Grant Period: Over one year and six months
Suresh Kumar is a Bangalore-based visual artist, who in recent years has worked with performance and community-based arts practices. This grant supported Suresh’s new project, ‘Per-Fumes’, through which he wished to develop the pedagogy of collaborative community and public art by documenting the work of 180 Bangalore-based visual artists via the medium of video. For the past three years, Suresh has been carefully documenting and digitally archiving art-related activities in Bangalore. He has also been involved with the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath as an arts teacher for several years, and his impetus for documenting and archiving comes from his dissatisfaction with the current pedagogy of education in the arts. The ‘Per-Fumes’ project was a response to Suresh’s ongoing concern about education in the arts, documentation of contemporary practices, and his interest in creating collective spaces for sharing in-process work. ‘It is also an ideological comment on Suresh’s approach to arts practice.
In this project, Suresh will invite participation from young artists, and train them to work with video, using an apprenticeship approach. These younger artists will then produce a series of 13-minute videos of other artists’ work. Suresh intends to go through the artists alphabetically. An additional criterion in selecting artists for documentation is their familiarity with Suresh’s own work as he believes only those who understand his arts practice will be amenable to participate in this project, or understand its modalities and significance. Suresh will be creating a website where all the videos will be hosted. Each month he will also publish a DVD magazine consisting of 12 videos, which will be posted out to art schools across Karnataka; functioning as a library resource for students and faculty who do not have access to the internet. In addition, he will hold screenings of 6 video works every two weeks in a suitable arts space in Bangalore, which will have the documented artists engaging in a discussion with the audience. He hopes that this will open up the space for dialogue between artists in Bangalore and will also keep regional art colleges updated on contemporary arts practice in the state. Suresh imagines ‘Per-Fumes’ to serve as a ‘living archive’ of contemporary arts practice and reiterates that the title of the project invokes the idea of the many fragrances of Bangalore’s arts practice.