Workshop at Sarai, all the fellows making their presentations. Shruddha started today morning with a presentation on Sarai. "Distributed Public Research Network," public knowledge generation. I was sitting at the far-end of the long table. I haven't had time to get my beard trimmed, I look anarchic, accepting, wild, unstructured?
There are some amazing individuals here, solid as rock, porous as clouds, rain-clouds?
Someone asked - should critique be pre-judging everything, or should it be commentary and negotiating?
B.Mahesh Sharma made an interesting presentation on the adoption of CNG in Delhi. He commented that our tendency to fallback on experts and trust them is dangerous.
Listening to others is rather engaging for me - it reminds me that I cannot invent every reality inside my head, I need to learn, need to know the world around me. Approaching the world with curious, eager-to-learn eyes is the only way to remain young. Karen Cohelo presented a paper on the urban water conflicts in Chennai. I liked the way she started her prestentation with lots of pictures of grids in the city. Grids of hoardings, of construction... of underground water-pipes. Pipes which no one hasa map of, a blue-print of - people know more about the pipes in the areas where they live, than the municipality which supplies water through them!
Science is a brand of logic. Science is about the time between life and death. Nitoo Das in her paper on hypertextual MSN poery communities talked of how a sense of community was developed online - through well-defined rituals and practices.
Do I have power over my work?
Maybe I should have a nickname - a screenname, have too much of a direct online presence. It is liberating to be writing as someone else as a non-self engagement. "strung onto something else". All research, all thought distilled and deliberated on enough is a story. Generalization, over-simplification is a guide to searching, seeking - is a form to fill in the shades, the details.
Archana Jha presented a very interesting histroy of Nautanki (a kind of folk theatre). The story goes this way. Kanpur develops as an industrial city. Labourers migrate to the city for work. They were exploited. They needed some form of entertainment. They started nautanki - which built on earlier forms of music and theatre. The industry fell through, the labourers moved to another city to search for work - nautanki disappeared! The situation of Kanpur which was the catalyst disappeared...
It is not that product is not important - but what is more important is what qualifies the product, the qualities, the story!!! The process which needs be talked about leads to a product which is a sum not a deliberation. Thinking without the pressure of having to decide. Shouldn't intwine my process of searching for my voice very strongly with livelihood issues - it can get very confusing. Both are different things, let it be that way.
Nitoo mentioned (while commenting on someone's presentation) how early performers, singers were reluctant to record their songs, because they said that - successful Indian classical music was the only good Indian singing, it should be performed only LIVE.
Performed only being swayed by "the moment's variance", being swayed by subtle doubts. Prashant Pandey asked an interesting question. Is what we know as the male and female style of singing, basically based on the concept and quality of voice developed by the female voice impersonators.
Shruddha called for "impersonation of impersonation". "Female impersonation of females of an earlier time."