100 (Un)Silent Ways
performance-presentation @ Speakers’ Forum
India Art Fair, New Delhi, 2019
Deviating from the usual format of conference proceedings, my intervention was made in a gibberish form of communication dominated by effective and performative qualities, directly referring to the gruesome politics of violence that defines the present. The presentation started with a statutory warning about the graphic contents of my slideshow, which would repeat intermittently throughout the presentation. Almost all the pictures I shared in my slideshow — varying from the passport photograph of Muhammad Akhlaq (the victim of Dadri lynching) to the viral image of Alan Kurdi (the Syrian boy whose body was washed up on Turkish beach) — were testimonies to our violently inhospitable political climate, calling for an ethic of radical hospitality freed from prejudice and intolerance. The presentation abruptly concluded with the following note:
“I, Mithu Sen, declare that all characters and narratives are (un)fictional in XXX XXX. I am not responsible for any (un)intentional similarities from reality. Visitor’s (un)discretion is advised.”
*The statement was a response to the increasing forms of censorship and self-censorship that directly or indirectly shapes contemporary art discourses.