Chennai Photo Biennale 2019 is pleased to present its first International Conference on Photography titled Light Writing – The Photographic Image Reloaded curated by their artistic director Pushpamala N. The conference will be held on 16-17 March 2019 at the Museum Theatre, Government Museum, Egmore in Chennai between 10 am – 6 pm. The conference is presented by The Savera and supported by the Shergil-Sundaram Arts Foundation, and will include a dynamic program of curators, critics and scholars from different parts of the world who will present papers and discuss the state of photography today. “The conference is a platform created to question. We are questioning the practice in its past, present and future forms, prodding one to think and join the dialogue around photography – Does the photograph stand as a witness or does it spread fake news? Is the photograph evidence? Is the photograph a document or is it somehow a strange and surreal version of our world? Why are photographers getting arrested and killed? Overall, this is going to be a cutting edge conference exploring various contemporary concerns about photography as it evolves.
“ – Pushpamala N., Artistic Director, Chennai Photo Biennale 2019 Speakers and their titles include: Image and reality, in the age of Artificial Intelligence by Ashwini Asokan (India), Archive as Agency: Possible Histories from the Margins by Diwas Raja (Nepal), Seeing in The Eye: On Photography and The Gaze by Emeka Okereke (Nigeria), Writing with Numbers: Images, Computation and Subjectivity in the Digital Imaginary by Kristoffer Gansing (Germany), Selfies and Citizenship: The Reflections of a User by M.K. Raghavendra (India), The Visual Retreat of the Rural by P. Sainath (India), Photography and Cinema by Rashmi Sawhney (India), The Partition in a Digital Age: An Archeology of
Personal Photographs through Absence and Presence by Sabeena Gadihoke (India), Imaging the Imagined by Satyajit Mayor (India), The Aesthetics of the Earth; Or, Nature Represents Itself by Shela Sheikh (UK), Archive of the difficult past: violence, memory, resistance and photography in Sri Lanka by T Shanaathanan (Sri Lanka), Unfolding the Image of the Invisible: Making sense of being ‘What?’ by Y.S. Alone (India) and Photographing the Vietnam War: A Comparative Reading of Two Photo books from Vietnam by Zhuang
The title of the conference derives its premise from the very origin of the word ‘photography’ itself which comes from the Greek roots photos ‘light’ and graphe ‘writing’ or ‘drawing’, literally meaning ‘light writing’. Themes that will be explored in this conference include the anthropocene, land and environment; photography and the body; celebrity culture; the digital age; social media and surveillance; human rights and citizenship; photography as witness; forensic architecture; photography as memory; the archive as resistance; activism and politics; artificial intelligence; non-human photography.
The second edition of Chennai Photo Biennale (CPB), an international biennale of photography that opened on 22 February and will be on until 24 March 2019 with large scale exhibitions in a variety of public
spaces, showing works by over 50 artists in print from 13 countries across the city of Chennai. Alongside the exhibitions, the Biennale includes an extensive programme of artist talks, workshops, films, projections, residencies, skill development in photography and much more.
Notes to the editor
About Chennai Photo Biennale
CPB is an international Biennale of photography, which takes place in Chennai across several historical, art and public venues in the city co-founded and co-organized by the CPB Foundation, a non-profit trust and Goethe-Institut Chennai.
Besides exhibitions, there will be an international seminar, workshops, film screenings, talks and performances. The city will be immersed in photography in various forms during the course of the Biennale. This will be a premier visual art event and a benchmark in the cultural scene of Chennai and India. While the first edition was modest, the 2nd edition will be more ambitious in content and engagement.
About Chennai Photo Biennale Foundation
The CPB Foundation is a non-profit charitable trust engaged in promoting photographic art, meaningful socio-cultural discussion and educational activities. Active around the year, the Chennai Photo Biennale is its primary activity.
About Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, Chennai
The Goethe-Institut is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institute, active worldwide. It encourages international cultural exchange and promotes the study of German abroad. In Chennai, it has been deeply entrenched in public engagement projects.
About Pushpamala N., Artistic Director, Chennai Photo Biennale
Often known as “the most entertaining artist-iconoclast of contemporary Indian art”, Pushpamala is one of the pioneers of conceptual art in India and a renowned photo and video-performance artist, sculptor, writer, curator and provocateur. She is known especially for her sharp feminist work, her rejection of authenticity and embracing of multiple realities. In her collaborations with writers, theatre directors and filmmakers, she seeks to subvert the dominant discourse. Starting her career as a narrative sculptor, she began working in staged photography and photo-performance in the mid-1990s and has been a major influence on the photography scene in the country. Her
richly layered and inventive work uses the idea of cultural memory to explore contemporary society with irony and wit. She exhibits widely in India and abroad in solo shows, Biennales and museum shows. In 1996 she created a fictional institute in Bengaluru named Somberikatte (Idler’s Platform in Kannada) through which she conducts talks and seminars. Pushpamala N. lives in Bangalore and her work can be seen at www.pushpamala.com