VIENNA CHAPTER: Kuenstlerhaus, Vienna
May 21st, 2005
2.00 – 6.00 pm (lectures part 2: Travelling Agents)

Lecture:
Else-who and Else-where: Moments of Agency in India’s New Mediatic Reality

The research project engages with an emerging urban sociology linked directly to the import and export of new technologies. It focuses on the transmutation of private images with the use of digital technologies in urban India. This new visual reality is articulated by means of digital manipulation through which original materials such as photographic portraits are retouched, or combined with extraneous pictorial elements including stock landscapes, architectural detail, props, costumes, deities etc. The outcomes of these digital manipulation procedures are hybrid or composite images overwhelming their originals, so that they actually relocate them within an imaginary determined by conceptions of economic and cultural mobility. The conventional notions of West-East technology transfer in which the West is the donor and the East is the recipient breaks down because of these moments of agency exercised in informal contexts outside the well-defined cordons of institutional art-making. This subject matter is located in the context of debates concerning globalisation and identity, agency and the ceding of agency. The encounter between new possibilities and inherited social experience is far more complex and far less predictable than many populist or alarmist readings may suggest.

Nancy Adajania (Bombay) is a cultural theorist, art critic and independent curator. She has written and lectured extensively on contemporary Indian art, esp. new-media art and its political and cultural contexts at international venues such as Documenta 11 and ZKM, Karlsruhe.

Respondent: Christian Hoeller is editor of "springerin" art magazine, author and translator

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