Who is in Town Anyway

11 June - 16 June 2007
Who is in Town Anyway
Who is in Town Anyway
Who is in Town Anyway
Who is in Town Anyway
Who is in Town Anyway
Who is in Town Anyway
Who is in Town Anyway
Who is in Town Anyway
Who is in Town Anyway
Who is in Town Anyway
Who is in Town Anyway
Who is in Town Anyway
Who is in Town Anyway
Who is in Town Anyway
Who is in Town Anyway
Who is in Town Anyway
Who is in Town Anyway


Artist(s):
Neha Choksi$ART0011

At the start of the Who is in Town show dates, I started the project of meeting and interviewing new arrivals to the city. The newcomers have chosen to leave their homes elsewhere. I ended up interviewing mostly lower class and lower middle-class folk, but that was simply chance. I ended up asking if I could have their belongings. You may say that the basic desire on my part was to divest the newcomer of everything connected with home. I then invited various people to collaborate on the performance project. The performance project was videotaped on the 16th. Allow me to describe the mechanics of the performance. Upon entering the Project 88 space, in sequence you (the generic you): 1) encounter rows of tagged objects 2) see Neha in person and on the video monitor alternately saying sentences like 'Please give me one item that you are carrying before you proceed.' 'Yadi me aapse poonchoo ki mujhe yeh sab cheeze chaahiye to aap kya bolenge.' 3) You pick up a tagged item, relinquish one item to Neha, who is stamping and writing on photocopies. 4) You encounter the first of 5 spot lit performers (the light switches on and off in a cycle ranging from 10 to 15 seconds per performer) 5) A woman with a peti, some photographs of a boy, and other items, is saying 'agast me ham yahaan se nikal jaayenge.' (Jyoti Dogra) 6) A man asks for a hug, 'Mein is sheher me nayaa hoon, kyaa aap mujhe apnaayenge, kyaa aap mujhse gale milenge.' On the 11th, he was speaking from a position of loneliness, on the 16th from a position of wanting equality. (Pramod Prajapati or Anil Sahu) 7) A man lying on the floor stares from behind suitcases and No Loitering signs. (Arindam Ghatak) 8) A woman is seen working the ropes, the suitcase, or her body, variously pointing, in time to the words (more or less, in Marathi), 'sakaali mi uthlo tar, jo surya ikde ugavthe te aata ikde ugavle, malaa disaa ulti diste malaa aata.' In essence s/he said that in the morning when s/he wakes up the sun that used to rise there now arises from here, and now (his sense of) directionality is topsy turvy. (Faezeh Jalali) 9) A man stamps, writes upon, and wordlessly hands out a visiting card. Instead of the name the stamp says 'Some One,' instead of the address, it notes, 'in this room regrets having to leave behind.' And the thing that is regretted is added by hand. (Rehaan Engineer or Karan Makhija) 10) A large room, with photocopies on the wall, three LCD monitors, one projection, and a low large platform atop which tagged items collect. a) The color photocopies are of the belongings Neha obtained from the newcomers to which b/w photocopies are continually added. The b/w photocopies are of the object you gave Neha. All photocopies have been written upon. The tagged objects return to the platform once you write on the tag as requested to do so by an officious woman (Niti Gourisaria). b) The large projection is of a youth I interviewed; the edited video only reveals his silences, speech is edited out except for one lone sentence 'agast me ham yahaan se nikal jaayenge.' The photos strewn around Jyoti were of him. c) The three small LCD monitors show people removing their belongings from the bag, telling us about each, the provenance, so to speak. My voice then asks, more or less, ' Yadi me aapse poonchoo ki mujhe yeh sab cheeze chaahiye to aap kya bolenge.' Their response is also included. The central monitor reveals that the performer asking for a welcoming hug from the audience is also a newcomer too. Both Pramod Prajapati and Anil Sahu are actors, as the video on the LCD reveals by the by, too. They are both interviewed as well as act in the performance. The two performances varied in the following ways 1) I welcomed people differently; on the day of the second performance not only did I ask for something that is meaningful or personal, but I also asked visitors variously to consider how the object relates to the performers or to take it upon themselves to integrate it in someway. Time permitting I asked most people to tell me why the object they were relinquishing was personal or meaningful. The first day I was purposefully breezy, more at rubber-stamping and mechanical. 2) The person asking for a hug was different, as were their manners and means, and their success rate, for that matter. 3) Jalali spoke the Marathi words on the 11th, whereas on the 16th she used a highly manipulated soundtrack of theoriginal words from one of my interviewees. The list of participants/collaborators in order of encounter: Neha Choksi, Jyoti Dogra, Pramod Prajapati (on June 11) or Anil Sahu (on June 16), Arindam Ghatak, Faezeh Jalali, Rehaan Engineer (on June 11) or Karan Makhija (on June 16), Niti Gourisaria.