Kochi Muziris Biennale | 2022
How to reappear: Through the quivering leaves of independent publishing
Curated by Kayfa ta / Maha Maamoun and Ala Younis
Independent publishing initiatives have long been dismissed or underrepresented. Despite the important role independent practices play—sometimes by their sheer existence—in questioning creative, professional and political boundaries, they remain little known, their publications hard to find, and the history of their struggles against restrictive publishing regimes scantily written. From hand-drawn, self-promoting paper kites to relatively established independent publishing houses, alternative publishing practices show the breadth of possibility, as well as the strength and vulnerability, of some of our most creative and daring civil propositions. This exhibition grew out of extensive and ongoing research into the significant yet relatively invisible practices of independent publishing. Parallel to the exhibition, a public program of talks, performances, book launches, workshops, and other gatherings—exploring the possibilities of publishing in the present moment. It comes parallel to the beginning of a new series of publications, Kayfa Tanshur (How to Publish), which explores the significant work of individuals, collectives, and institutions in the field of alternative art and publishing practices, past and present.
Aftermath – Swaminathan Commission Report – Serving and Saving Farming, Reports 1,2,3,4,5 + articles + reports on agrarian crisis.
Medium: Inkjet print on paper with pesticide spray machine and wooden boards – 3-sec spray after every 30 mins
Size: 72 x 120 x 72 inches
A Dozen – Distress Symbols
Medium: Cast Iron
Size: 12 x (5 x 6 x 4 inches), 6kg each kept on wooden board 120 x 24 x 2 inches
Newsletters – 20 edition,
size: 11 x 16 inch, single color offset, Year: 2020-21
Weeping Farm Book
Published 2022 7 inch X 9.75 inch, 275 pages, ISBN: 978-81-941750-6-3
Weeping Farm pinpoints the very aspect of the farmer’s fate: a life that hangs in limbo. A life that stages everyday battles of gender inequality, stagnating productivity, shrinking employment, food insecurity, privatization, escalating indebtedness, and climate change. The book hosts 9 iterations (exhibitions) along with interactive engagements through which a reader can witness three segments of the artists’ practice coming together: a) long-standing interest in the socio-economics of society; b) growing concern for research and lexicon building into the current systems; and, c) a desire to cognize the urgency using the metaphorical vocabulary of sports and play as a pedagogical tool.
Weeping Farm Game
“Statistically, every forty minutes a farmer commits suicide in India.”
These conversations are important to us, and we are very sensitive to respect this valuable insight. Researching at the primary level with the help of a local surveyor, we witnessed that the rate of this crisis is alarming.
Over the years, the generational divisions of land, climate change, vote-bank politics, a lack of implementation of the law, gender, and the general deficit of formal education in agrarian communities have severely affected the lives and livelihoods of Indian farmers.
These conversations are important to us. As a response to the current socio-political commentary, the Diptych work by Thukral and Tagra Studio, (i) Weeping Farm Book; (ii) Weeping Farm Gameplay, pinpoints the very aspect of the farmer’s fate: a life that hangs in limbo. By staging the duality of the figure of the farmer as a wrestler, the series addresses the urgency of the agrarian crisis.
The book hosts 9 iterations (exhibitions) along with 3 game-plays through which a reader can witness three segments of the artists’ practice coming together: a) long-standing interest in socio-economics of society; b) growing concern for and research into the current systems; and, c) a desire to cognize the urgency using the metaphorical vocabulary of sports and play as a pedagogical tool.
Nearly 75% of the full-time workers on Indian farms like you are women (OXFAM). Women are both directly and indirectly impacted by these alarming suicides. The Weeping Farm game looks at female farmers’ distress and agrarian crisis as a running commentary of the current time. Beating the clock, the players confront these distressed situations that narrate the farmers’ ongoing battle of survival against intangible and tangible issues.
Duration: 40 mins.
Thukral and Tagra is a Delhi-based artist duo comprising Jiten Thukral (b. 1976, Jalandhar, Punjab) and Sumir Tagra (b. 1979, New Delhi). Driven by the languages of painting, gaming, archiving, and publishing, their multifaceted studio practice reflects a critical investigation and engagement with Indian and global cultural and political landscapes. While their early career work dealt with the intricacies of consumer culture, Thukral and Tagra’s recent interests center on ecology and climate change; this has facilitating a revisiting of their family histories of migration and farming in the Indian state of Punjab.