Dashrath Patel surrounded by his 9-screen projection, India Pavilion, Montreal World Fair, 1967. Image courtesy The Dashrath Patel Museum.
Echoing Nikita Yingqian Cai's presentation, theorist and curator Nancy Adajania's talk again takes up the problematics of creating a national artistic style in countries that don't share the West's modern and post-modern cultural history. To Adajania, this is a reductive and deeply complicated task.
She proceeds to talk about Dashrath Patel, an Indian new media pioneer, sculptor, and exhibition designer, who Adajania believes to have a similar path as designers Charles and Ray Eames. Both Patel and Eames presented large-scale new media installations at World Fairs, that weird, defunct convergence of nationhood and exhibition. While the Eameses presented at the IBM Pavilion in the 1964 New York World Fair, Patel showed a similar transmedia installation at the 1967 Montreal World Fair. To Adajania, the similar nature of the practices of the Eameses and Patel sheds light on the different ideologies of the respective nations and their relationship to technocracy.
Adajania has published seemingly similar research previously on india-seminar.com
We're nearing the end of the first day of Bard's "The Future Curatorial What Not & Study What? Conundrum" symposium. While today was supposed to address the question "What to study? What is the future of exhibition histories/studies?", this seems to be a cypher for a more specific question: How do we create a global exhibition history when exhibitions happen in disparate nations that don't always share translatable cultural histories? How do we protect local art histories from becoming homogenized by the increasing influence of Western cultural history in the rest of the world? Is it imperative or reductive to create a hybrid local-international style?
Unfortunately, we're asking ourselves how Eastern art can be understood by the West, rather than how to educate Westerners to understand Eastern art.