Follow-up Workshop on Film Curatorial Practice, 23 Dec 2011

The five-day workshop was to be followed by another one-day workshop, for the select few participants who would then go ahead and screen their curatorial ideas. Participants were selected on the basis of the Curatorial Projects they submitted.                                       The much awaited follow-up workshop, finally done! Just as Christmas cheer was setting in and holiday season knocked on everyone’s door, we had our intensive little workshop on film curatorial practice on 23rd Dec at the Whistling Woods International Campus.

This was the first follow-up workshop since the restructuring of the Curatorial Project Programme for the KCFS Nodal Centre. The restructured programme entailed that workshop on film curatorial practice be turned into a five-day event, instead of the three-day event (as it was in the first year of the curatorial project); also, the five-day workshop would be followed by another one-day follow-up workshop for the participants selected for the Curatorial Project Film Screenings.Kaushik Bhaumik, Delhi-based Archivist and Curator, Senior Vice-President Osian, was the resource person for the follow-up workshop. The workshop was held at the Whistling Woods International Campus in Goregaon, Mumbai.

The day started with Kaushik Bhaumik’s invigorating talk on the idea of curating in context of films. Kaushik discussed how curation is a ‘certain’ commitment to a ‘certain’ cinema. He further elucidated the essential difference between film festival programming and curating, discussing how curating goes back to deep social needs and has nothing to do with cinema and art.

“Curation is connected to deity creation, in some ways. You curate someone and make a deity. You curate nature, life and make deities. The ideology of the religious system is to connect newer Gods to the older Gods, and thus the Avtara system. This could give us an insight to how Cinema got classified and how deities were created. Cinema is the closest what we have to religion in modern society. It has taken a religious function. It creates deities and role models. Every deity creation is about debates, you look religion and see Vasihnavas vs Shaivs, and that is what we see in Cinema.” Kaushik also spoke about how Curation, in perception is limited to Arthouse Cinema. He shared how different cinema was a different look at the same world but through a different lens and hence all forms ofcinema be curated. Talking of popoular and art house cinema and eventually Indian mainstream cinema, he remarked “India has an impoverished film culture”.

Kaushik Bhaumik

The day then proceeded with each of the participants presenting their curatorial proposal and further discussion on the same. Geetha, Professor from BITS Pilani, presented her idea – ‘Sonic Silences’- looking at the silences (literal and metaphorical) within the soundscape/soundtrack of a film. Afrah Shafiq, would be looking across the landscape of altering aesthetics in the practice of documentary, through her curatorial idea. Manjeet Singh’s Curatorial Proposal was about creating a space for yet unreleased films – the struggle to survive and yet create a work of art runs these dwellers of Mumbai,  their maiden features not yet made and if made then not released; Manjeet’s idea was about these unheard of short-films, features and documentaries. Troy Riberio’s curatorial idea involved elucidating the world of journalism through cinema. Atika Chohan, chose to look at the centrality of food as a recurrent film theme and how food-films marry cinematics and rhetoric so engagingly that it finds an instant receptivity amongst both the lay and initiated audience, through her curatorial proposal ‘Food in Films : The Kitchen Chronicles’.

As the workshop wrapped up, Kaushik shared a last few thoughts and suggested that all should watch a lot of films, and consistently try to bring about more and more of a critical element in their curatorial ideas.

The participants will screen films over weekends in the months of Feb-Mar 2012. Venues are being explored. Hoping to take the city of Mumbai by a storm, Cinema that is 🙂

– Svetlana Naudiyal

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