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I remember Guy Debord’s warnings of a world mediated primarily through images — a society of the spectacle — as I write this note. That such a society is fascism’s main ally, we are all discovering in different parts of the world today.
Virtual hyper-connectivity has paradoxically alienated us from the warm solidarities of community; that place of embrace where we can enjoy our intelligence and beauty with others, where we can love; a place where we don’t need the ‘other’ as an enemy to feel connected.
At the heart of my curatorial adventure lies a desire for liberation and comradeship (away from the master and slave model) where the possibilities for a non-alienated life could spill into a ‘politics of friendship.’ Where pleasure and pedagogy could sit together and share a drink, and where we could dance and sing and celebrate a dream together.
Yet, how can one perform a biennale in a location where the biennale itself has become the sole pedagogic window into the art of the world? In a context that is so particular, as Kerala is, what could be a model, that would allow for self-determination for the audience?
Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life is therefore conceived in two parts: The exhibition, constructed as a symphony of ideas — synchronous as well as diachronous, with affect and matter of factness — as well as a discursive, performative, architectural space called the Pavillion where everyone potentially can be a curator. The Pavillion can be a space where there would be no hierarchies of who could speak and what could be said and in which language; the joy of listening, speaking — agreeing and disagreeing — and working through differences, contradictions and confusions together with visitors; a perfect site for pleasure and pedagogy. The ethics of ceding authority as a curator in this space can result in the eros of sharing.
Imagine those pushed to the margins of dominant narratives speaking: not as victims, but as futurisms’ cunning and sentient sentinels. And before speaking, listening to the stone and the flowers; to older women and wise men; to the queer community; to critical voices in the mainstream; to the whispers and warnings of nature.
If we desire a better life on this earth — our unique and beautiful planet — we must in all humility start to reject an existence in the service of capital. Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life asks and searches for questions in the hope of dialogue.
© Text: Anita Dube