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Prayas Abhinav

First at Khoj
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* Post-graduate student at CEMA (Center for Experimental Media Arts), Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology [Bangalore], 2007-(2009).
* Part of Booming Ground, the Online Writing Mentorship Program at University of British Columbia, 2007-(2008).
* Attended the “Quest” workshop on participatory communications organized by HealthLink Worldwide in Calcutta, July 2005.
* Attended first year of the B.A. (Psychology) program of St. Xavier’s College, 2000.
* Completed schooling with St. Xavier’s Mirzapur, Ahmedabad, March 2000.
Selected as one of the five young filmmakers whose ideas for 5.5 minute short-films were supported and produced by an initiative of Kumar Talkies/Public Service Broadcasting Trust(PSBT), March-August 2005.
Awarded a fellowship from the Centre for Media Studies (CMS), Vatavaran Environmental Film Festival to produce a film on daily commuters on cyclists, titled “Leaving No Trace,” November 2005.
Received a fellowship from Vermont Studio Centre (USA) for a four week residency (poetry) in April 2005.
Awarded the Independent Research Fellowship by Sarai, Centre for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), January 2005.
Won second prize in the International Committee of Red Cross-Times of India essay competition in 1999, which led to a visit to Kosovo and Switzerland.
“Sandcastles in war-time”—Finalist in the Award for new writers hosted by the Glimmer Train Press, Oregon, USA, in spring 2002.
“Laughter by the windmills”—Finalist in the Award for new writers hosted by the Glimmer Train Press, Oregon, USA, in Fall 2002
1.) “A Place To Stay” – Documentary / Hindi / 5.5 minutes / miniDV / 2006
Synopsis: While thousands in Mumbai, lose their home every month, thousands also search for one. One of these thousands, Prayas is disoriented and frustrated, fearful of what would happen if he doesn’t find a place to stay. His friend offers him his place for the weekend, but for the week he still has to figure something out. He starts exploring Mumbai at night hoping to discover some places where he can sleep safely. As he begins his exploration, he finds friends who guide him to places he could never have imagined as shelters. And Prayas finds a place to stay!
2.) “Leaving no trace”- Documentary / English / 20 minutes / miniDV / 2005 (Co-directed with Manjushree)
Synopsis: With the natural disasters like floods, droughts, heat waves and heavy rains becoming more regular than normal weather, it is time for man to think. Are they really natural? Are we not responsible for the deterioration of our environment? Is it not high time that we brought significant changes in our lifestyle collectively? And why should we wait for the government to tell us to stop polluting our surroundings? This film explores the possibility of giving up petrol vehicles and using bicycles instead.
3. “The Paris Accord” – Documentary / English & French / 35 minutes / miniDV / 2006
Synopsis: A 35-minute film about a conference held by Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue ( to bring people together to examine relations between creators and users, seeking to identify common interests and new opportunities to collaborate. Discussions explored new and existing social and business models for the intermediary between the creative person and the consumer.
4. “Jingle” – Video Art / English / 5 minutes / Photographs / 2003
Synopsis: A study of the advertisements in Ahmedabad’s public-spaces. A visual and literary interplay with the hoardings in Ahmedabad and how they pull us/romance us constantly. A story of living in a city in confusion, query and irony. There are elements of recording, memory, commentary and romance in these works. I have used the stance of both the advertisers and the critics of the advertising industry. I talk of the experience – of constantly facing the hoardings, being wooed, excusing them, feeling irritated, resentful and uncomfortable.
5. “A Baby Balanced On A Banana” – Video Art / English / 10 minutes / Digital8 / 2003
Synopsis: A baby balanced on a banana (bbb) is a personal, introspective video. It deals with the disillusionment of growing-up, of shedding innocence and wearing street-smart, grown-up clothes. Of “reality,” its popular discourse and the revelations of its experience.
6. “A Life In A Day” – Video Art / English / 10 minutes / Digital8 / 2001 / (team-work)
Synopsis: A metaphorical condensation of the process which a creative person goes through – from envisioning a work to creating it, sharing it and then eventually moving beyond it to other explorations. This was made along with a team of artists at the Kanoria Centre for Arts(KCA) in Ahmedabad.
“The Secret Life of Superheroes”—a short-story published in Muse India magazine (May-June 2007) and The New Quest (July-September 2007).
A few poems published in MAG and in 2004.
“An Afternoon, in detail”—a short story published in The Times of India in March 2002.
“Even war has limits”—published in The Times of India in 1999, Second Prize winner in the essay competition organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
I have written and published in The Asian Age, and Digital Opportunity (a Channel).
Art Exhibitions
Solo Exhibition of Photographs in September 2002 at Alliance Française Ahmedabad.
Solo Exhibition of Photographs in Karnataka Chitra Kala Parishath, July 2002.
Held first solo exhibition of paintings in the Lalit Kala Akedemi in Ahmedabad in 2000.
I have read my poetry at Natrani Cafe (2003), Jazz Garden (2003) and Cafe Mint (2004).
Conferences, workshop and teaching
Presented a paper titled, “Cityspinning: Frameworks for a Collective Reinterpretation of the Ambient Possibilities of Public Spaces” at Sensory Urbanism, a conference organized by Dr.Raymond Lucas at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow (UK) on 8th-9th January, 2008.
Participated as a panelist on a panel titled, “Films, video and art – filmmakers, artists, actors, and the viewing public” at the conference titled, “New relations between creative communities and consumers.” This conference was organized in Paris by Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) on June 19-20, 2006. The conference seeked to “look at models and relationships that recognize the creative community’s desire to earn a living, the interest of the public in obtaining affordable access to works, and the interests of both parties in supporting an environment for creativity and innovation.”
My paper, “Selling the view, not the river” was scheduled for a discussion and reading on the panel titled, “Open Communities: A Discussion” at the FM10 Openness: Code, Science and Content conference in Chicago. The conference provided a platform for analysis of “concrete proposals for sustainable models for open collaboration in creative domains.” May 15-17, 2006.
I’ve been working as a volunteer with Creative Commons India, based at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Powai since January 2006.
I taught a course – “Community-space, communication and democracy of access” at Centre for Environmental Planning Technology (CEPT). December-March 2005.
I organized a conference, “Beware, Freedom Ahead” on free culture in Ahmedabad along with the Free Software Foundation (FSF) in February 2005. Richard Stallman the founder of FSF was a speaker at this conference.
I facilitated a one-month creative-writing workshop, which discussed the processes of writing poetry, at Kanoria Centre for Arts in November-December 2002.
Community initiatives
Am one of the Poetry & Art editors of DesiLit Magazine. Founded by like-minded activists, writers, and readers in 2006, DesiLit Magazine will be a biannual online magazine, publishing in Summer and Winter. We are committed to creating a forum for exceptional contemporary writing and art focused on South Asia and the diaspora.
I published and edited a literary magazine, Crimson feet ( since March 2002. I published 3 print editions and numerous on-line editions from past 2002-2005. The magazine has been suspended from 2005.
Produced, directed and scripted a 3.5 minute music-video of a song titled, “Bas ek tamanna hai” for IL & FS Education and Technology Services (IL & FS IETS), December 2006.
Worked with Pinstorm, a leading Internet search-driven marketing firm. I managed the search engine optimization team and did copy-writing (November 2005 to January 2007).
Played the role of a communications consultant at CHETNA (Centre for Health Education Training and Nutrition Awareness), Ahmedabad from June to November 2005 (I produced video documentaries, worked on research papers, prepared reports and co-ordinated social-communication campaigns.)
Wrote a series of poems exploring issues of communal discord and violence commissioned by Oxfam India Trust, March-April 2005.
Worked as a consultant for (Link Software), wrote a range of product descriptions, press releases and artist profiles. I also managed the Public Relations for them for some time and did the photo and video-documentation of their events. (May-July 2003)
Shot a photo-documentary titled, “Learning to share”, for MANZIL, which is a NGO based in New Delhi, working in the field of education. June 2002.
I was incubated at’s venture incubator in Pune and National Institute of Design (NID)’s Design Business Incubator (NDBI) for a few months over the past two years for my media projects.
United States of America (USA), Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Kosovo (former Yugoslavia).
A bibliography of press coverage about me
1.) “Sensitivity that is straight from the artist’s heart” – The Indian Express (Ahmedabad)
by Sharmila Sagara, July 11 2000
This was a review of my first solo exhibition of paintings
2.) “Sensitive Moods” – Deccan Herald (Bangalore)
by Marta Jakimowicz-Karle, July 29 2002
A review of my solo exhibition of photographs in Bangalore
3.) “Two views through a lens” – The Hindu (Bangalore)
by Malini White, August 2, 2002
A review of my solo exhibition of photographs in Bangalore
4. Profile in the “Art” section – The Times of India (Bangalore)
July 2002
A review of my solo exhibition of photographs in Bangalore
5. “Poetic license” – The Indian Express (Ahmedabad)
by Anurita Rathod, March 15, 2003
Profiling the launch of Crimson feet magazine
6. “From bad to… verse” – The Hindu Business Line
by Pratap Ravindran September 17, 2003
Profiling the launch of Crimson feet magazine
7. “Not a fish of water” – The Indian Express (Ahmedabad)
by Brahma, February 11 2003
Review of my poetry performance at Natrani Cafe
8. “Crimson feet at your doorstep” – The Times of India (Ahmedabad)
March 2 2004
Profiling the launch of Crimson feet magazine (second issue)
9. “A Blogging Unconference” – Business Today (magazine)
by Vaishna Roy, October 8 2006
It covered my presentation on the Creative Commons India project at the BlogCamp Conference in Chennai
10. “City Bajao” – Time Out (magazine)
by Nandini Ramnath, December 1-14, 2006
A review of “A Place to Stay,” a part of a package of short-films screened by Avishkar, Vikalp and Short Circuit on December 7th at Mahim (W) Mumbai
11. “The Long and Short of it” – DNA (Daily News & Analysis, Mumbai)
by Taran N Khan, March 24, 2007
A feature on “A Place to Stay,” as part of profile of the different kinds of people using short films to tell their story.