PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE: ZIGZAG AFTERLIVES
Film Experiments from the 1960s and 1970s in India
Zigzag Afterlives engages with a set of epiphanic film experiments made by Indian artists and filmmakers during the 1960s and 1970s. It contextualises the unacknowledged histories of collaboration and experimentation against a backdrop of nationalism and anti-colonial struggle, the global counterculture, the student and civil rights movements, and the Cold War.
Crisscrossing disciplinary boundaries and geopolitical constructs in a productively non-linear constellation, we encounter an extraordinary film by the artist Akbar Padamsee, the catalyst of the Vision Exchange Workshop (VIEW), a trans-disciplinary collective initiated in the late 1960s; the Indo-Canadian artist P Mansaram’s collaboration with the prophetic media theorist Marshall McLuhan in the late 1960s; a relatively recent metaphysical investigation into Padamsee’s lost film made at VIEW by the filmmaker Ashim Ahluwalia (2016); a visionary, but unfinished film from the 1980s by the filmmaker Kumar Shahani, one of the leading participants of VIEW. I am especially delighted to exhibit the artist and filmmaker Nina Sugati SR’s films, which she made while a student at Cal Arts in the early 1970s. Nina’s films reveal a landscape of the political subconscious, a terrain that few male artists of Indian origin had dared to explore in the 1970s.
11 November 2020
Syzygy, Directed by Akbar Padamsee. Film Animation by Ram Mohan, 1969-1970
Events in a Cloud Chamber, Directed by Ashim Ahluwalia. Single-channel video | Super 8/16 mm, 2016
Intersect, Directed by P Mansaram. Collage film featuring Marshall McLuhan and Ravi Shankar, 1967
18 November 2020
Hope No One’s Listening, Directed by Nina Sugati SR aka Nina Shivdasani Rovshen. 16mm Kodak Reversal Film, 1973. Transferred to Video and digitised with Screenplay Graphics approx. in 2018
A Memoir of the Future, Directed by Kumar Shahani. An Unfinished Film, 1983
25 November 2020
Breaking Ground, Directed by Nina Sugati SR aka Nina Shivdasani Rovshen. 16mm Kodak Reversal Film, 1972. Transferred to Video and digitised with Screenplay Graphics approx. in 2018
A World of all Intelligence, Directed by Nina Sugati SR aka Nina Shivdasani Rovshen and Ross Spears. 16mm Kodak Reversal Film, 1973. Transferred to Video and digitised with Screenplay Graphics approx. in 2018
Curated by Nancy Adajania
Image credits: Main image: Video Still taken from Events in a Cloud Chamber, (2016). Directed by Ashim Ahluwalia; Episode 1: Video Still taken from Syzygy, (1969-70). Directed by Akbar Padamsee; Episode 2: Video Still taken from Hope No Ones’ Listening, (1973-2018). Directed by Nina Sugati SR aka Nina Shivdasani Rovshen; Episode 3: Video still Breaking Ground, (1972-2018). Directed by Nina Sugati SR aka Nina Shivdasani Rovshen
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