#TIIP (The Ideas In Print, June 01, 2019):

What would you have bought – an air pump, or a printing machine? What can you read? Does the idea of ‘writing’ automatically lead to the idea of ‘book’? Do you worship books? But, also immerse them in rivers? ‘Who’ has written the divine texts, & why? Do you (still) read aloud? Does the nature of support (say, clay tablet…) determine the writing style (…cuneiform)? Are media effects deterministic? What made paper cheap? What made/makes it to books? Why did the printing press not take off in Goa in the 16th century? Can there be complex societies without writing systems? Did print revolutionize both the Word and the Image? Why are full old books now often dismembered? Do ur-objects exist? Do books ‘want’ to be edited and ‘re-read’? Was copy always an antonym of original? Does writing have to be read to be effective? Can you play Bach just by reading an early 18th century music sheet? Are machines making impossible books possible again? Will physical books always remain a highly political object? Will we be able to read against the grain in the future? &, will writing/reading always be there (even if books disappear)? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from literary studies & book history (Prof. Swapan Chakravorty, Presidency University, Kolkata), art history (Dr. Yael R. Rice, Amherst College, Amherst), & heritage conservation (Anupam Sah, CSMVS Museum, Mumbai).

Listen in…

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TIIP show.

Prof. Swapan Chakravorty (literary studies, book history) is Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore Distinguished Chair in the Humanities at Presidency University, Kolkata. He has been Professor of English, Jadavpur University (1985-2015), Director General, National Library of India, Kolkata (2010-2013), and Secretary and Curator of the Victoria Memorial Hall (2012-2013). Prof. Chakravorty received his B.A. and M. A. from Presidency College and Jadavpur University before he went to Oxford University (UK) to complete his D. Phil. His research interests lie in early modern stage and literature in England, book history, literary theory, and the culture and literature of Bengal in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Prof. Chakravorty has published more than 15 books (as author, editor or co-editor) including: Print Areas (with Abhijit Gupta, Permanent Black, 2004), Moveable Type (Permanent Black, 2008), Founts of Knowledge (Orient BlackSwan, 2015), & The Oxford Companion to the Book (ed. Michael Suarez and H. R. Woudhuysen (OUP, 2010)) . He has also lectured in institutions across the world, including in, Virginia, Alabama, London, Oxford, & Glasgow. He has also served as Visiting Professor at Universiti Malaya, and the DELMAS Fellow, University of London. He is currently on the Governing Board of Centre for Studies of Social Sciences Calcutta (CSSSC), and is also the Managing Trustee of Kolkata Museum of Modern Art. He has also received numerous awards including the Narasingh Das Award, Delhi University (2009), and the Lifetime Achievement Honour for contributions to literary studies (Matri Mandir (Kolkata)).

Dr. Yael R. Rice (art history) is Assistant Professor at Department of Art and the History of Art, Amherst College, Amherst, USA. Her research interests are art and architecture of South Asia and Greater Iran, with a particular focus on manuscripts and other portable arts of the 15th through 18th centuries. Her current research concerns physiognomic analysis as a courtly and artistic practice, Mughal depictions of imperial dreams, paintings made for the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb (1658-1707), and material and object encounters across the globe during the early modern period. Dr. Rice completed her B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from University of North Carolina (1998), M.A. (Art History) from University of Massachusetts (2004) and received her Ph.D. (Art History) from University of Pennsylvania (2011). She has presented her research work in more than 60 conferences or workshops in multiple institutes/universities, such as, University of Texas (Austin, USA), Jnanapravaha (Mumbai), Art Museum Seattle (Washington, USA), European Association for Asian Art and Archaeology (Zurich, Switzerland), and The Aga Khan Museum (Toronto, Canada). Between 2009-2012, she held the position of Assistant Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and in that capacity curated exhibitions of court portraits from South Asia, ragamala paintings, and works by Rabindranath Tagore, and other seminal Bengali artists of the early twentieth century. Dr. Rice has received numerous grants/fellowships, including the NEH Senior Long–term Fellowship (American Institute of Indian Studies, 2018-2019).

Anupam Sah (heritage conservation) is a heritage conservation-restoration practitioner, strategist and educator and is presently the Head of Art Conservation at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) Museum, Mumbai. He also is founder of the Himalayan Society for Heritage and Art Conservation, and Anupam Heritage Lab (India) Pvt. Ltd. Anupam works with a systems approach based on the inter relatedness of things and where judicious interventions at apparently unrelated points in the networks can bring about desired impact in the system. Anupam received his B.Sc. from University of Delhi, and a Masters Degree (with Distinction) and a Gold Medal in Conservation of Works of Art from National Museum Institute, New Delhi. He pursued further specializations and professional education at Universita Internazionale dell’Arte, Florence, and at University of York (England). He has authored multiple books, regularly conducts workshops, designs trainings programs, and also teaches at universities. He has been advisor and consultant to various national and international cultural institutions and is the recipient of the Sanskriti Award for Social and Cultural Achievement for his work in the field of heritage conservation with a strong community link. The President of Italy conferred on Anupam, the title of Knight of Order of the Star of Italy for excellence in the field of art conservation. His exhibition and book, titled, ‘Conserving the Collection – The Caring Path for 5000 years of our Art’ (2016), explored the nuances of art conservation with examples of conserved objects of various materials and technologies. He has also edited another book titled, ‘Indigenous Methods and Manuscripts Preservation’ (National Mission for Manuscripts, Government of India). [Note: Also a SynTalkr on #TGBH (The Geography Behind History)]

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

#TIIP mentionsEzra, Socrates, Phaedrus, Saint Ambrose, Prophet Muhammad, Ali ibn Abi Talib, Johannes Gutenberg, William Shakespeare, Thomas Harriot, Walter Benjamin, Jorge Luis Borges, & D. F. McKenzie, among others.