Hyderabad, Telangana India
Organization: GITAM University
National Conference: ARTiculate: Arts, Research and Talk at GITAM
Conference Theme: Performative India
The Implications of “Performance”
A catalogue of the implications of ‘performance’ today includes a wide range of staged acts including social drama, concerts and theatrical performances, events of varied kinds, productions involving the various media, displays on streets, malls or public spaces, participatory events that challenge the audience and performer roles, or occurrences that blur the lines between reality and fiction. As a nation India simultaneously exists in the past and in the present. The subjects shift their world-views between the traditional and the contemporary and there is a constant engagement with the past to define and redefine present identities and histories. The venues of traditional performances shifted from the traditional temple or salon to the massive proscenium stages, and to mundane or unconventional spaces.The scale of performances too varied from being solo performer events to mega-events that broke world records. The very concept of ‘performance’ as an ephemeral ‘act’ also provides a metaphor for many occurrences and events that are staged for a public.
The Performing Arts in India: Past, Present, Future
The performing arts in India have been undergoing several changes since their renaissance in the early twenty first century when they were recast as tokens of the cultural identity of the new nation. Several traditional performing arts of India continue to sustain themselves through negotiating changed contexts, patronage patterns and audience expectations, while others recede into oblivion. The media industry has forged its own genre of popular music and dance circulated through the film industries that draw on traditional and imported forms. Reality television shows dole out their versions of talent, art, national heritage and culture. The institutionalisation of the traditional arts had opened the closed worlds to a larger public, and in recent times, the accelerated transition to virtual/online space potentially democratised the practices to an even greater extent. If in earlier times, some of the performing arts were accessible only to a minority, the new media opened the gates of the ivory tower. The new media also posed new challenges to artists in terms of audience engagement, teaching and sponsorship. In the multitudinous acts of performance, live or virtual, conventional or revolutionary, within or without the geographical bounds of the nation, there is an idea of India that gets asserted, challenged and created anew in each act.
Some of the central research questions the conference attempts to address:
How is the idea of ‘India’ created, iterated, asserted, interpreted and questioned through various acts (‘real’ or ‘fictitious’) that may be staged before an audience?
What notions of the nation and region are articulated by artists who carry forward traditional and contemporary forms of dance, music and theatre?
How does performance become a metaphor for several ‘acts’ by individuals in personal and professional contexts that emphasise the ideas of display and achievement?
We invite contributions in the following areas:
Postcolonialism, the nation and performing arts
The politics of culture and identity in performance
Arts education in India
Aesthetics and technique
Biographical research on Indian artists, critics, promoters
Arts administration, patronage and production in India
Social drama and staged events
Screen acts: the media and performances
Mythili Maratt Anoop