Research Projects

Images and Notes from Bhubaneswar
An exploratory project that seeks to describe a rapidly evolving city through visual, textual and oral narratives.

Visual Arts and Cultures
Being located in a restless urban milieu, my approaches are to an extent shaped by the city.
City living breeds city art - and a city artist feeds of the jostlings of urban spaces.
Artists in towns create town art; in villages the artists create village art!
Yet again the artist, lives in a borderless suspension of sorts - both belonging to and distant from,
the village, the town or the city.
I am deeply interested in traditional art practices, not just because of their visual appeal,
but also because they embody essences that hold much for the future of art practice.
I am equally interested in contemporary urban art, for its nervous energies.
I did a short stint as an apperentice with Ghanshyam Sharma, a painter of pichhwais in Nathdwara.
Subsequent studies of the patachitra painting and stone carving traditions of Orissa,
interactions with Gond tribal artists in Madhya Pradesh; a familiarity with traditional potters,
as well my association with urban artists, writers, film-makers, poets and playwrights,
leads me to the view that the roots of art are mysterious and many.
The world over, one notices an increasing tendency towards urban living. Clearly, this is because cities
are closely linked with new thoughts and ideas, and offer the promise of a comfortable life.
Concealed within the allure of cities, are forces of decay and disintegration.
I am interested in the study of subcultures that seek to resist the logic of the systemic and the systematic.
I am also interested in understanding how traditional societies cope with and adapt to contemporary pressures.
It appears that resistance is as futile as alignments and it is the nature of one's surrender
that holds the keys to the worlds beyond words.

Contemporary Literature
I have never been fond of reading novels and it has been long since I read a book from cover to cover.
I recently came across some pretty insightful notes on books. Ulises Carrion, who penned these notes,
observes that 'novels are books in which nothing happens.' While this may appear rather harsh towards the creators
of fictional works, it appears remarkably true; the form of the literary novel is perhaps outdated.
With frightful accuracy, Ulises observes that 'libraries are cemeteries for books'.

Studies in Philosophy
I have not yet been able to construct a sentence that has the word 'Hegelian' used in a very effortless sense
(except perhaps this one!).
however I am deeply interested in Hegel, Heidegger, Croce, Spinoza and many others.
I wonder if this love is actually, some colonial residue; some longing for the 'other', and I would like to believe
that this metaphysical slant is nothing other than healthy human curiosity for the unknown.
I have a great reverence for Jiddu Krishnamurti, Sri Aurobindo, though both of them
symbolize something quite different from the touching simplicity of earlier mystics.

The Damroo Project