Resisting being uber-cool: an artist's encounter with Bengaluru
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores the active creation of Bengaluru as a cultural hub and the possibilities for an arts practice to negotiate these terms of access to the city.
Paper long abstract:
Bengaluru in the past decade has not only made it on to the international map as a IT hub but has also been actively designing itself as a cultural city offering up new spaces for contemporary art and art education. This paper explores the recent spurt of art spaces in Bengaluru, both private and public, not as offering something transformative but as underlining and codifying already existing frameworks surrounding cultural capital and its production. I encounter these places as an artist mapping my way into the art space here, into this city, and the conditions of work under which I am asked to perform including free labour and lack of transparency with regards to opportunities, jobs and funding. I also explore the use of language, more of a cut and paste from galleries of the Global North, that offers the possibilities for an arts practice that seeks to engage with the excluded other but ends up reiterating the power equations that keeps the other from accessing these spaces. I end with exploring the possibilities for an arts practice to escape the confines of these 'organised' art spaces, an attempt to resist and occupy the city to newly imagine it beyond the flows of capital decided by art markets elsewhere.
Art worlds and the city: perspectives from India and beyond