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The Mrichhakatika Project
The Mrichhakatika Project was an interdisciplinary experimental performance residency which brought together theatre director Zuleikha Chaudhary, visual artist Mithu Sen, dramaturge Kris Merken and documentary filmmaker Shilpi Gulati to work together on a performance of Sudraka's iconic Sanskrit play Mrichhakatika (The Little Clay Cart).
About this programme
Theatre director Zuleikha Chaudhary, visual artist Mithu Sen, dramaturge Kris Merken, and documentary filmmaker Shilpi Gulati undertook a rich collaboration that resulted in the creation of The Mrichhakatika Project, an interdisciplinary experimental performance residency focussed on initiating fresh interventions with Sudraka’s iconic Sanskrit play Mrichhakatika (The Little Clay Cart).
Is it possible to think of a performance without stepping into the familiar framework of a play?
A theatre director, a dramaturge, a visual artist and a documentary filmmaker come together for a month to work on an experimental performance project, with the central text of Mrichhakatika, a Sanskrit play written by Sudraka, an ancient playwright generally thought to have lived sometime between the third century BC and the fifth century AD.
The text itself has been presented and represented numerous times, on stage, on screen and elsewhere, often foregrounding the central love story between the impoverished Brahmin Charudutt and the wealthy courtesan Vasantasena as the tale of triumphant erotic love. Other parts of the text include intriguing characters of the jewel thief, a court case, a scene of murder and a minor plot of insurrection and rebellion. In this project, the text is read and discussed, focussing on some of the lesser-known subplots and the social, economic and jurisprudential insights they provide within the framework of a play-text.
Within the studio spaces of KHOJ, a garden has been created to recreate the scene of the crime within the play, echoing a forensic investigation, not only of the plot of the play but of the idea of performance itself, exposing the work of acting and representation. The garden is also a utopia, the mis-en-scene of contemporary performances that radically move away from the binary relationship between the performer and the viewer.
As a parallel plot, the whole project has been archived as personal testimonies of the archivist, pointing at the challenges of documenting and archiving a performance process for posterity, beyond the obvious documentary tools of video, audio, writing and images.
Curatorial Intensive South Asia 2023
The fifth edition of Curatorial Intensive South Asia (CISA) 2023 returns with tutors Latika Gupta, curator based in Delhi and Shuddhabrata Sengupta from Raqs Media Collective. The Phase I of the Intensive is a combination of talks, seminars and workshops that look at histories of exhibition-making, institutions and their limitations. Emerging discussions incorporate a wide range of curatorial frameworks and…
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Body As Barometer – Live Arts Workshop 2022
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Khoj Live 2008
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Does The Blue Sky Lie?: Testimonies of Air’s Toxicities air expo 22
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Does The Blue Sky Lie?: Testimonies of Air’s Toxicities 2019-2022
“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-Outdoor: Dancewalks with Foofwa d’Imobilité
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…
Live Arts Workshop (LAW) and PARTOUT
The project originally developed out of discussions between the Johannesburg and New Delhi offices of Pro Helvetia and Jay Pather of the Institute for the Creative Arts at the University of Cape Town in 2017. The first edition of the project was convened in Cape Town in March/April 2019 with specialist practitioners and programming partners from New Delhi (Khoj), Cape Town (ICA), Maputo (Culturarte),…
Does The Blue Sky Lie?: Testimonies of Air’s Toxicities
Open Studio: 6:30 PM Onward, Thursday, 17th November 2016. ARTIST’S TALK: Pors and Rao (Soren Pors and Aparna Rao), Friday, 18th November 2016 at 11:00 AM. Experience House was on view at Khoj Studios till 20th November, 2016. _ We often think of physical space as a three dimensional entity that exists between objects. Although this entity may contain “nothing”…