SAI Kathmandu Office Lecture Series -- March 2015
Many cities across the globe have begun to organize public art festivals to place themselves on a more visible stage and to generate a local interest in new formats of art practice and in theme-related issues such as eco-awareness and climate change. Rather than looking at cities as a 'neutral' arena into which art works can be 'inserted' (for interventions or research-based art projects) and to which a wide range of publics can be invited and asked to engage, this event will look at Delhi and Kathmandu as specific cases and local phenomena, with their own spatial fabric and temporal logic.
The session considers two art events as starting-point from which different aspects will be considered: Christiane Brosius presents the case of 48°C: public art ecology (2008), until then the largest art festival with public art works by commissioned international and national contemporary artists in the Indian capital. Sujan Chitrakar explores the challenges and chances of the second Kathmandu International Art Festival (KIAF) in 2012. Both speakers will discuss the events and their underlining curatorial narratives through selected art works and sites. In conversation, they will touch upon themes such as how the city can be imagined and interpreted through display, who ‘owns’ the city, and how access to public sites but also different memories of the city can be restricted, opened and challenged. How can art works contribute to a critical rethinking of the city as an open and responsive space? How can particularity and diversity, participation and inclusion be ensured, for artists and, more general, for all citizens? How can art engage in thinking about the city’s ecology and life quality, its intangible and tangible heritage and future? What are the legacies of 48°C and KIAF 2 and is it possible to make distinctions and yet find parallels between the cases of Delhi and Kathmandu?
The session is divided in several formats: short input-presentations will be followed by a conversation between Chitrakar and Brosius, and followed by Q&A.
Christiane Brosius is Professor of Visual and Media Anthropology at the Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies at Heidelberg University. She is speaker of the Research Area "Public Spheres" at Heidelberg's Cluster "Asia and Europe in a Global Context" and works on urbanization and art production.
Sujan Chitrakar is Professor and Academic Program Coordinator at Kathmandu University's Center of Art and Design. He is known as one of the leading and most active artists of Nepal today, and organized numerous international and national art workshops and exhibitions.