Khoj x TBA21 on St_age Safarnama
Khoj collaborated with Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) to curate two projects that engage with the idea of air and toxicity to be showcased on their digital platform.
Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) is a leading international art and advocacy foundation created in 2002 by the philanthropist and collector Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza.
About this edition
A sound piece tracing the textures and toxicities of air.
Invoking the presence of jinns to explore the textures and toxicities of air, Safarnama (2020) activates natural and sacred worlds to pay attention to the intimacy of toxic colonialisms. Borrowing its name from and referencing the history of travel literature produced in the Islamic world, Safarnama traces the journey of a jinn traveling through the emerging, extractive infrastructures of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. We turn to these otherworldly beings of air and fire to disrupt colonial protocols of seeing and knowing, to rewire our experiential modes, and to stretch open the possibility of witnessing at a time of heightened policing and repression. The jinn that we seek challenges the state project of erasure. Subsisting below the threshold of official state narratives, the jinn attunes us to the entanglements between sacred, human and ecological worlds.
The narration in Safarnama references the following sources: Anand Taneja, Jinnealogy: Time, Islam and Ecological Thought in the Medieval Ruins of Delhi (Delhi: Stanford University Press, 2018); Nishat Awan and Zahra Hussain, “Conflicting Material Imaginaries,” New Silk Roads, e-flux (January 2020), online; David Abrams, “The Remembering and Forgetting of the Air,” Storytellers before Dawn: An Anthology, eds. Juddha Su and Mi You (2018); an interview conducted by Dr. Hasan Ali Khan who generously shared it with us; and Robert Lebling, Legends of the Fire Spirits (New York: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd, 2010).
The Myth of Infrastructural Utopia: Development, Displacement and Desolation
To contextualise the works, Khoj also produced The Myth of Infrastructural Utopia: Development, Displacement and Desolation, a podcast hosted by anthropologist, Heba Islam.
This podcast takes the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as its starting point to talk about the messy contradictions and tensions between ecological considerations, economic aspirations, and the realities on the ground for marginalized Pakistani communities who find themselves in the way of ‘development.’
Urban planner Nausheen Anwar contests the myth of infrastructural utopia which frames such projects as eventually benefiting the public by posing the question: which publics? Anthropologists Tariq Rahman and Naveeda Khan discuss respectively the tactics used by land realtors to force evictions, and how Islamic theology and mythology can help us find a language to think through the alienation and unease caused by displacement.
The Aerosol Chronicles Capture Omlojan is a six-part sequential exploration with sound, voice, and moving images. Conceptualized in the wake of auto-generated toxicities that swarm in the air, this artwork attempts to spend some time with the question of being in common with ‘our’ atmosphere. It is also an exploration in not forgetting that there exist radically different ways of…
Formed in response to the climate emergency, the World Weather Network is a constellation of weather stations set up by 28 arts agencies around the world and an invitation to look, listen, learn, and act. For Khoj’s Weather Station, artists and researchers Shahana Rajani and Zahra Malkani, Atul Bhalla, Mithu Sen and Raqs Media Collective are undertaking walks and treks…
As an arts space, Khoj is constantly grappling with modes of knowledges across disciplines. Our curatorial approach strongly emphasises learning as praxis, accepting our role as trying to forge together new entry points into the thematics that interest us. Over the course of researching Does the Blue Sky Lie?, we realised the need to relearn what we know about the…
The Does the Blue Sky Lie? exhibition brings together works by Abhishek Hazra, Architecture for Dialogue + Salil Parekh, Hanna Husberg, Thukral and Tagra, Pradip Saha, Saraab (Shahana Rajani, Omer Wasim), and Sharbendu De. Engaging with questions of being in “common” with our atmosphere, the works delve into the effects of extractive infrastructures on landscapes, the hubris of technocratic solutions…
Come BREATHE with us Come LIVE with us Come ADOPT a piece of the sky with us Come PLAY with us Come IMAGINE a future with us Masks. Air Purifiers. Anti-Smog Guns. Smog Towers. Wearable Ion Generating Purifiers. Techno-scientific innovations are seen as the most desirable solutions for toxic airs by a neoliberal society. The first episode of Does the…
“Can man live elsewhere than in air?” – Luce Irigray Air is the site of “smell, breath, wind, weather, air conditioning, air pollution, science, sound, oxygen, smoking —the tactility of the atmosphere.” – Timothy Choy To live in New Delhi is to be in constant and intimate communion with toxicity— being marked in a bodily way by where you live…
INDOOR DANCEWALKS – RETROPERSPECTIVES AND VOYAGE 4 December 2019, at 6PM The indoor Dancewalk is a paradox that will be an initiation to the outdoor Dancewalk. The local and indoor Dancewalk let’s one apprehend with intimacy, the freedom of traveling through dance, in body and spirit, but within enclosed space(s). It is also an analytical and historical account of the…
For the year 2021, Khoj is delighted to announce the start of three new projects as part of Peripheries & Crossovers: art as social practice. The participants for this year are Stuti Pradhan, Saleha Sapra & Riddhi Batra and Swati Janu. For the year 2021, Stuti Pradhan will work with migrant women in the informal sector to bring out stories…
we are opposite like that is a series of interdisciplinary works that comprises mythologies from the poles, told from the non-human perspective of an elder that has witnessed deep time: the ice. It beckons the ghosts hidden in landscapes and turns them into echoes, listening in on the resonances of potential futures. The book is an almanac, a messy collection of…