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Radical Housing and Socially-Engaged Art

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The International Mother Language Day was a day of interest not just for Emran, who put forward his expression but also for Rucha. Rucha looked at the day not only as the one to take cognizance and respect ones mother tongue but also of looking at the content, which she associates with a sense of freedom. This was done by basing her staged act on the dichotomy of bhasha and bhashya, i.e., a language and the content expressed. She asked all the participants to translate – ‘I have freedom of thought, speech and expression’, in their own mother tongue and also to draw relevant (personal) references to the same.

To execute the same she painted the exterior part of the studio building in red. The participants were made to hold a writing slate, with their name, age, country and mother tongue written on it. Clad in white, mug-shots of these participants were taken, after they would speak out their respective messages in their mother tongue. To Rucha this performance, as mentioned above, was beyond the language alone. The aim was to question the very notion of the freedom of speech, expression and thought. Moved by the killing of the rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and the communist leader Govind Pansare, the question of the freedom has been an incessant point of concern to her. To show the same, a sense of attack was emulated by staining their clothes in red. Further each of the participants were made to write their respective messages on their stained clothes.

Further it is interesting to see that such a collaborative effort with a wide range of inputs is possible only in spaces like such workshops or residencies, where the diversity within the members brings in a need for intellectual exchange.