Evidence Room staged a selection of projects from Negotiating Routes: Ecologies of the Byways, a major public art initiative supported by KHOJ, which invited practitioners to investigate shifting local ecologies at sites across India over a period of five years. Using a curatorial framework which re-framed documentary materials and in-situ interventions in the context of an exhibition, Evidence Room created a living archive which foregrounds the necessity for ongoing introspection on changing ecological landscapes worldwide.
Art and Law both frame larger questions around the production of truth and reality; the construction of narratives, and the creation and possibilities of alternative conditions and visions of the present. Can art meet the parameters of evidence? Evidence Room demonstrated how no single form of analysis provides a concrete assessment of the ecological impact of unchecked development projects. Instead, it is only by assessing the various types of evidence together that it is possible to derive observations, if not conclusions. We questioned whether works of art when examined as evidence can create radical new ways of assessing and creating value.
From 2010 – 2014, KHOJ supported nineteen site-specific artistic interventions across India, which addressed issues around public-art, ecology and community under the banner of Negotiating Routes: Ecologies of the Byways. KHOJ invited artists to reflect on ‘development’ as embodied in the rank infrastructural changes taking place across India, and the tenuous coexistence of this development with local ecologies. Negotiating Routes proposed the creation of alternate road maps, supporting projects which were site-specific and had an inter-disciplinary approach combining research and art creation by artists and local communities.
Negotiating Routes was conceived and initiated by Varsha Nair and Pooja Sood at KHOJ in 2010, and subsequent editions of the project have been curated by the KHOJ curatorial and programme team. Evidence Room was a retrospective of these Negotiating Routes projects.