OBJECTIVE

Shrine Empire Gallery/Prameya Art Foundation in collaboration with South Asia University invites you for the first in the series of workshops titled The Whims of Future conceptualised by Premjish Achari.

The workshop is formulated as a year-long series of roundtables led by Amitesh Grover, Leonhard Emmerling, Tushar Joag and Premjish Achari which will culminate in a symposium-exhibition.

Our contemporary times is characterized by political turbulence, which has stripped away any possibilities of hope, justice, and asylum. Because unprecedented economic, political and social turbulence has resulted in a climate rife with insecurity and precarity, authors such as Brecht, and later Hal Foster have termed the situation as “bad new days”. The seismic changes in the everyday life forces us to look to the future with apprehension. Utopia seems more necessary than ever. How will we characterize the age we live in, based on the dominant emotions of pain and suffering that people experience? Has the time come to move ahead and forge a better future? What ideals would we hold on to, and what all would we abandon in this quest towards the future? Is philosophy, and art ready to imagine the beginnings of that better society?

To imagine the future is also to take the responsibility of actual. The specific emotional mood of our time is the sense of crisis and fear, a presupposition of an upcoming cataclysm. It is the vision of the end of civilization in an apocalyptic climate. The lingering fear of our inner demons and external enemies is active more than ever. How do we overcome this? There is suspicion in the air, it stems from the realities of violence and doom. Such a situation can be averted by collectively imagining a tomorrow which is radically different from the present.

To see what is coming is to anticipate, expect, wait, but also to prepare a blueprint for its achievement. To unravel the wonder of the new now, so that we do not miss the opportunity and lament in the future. The time is for farewells too. To say goodbye to the old rigidities, to limitations of imaginations, to constraints of institutions and structures.

Hegel has brilliantly summarized our inability to understand the potentials of historic moments in the present through the allegory of the owl of Minerva which will only fly at dusk. According to him we only comprehend the meaning of a historical condition after it passes away. We remain to take stock of the missed opportunities after each epoch. The task today is to be both politically and philosophically revolutionary. Such a task also comes with negations, actively working on the present by rejecting the oppressive structures and institutions of the past. To achieve that we have to say farewells.

This workshop is an attempt to deliberate upon the future of institutions and practices. We invite academics, artists, curators, researchers, activists, writers, scientists, technologists, etc., to assemble a constellation of visions, meanings, and propositions to think about relationships, associations, and alliances across time. This workshop-roundtable will deliberate on the nature of philosophy especially on the idea of new and body, screen culture, technology and performance art. As noted art historian Claire Bishop has observed “we seem to be in a period of anticipation”, and this workshop opens up the possibility to engage with this vital notion of “future” influenced by theories of the Anthropocene, Feminist/Queer practices, Marxism, and Psychoanalysis.