Thursday 24 May 2007

4 2 gra fee

We have new blog. New photoblog. Please meet Click III.

On the power of crowds

From The Globalist's Forget Web 2.0. Say Hello to Web 3.0, by Evgeny Morozov
What is most troubling about this story is that the tremendous power of crowds is still being wasted on issues of marginal global importance. Try mobilizing online civic action of the same magnitude for most global causes: climate change, human rights, or Darfur — and you'll see that the magic number to unlock a HD-DVD leads to much more focused, organized and passionate action.

Sunday 20 May 2007

Cochin - 28

Cochin - 27

Cochin - 26

So pleased with this one, we are. Sprinted—well, okay, stumbled and huffed and panted and lumbered—along the bank to get to the spot where the fisherman would be in the ripples lit by the rising sun, found flat spot to place camera in lieu of tripod, got the shutter speed just right, and after five shots, he obligingly bent over to haul in his net just as the shutter opened. All at 10x zoom. *chortle, chortle*

Cochin - 25

Cochin - 24

Cochin - 23

Cochin - 22

Cochin - 21

These chaps paused as they were about to pass each other and stopped to chat. P'raps they were talking about where the fish were biting. Or maybe it was about the evening's toddy-drinking plans.

Cochin - 20

Cochin - 19

Cochin - 18

Cochin - 17

Cochin - 16

Cochin - 15

No, we didn't stay up all night to take these shots. No, this is not the Invasion of the Body-Snatchers. We had actually gone to sleep before 10p.m., and were up before dawn! And was it worth it!

(This and the next 13 shots — 15 to 28 — were taken off the shore of Micheal's Land, part of the Kondo Syokai group.)

Friday 18 May 2007

Ishmael, please*

I’m floating on my back, in a blood warm-sea. Land is a thin smudge on the horizon. There’s not a sound to be heard except the stray seagull, and the watery patpatpat of the swell against my body. A voice yells my name. I raise an ear out of the water; Kedar, leaning over the rail of the Rosa, is demanding that I turn over and swim for the camera. Damn. Duty must be done. I flip over, and execute a few energetic freestyle strokes.
That's the first paragraph in a piece we wrote for Outlook Traveller's May edition. It will appear is now on Your cheque.. in due course.

Pictures by Kedar Bhat, who was the pro photographer on the trip, with his fancy-shmancy camera.

*Coffee's on us if you sniggered at the title within 5 seconds.

Wednesday 16 May 2007

Cochin 14

The Mattencherry waterfront.

Cochin 13

Haven't a clue what building this is. And don't want to know.

Cochin 12

How to make sure you get credit for this construction: get your name painted in larger letters than those used for the name of the project.

Cochin 11

Cochin 10

Kind of, um, varied, this coastline, no?

Cochin 9

The secret to pulling the customers in: clear signage. :)

Cochin 8

The famous Brunton Boatyard, now restored and converted into a hotel.

Cochin 7

Can't do Cochin harbour without taking a shot of the Chinese fishing nets, can you?

The crew gets the Rosa ready to sail

(Rosa is owned and operated by the Malabar Yacht Club, part of the Kondo Syokai group. Details on their sailing excursions are available here.)


When you see a "No smoking" sign this size rumble past you, and you're in a dinky little sailng yacht, you obey.

This, and the next few shots (up to #14) were taken from the Rosa, as we puttered out of the Mattencherry jetty, out of the harbour and into the open sea. We saw dolphins closer than we've ever seen them before. But we were so busy gawping at them, we forgot to jump down below decks and get our camera. Alas.

The Time 100?

Well, yeah, okay. But old hat.

Try this. Which list would have Al Gore at the top, Heather Mills at 4, Anna Nicole Smith at 5, Tome Anderson at 8, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen at 9, Hugh Hefner at 10, Paris Hilton at 12, Osama at 25, Jesus at 28, the Toyota Prius at 36, Borat at 47, Bill Clinton at 59, Michael Jordan at 61, Kim Jong Il at 66, Karl Lagerfeld at 74?

This one.

[Link from Ook]

Oh, and can we please stop using that frigging ugly word "liplock," please?

This one's been doing the rounds, but here you go anyway:
The earliest written record of humans’ kissing appears in Vedic Sanskrit texts — in India — from around 1500 B.C., where certain passages refer to lovers “setting mouth to mouth,” according to Mr. Bryant.
From the New York Times.

Things not to watch when you're sipping coffee..

..unless, of course, you like coffee coming out of your nose and having to mop up the keyboard afterwards. In which case it's all good.

P.S. This special commemorative film marks the Duck's move to his own brand new pond.

Niraj Jain, meanwhile, was unvailable for comment

J.A.P. protests.

Shuddha has solutions.


Monday 14 May 2007

Chandra Mohan was freed today..

At 3:pm today, police have arrested and carted away two bus loads of students and artists mostly students from MSU and some artists/activists from Bombay.

Several present have been verbally threatened and pushed around.

There is a 100 strong crowd of right wing supporters who have not been arrested.

Kindly alert press ASAP and inform all at nationwide demonstrations today. Will keep updated.

Baroda Peaceful Demonstration began at 2 pm. ChandraMohan was freed at noon
From Shaina A on the Sarai Reader mailing list.

not taut, barely logical

Since this is from The Hoot, we want to believe it's a very subtle joke and not a really awful sentence in a plodding, half-baked article:
..the whole activity of commercial web development and promotion, which accounts for a major portion of work in this area, is run by tautology, repetition and forced writing.
[Italics ours.]

Oh, and 'tautology' or 'tautological' is used in two other places in that piece. Sigh.

Simultaneous all-India public protest against the arrest of an art student and suspension of the dean of M S University

Do please pass this information around to friends in the cities mentioned in the first section. Not sure of the details of other protests nation-wide. Will add here if more comes in.

Bloggers, do note that someone seems to be documenting all this on a blog. Do link. And, y'know, it would be really nice if y'all could post about this too. If you do use this information, please credit these sources:

This information via phone calls, emails and SMSes from Manjula Padmanabhan (who also has a chronology of events down here), Ranjit Hoskote, Jerry Pinto, Dionne Bunsha and Denzil Smith.

Update: Amit Varma just mailed to say that the whole issue is also being covered on Art Concerns

By now, you would have read, heard or seen the news of the arrest of a student, Chandra Mohan, and the suspension of the dean of Maharaja Sayajirao University's Fine Arts faculty in Baroda, Prof. Shivaji Panikker. (For those who haven't, please catch up through the press links below.)

Participate in the simultaneous all-India public protest
Date and time for all:
14th May, 2007, 6p.m.

New Delhi - Rabindra Bhavan
Mumbai - Jehangir Gallery
Vishakapatnam - Faculty of Fine Arts, Andhra University
Cochin - Kashi Art Café
Hyderabad - Fine Arts, S N School, University of Hyderabad
Bangalore - M G Road, opposite Gandhi statue
Santiniketan - Kala Bhavan
Guwahati - Press Club

Kolkata: Academy of Fine Arts (4p.m.?)
Chennai: Lalit Kala Academy, Greames Road, 4p.m. and
Hues Gallery, Eldams Road, 6p.m.

Those attending are requested to wear black and/or white.

For updates on protests, background information and news links, please see fineartsfacultymsu

Below these links, please read:
Hindu Sacred Art Offends Self-appointed Custodians of Hindu Culture, By Ranjit Hoskote, and an open letter from Gulammohammed Sheikh.

News links:
Times of India
The Statesman
The Hindu
Zee News
Sahara Samay
Indian Express
Hindustan Times
Hindustan Times

Hindu Sacred Art Offends Self-appointed Custodians of Hindu Culture
by Ranjit Hoskote

In a grimly ironic turn of events following the 9 May arrest, without a proper warrant, of Chandramohan, a final-year fine arts student at the M S University, Baroda, the self-appointed custodians of Hindu culture have now demanded the closure of an exhibition showing the vital role of the erotic in Hindu sacred art.

Earlier today, 11 May, students of the Faculty of Fine Arts at the M S University put up an exhibition of reproductions of images drawn from across 2500 years of Indian art. In a silent protest against the brutality with which their fellow student has been treated for exhibiting works that BJP and VHP activists claim are offensive and obscene, the students put up pictures of the Gudimallam Shiva, perhaps the earliest known Shiva image, which combines the lingam with an anthropomorphic form; a Kushan mukha-linga or masked lingam; Lajja-gouris from Ellora and Orissa, resplendent in their fecund nakedness; erotic statuary from Modhera, Konark and Khajuraho; as well as Raga-mala paintings from Rajasthan. All these images, among the finest produced through the centuries in the subcontinent, celebrate the sensuous and the passionate dimensions of existence – which, in the Hindu world-view, are inseparably twinned with the austere and the contemplative.

This treasure of Hindu sacred art did not win the favour of the establishment. The Pro Vice Chancellor issued a verbal request that the exhibition be closed, which the Dean of the Fine Arts Faculty, Dr Shivaji Panikkar, ignored. A written order followed, and was similarly ignored. The Pro Vice Chancellor then arrived at the venue, accompanied by some members of the Syndicate of the University. They requested Dr Panikkar to close down the exhibition, then ordered him to do so. When it became clear that the Dean would not bend to their will, they had the exhibition locked.

It appears that the champions of a resurgent Hindu identity are acutely embarrassed by the presence of the erotic at the centre of Hindu sacred art. As they may well be, for the roots of Hindutva do not lie in Hinduism. Rather, they lie in a crude mixture of German romanticism, Victorian puritanism and Nazi methodology.

What happens next? Will the champions of Hindutva go around the country destroying temple murals, breaking down monuments, and burning manuscripts and folios?

Open Letter from Gulammohammed Sheikh

Dear friends

You must have known through media reports that Chandra Mohan, a student from the Department of Graphics at the Fine Arts College in Baroda has been arrested on 9th of May 2007 for making an allegedly controversial painting depicting nude figures with some religious motifs. The arrest followed the storming of the university premises by a group of outsiders. The work in question was part of a display in the college premises for assessment by a team of examiners for a Master's degree in Fine Arts. Charged with sections 153 and 114 as well as sections 295 A and 295 B, he has been denied bail and is presently in Central Jail, Baroda.

In a civilized society any dispute on a controversial depiction or content of a work of art can be dealt with through dialogue and consultation with experts in the field rather than left to self-appointed moral police employing coersive means. In the present case, the outsiders taking law into their hands barged into the university campus without prior permission, did not consult or inform the Dean of the Faculty before disrupting the annual examinations in progress. The reports are that they returned again to abuse the Dean and threatened him with dire consequences.

Such an instance of assault on a student by outsiders in the university premises is unprecedented in the history of the Faculty of Fine Arts and must be condemned in no uncertain terms. The Fine Arts College known nationally and internationally for upholding the highest standards of creative and critical practice has also earned reputation for its firm commitment to the freedom of expression. The former authorities of the university like Smt. Hansa Mehta, the very first Vice Chancellor in the fifties up to Prof. Bhikhu Parekh in the eighties have stood by the Faculty and its ideals. The present assault seems to strike at the very ideals on which it was built by pioneering artist-academics and supported by enlightened university authorities. The present administration of the university has not initiated any action against the trespassers or applied for bail for the victimized student. The students and staff of the Fine Arts College have organized a dharna and the Acting Dean, Prof. Shivaji Panikker has planned to undertake a hunger strike in the College premises against the assault on the student and callous attitude of the university authorities. (Latest report is that the Department of Art History has been sealed and Prof Panikker has been suspended by the university authorities). A solidarity demonstration of artists, intellectuals and cultural workers from all over India is called on 14th of May at the Fine Arts College premises beginning 2 pm with an appeal to all concerned to gather there to lend their support. (Contact details below*).

As an alumnus and former teacher of the Faculty of Fine Arts, I fear these developments may imperil the working of an institution which in many ways has formed our lives; and is indeed an integral part of what we are today. I hope all other alumni and teachers as well as concerned artists and intellectuals of the country will come forward to protect it in its moment of crisis when the values it stands for are threatened.

Gulammohammed Sheikh
11th May, 2007

Faculty of Fine Arts (or Fine Arts College),
Pushpabug, University Road, Vadodara (Baroda) 390002

14th May, 2 p.m. onwards

Contact emails: Shivaji Panikker: shivji dot panikkar at gmail dot com
Deeptha Achar : deeptha dot achar at gmail dot com

Friday 11 May 2007

Left wing

We haven't run the rest of the Cochin pictures through quality control (you know who you are) yet, but in the meanwhile, take a look at this film, dating back to 1995, where a 777's wings are subjected to huge strain (on the ground, we hasten to add, in controlled conditions), far exceeding that from really bad turbulence. Reassuring to a nervous flyer. Like we are.

Wednesday 2 May 2007

Because we feel the need for some goofiness

What is "set?"
What is "status?"
What is "here?"