Bishnupriya Dutt: ‘Artivism’ in post-colonial spaces.
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Kasernen, Building 1584, Door A, Room 112. Langelandsgade 145, 8000 Aarhus C
Bishnupriya Dutt: ‘Artivism’ in post-colonial spaces A socialist-materialist aesthetics of resistance
Deeply entrenched in the conjunctural (Hall, Gramsci) moment of transition from a colonial to a post-colonial moment, Indian theatre and theatre-makers, belonging to the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) plunged into an agit-prop mode of direct interventionist strategy, participating in the democratic processes as citizen artistes. The initial impulse developed into the dominant genre of the post-colonial political theatre exploring a new socialist materialist aesthetics. Focused on questions of intersectionality, subjectification and overcoming a deep sense of alienation due to colonial conditions, the theatre made critical disjuncture from the colonial model, explored alternate paradigms and drew on the international impulse around socialist realism. The question which the talk intends to probe is how do we look at such practices in terms of its political aesthetics – which Tony Fisher has coined as an ‘aesthetic exception’ (Fisher 2023).
Bishnupriya Dutt is Professor of Theatre and Performance studies, in the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi India. Her area of research includes politics and theatre, feminist readings of Indian theatre, contemporary performance practices and popular culture. Her most recent publications include Maya Rao and Indian Feminist Theatre (Cambridge, 2022); ‘Post-colonial imaginations: Afro-Asian dialogues in the past and present’ in Miriam Haughton et al eds: Theatre, Performance and Commemoration (Methuen, 2023). She has also led a number of international project collaborations with University of Warwick, Freie Universität, Berlin, and University of Cologne. She is currently the President of the International Federation for Theatre Research. She was a distinguished fellow at Temporal Community, EXC2020 (2023), F.U. Berlin and at present a Leverhulme Distinguished Professor at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London.