at times humorous, the diverse projects and presentations opened a series of dialogues that focused on the perception of the alterity in the cultural, social and political realms. Assimilation, integration, migration, changed their denominations constantly depending on who the protagonists that were put under the lens were talking about – a reflection of individual as well as state policies of exclusion and inclusion.

What was most significant was the cross disciplinary over view that one was presented with due to the alliances integral to certain projects and/ or the candid analyses and adjuncts provided by the respondents to the presentations. We, the artists and activists in Bombay, have been witnessing the uphill tusk commenced by the host organization Majlis for years, of integrating the social sciences with genres of art practices. Import/Export, Bombay chapter seemed the appropriate culmination of that decade long campaign.

As the days progress the project shot beyond its original brief and entered the complex arena of the fragmented and fluid identities of the contemporary citizens which change with every slight movement of person, concept, image. What came across as startling is that as the borders of the states-countries-cities go more rigid, people’s identities turn more layered, fluid and shifting. The Import/Export project lies at the joint of these two tensions of rigid doctrine and fluid identity.

The strength of the project also lied in its ability to create different pockets for different niche groups. The project ended with a fitting finale of releasing a animation-game CD on multi-culturalism for children. I was happy that I could share the Import/Export project space and concerns even with my 7 yrs old daughter.

 

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