Sunlight Trust

Extending Arts Practice

Grant Period: Five months

The Goa Centre for Alternative Photography (Goa-CAP) was established in 2010 as a platform to promote alternative photographic practices in India. IFA has supported two residencies — ALTLab 1.0 and 2.0, in 2010 and 2011, respectively — to enable Goa-CAP to bring together individuals working with alternative photographic practices, as well as to generate interest in these processes among photographers accustomed to more mainstream approaches to photography. These residencies have helped Goa-CAP gain recognition as an important centre for alternative photography in India and create national and international networks of artists and photographers experimenting with silver-nitrate based processes. Over the last year, Goa-CAP has also been aggressively exploring new sources of funding and has secured support from the Goethe-Institut for a series of eight talks across major cities in India in 2013.

IFA believes that it is crucial to support ALTLab 3.0, the third alternative photography residency planned by Goa-CAP, because it gives the Centre an additional year to attract financial support to ensure sustainability. This year they will invite a full-time art/photography writer to participate in the residency along with the four photographers. The writer-in-residence will have the freedom to explore multiple writing modes in responding to photography, and in particular, alternative photography. In addition, she/he will have an opportunity to create content for the catalogue for the final exhibition of the residents’ work.

As in the previous years, the residency will require the four photographers from across the country to pre-select the photographic process they wish to explore over two months. The processes that will be available for selection include: Van dyke brown, Mike Ware New cyanotype, Gum Bichromates, Salt Prints, Albumen prints, and Kallitype. In view of the success of the walking component introduced in last year’s residency, a similar approach will be followed this year too. Following an intense workshop introducing the residents to various alternative photographic processes, they will be required to participate in a 38 km walk over three days, tracking a pre-curated route covering the diverse landscapes of Goa. The residents will use their chosen photographic processes to capture and develop the images taken during the walk, and will use the experiences garnered to identify and develop their individual project themes and ideas.

Apurva Kulkarni will continue to serve as the mentor. As in previous years, the residents will be maintaining a blog account of their work process, but in addition to this, in ALTLab 3.0, they will also be carefully documenting the processes they experiment with in a scientific manner. It is hoped that these documents will begin to form the basis for an almanac for future photographers and researchers. This is an important part of the residency this year from Goa-CAP’s point of view, as they are interested in exploring issues around the chemical properties of photographic film and the influence of climatic and environmental conditions on alternative photographic processes in the future.

The supply and use of chemicals have been a concern in the previous years of the residency, and in the forthcoming edition, Goa-CAP hopes to put in place systems which will optimise the use of both materials and the residents’ time, so that the focus on experimentation is sustained. The residency will culminate in an ‘Open Day Lab’ at the end of the two months, where the artists and art writer in residence will get to share their work and processes with Goa’s arts community and the general public.

This grant was made possible with support from the Sir Ratan Tata Trust (SRTT).