Accepted paper:

The cultivation of creativity and the management of chaos at an artists' village in Chennai

Authors:

Amit Desai (The Queen's University of Belfast)

Paper short abstract:

Reflecting on the status of chaos and civilization in the cultivation of creativity among contemporary artists in Chennai, India, I explore the ways these ideas are expressed through the establishment of the Cholamandal Artists’ Village, located on the outskirts of the city.

Paper long abstract:

Reflecting on the status of chaos and civilization in the articulation of creativity among contemporary artists in Chennai, India, I explore the ways these ideas are expressed through the establishment of the Cholamandal Artists' Village, located on the outskirts of the city. In particular, following Scott (2005), I consider how the Village operates at several levels of cosmological (or ontological) action. As a co-operative endeavour, the Village can be seen as an attempt to create artistic identity and economic security in the difference-producing, clamorous, and chaotic conditions of postcolonial India. This is an image of chaos that is full and in which creativity entails difference. However, the Village can also be understood as articulating a particularly Tamil vision of chaos as empty, uncivilized land, the cultivation of which through practices of work ('artistic creation') involves the flow of substances between land and people. I discuss how these complementary notions of chaos and creativity reveal the contradictions and tensions of artistic personhood and place in South India today.

panel P38
Art worlds and the city: perspectives from India and beyond