Alserkal Arts Foundation announces its 2021-2022 programme, working with international curators with strong links to the region, and who challenge perceptions through ambitious new projects. Exploring the power of language, the Foundation invites audiences to listen more closely through a study group and film programme, in preparation for a new exhibition. A Slightly Curving Place, curated by Nida Ghouse, presents an ambisonic soundscape for the first time in the UAE.
This exhibition responds to the practice of self-taught acoustic archaeologist Umashankar Manthravadi and proposes possibilities for listening to the past and its absence which remains. Centred around an audio play and a video installation, it brings together writers, choreographers, composers, actors, dancers, musicians, field recordists, and sound, light, and graphic designers who engage and transform not just each other’s work, but also that of many others. Elements from Umashankar’s biography serve as a compass amid the material in vitrines, as a dancing body positions the endlessness of time in relation to a series of ruptures that is history.
The exhibition draws its title from Jain cosmology. Isipabbharabhumi is a Prakrit phrase referring to a special place above the heavens shaped like a parasol. It is where the disembodied souls of the perfected ones go to live in eternal isolation. There, sealed off from the rest of the cosmos, they are unable to interact with other souls, unable to hear them or be heard. The project was previously commissioned and presented by Haus der Kulturen der Welt.
The exhibition is realised in collaboration with and with contributions by Umashankar Manthravadi, Bani Abidi, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Mojisola Adebayo, vinit agarwal, Athira, Anurima Banerji, Lilia Di Bella, Moushumi Bhowmik, Madhuri Chattopadyay, Padmini Chettur, Arunima Chowdhury, Hugo Esquinca, Jenifer Evans, Tyler Friedman, Eunice Fong, Janardan Ghosh, Brooke Holmes, Alexander Keefe, Arun Mahadevan, Sukanta Majumdar, Robert Millis, Farah Mulla, Sachin Patil, RENU, Uzma Z. Rizvi, Sara, Kaustavi Sarkar, Yashas Shetty, The Travelling Archive, Umashankar and the Earchaeologists, Upendra Vaddadi, Maarten Visser, Todd Vos and others.
Coming to Know is a public programme extending from the exhibition A Slightly Curving Place, itself a response to the manifold listening practices of self-taught acoustic archaeologist Umashankar Manthravadi. The programme is organised by Nida Ghouse and Brooke Holmes with Moushumi Bhowmik, Padmini Chettur, Hugo Esquinca, Umashankar Manthravadi, v ness, and Tanvi Solanki and will start on the 5th of March.