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Does The Blue Sky Lie?: Testimonies of Air’s Toxicities A Staged Hearing

“Does the Blue Sky Lie?: Testimonies of Air’s Toxicities,” is a 3 year project partially funded by The Prince Claus Fund, through which it is supporting art projects that engage with the idea of air and toxicity: its composition, movement, landscapes and scales of impact; paying special attention to its social connections.

About this edition

Conceived by Khoj International Artists’ Association and Zuleikha Chaudhari, in collaboration with lawyer Harish Mehla; ‘In the matter Re: Rights of Nature’ is a staged hearing which foregrounds the Rights of Nature as an expansion of the Right to Life as enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Following on from an earlier project, Landscape As Evidence: Artist As Witness which was held in a similar format, the project employs the format of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in order to explore “principles of natural justice” in the context of environmental justice and interrogates the role art can play as a means of knowledge production in the context of ecological interrelations. Can artists and artworks articulate the web of ecological, cultural, economic, historical and political relations as legitimate narratives in a judicial context?

The fictional case, filed by Khoj International Artists’ Association and Zuleikha Chaudhari, New Delhi, indicts the Union of India through the Ministry of Environment, the respective State stakeholders, and a fictitious Farmer’s Union for their inability to stop stubble-burning in areas of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi. The hearing stages the arguments put forth by the three parties considering fundamental issues that place both the human and non-human in polluted ecosystems.

The hearing will include practicing lawyers, expert and artist witnesses, retd. judges and will follow protocols, procedures and laws of the NGT. Grounded in current environmental laws in India, the hearing will entail opening and closing statements by the lawyers, cross examination of witness testimonies along with evidence, and a judgement in the matter by the constituted Bench. The final judgement is unknown and will be delivered at the end of the hearing.

For more on the Does the Blue Sky Lie? Testimonies on Air’s Toxicities project, read here.

Find out more about the staged hearing and watch the full performance here

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