#TSAM (The Still And Moving, November 25, 2018):
How are you experiencing time now? Is everything moving? Is the Still merely an ‘extract’ from the flux? Do images constitute both matter and memory? Can a 3D representation be created from several 2D images? How is motion detected? Is the interrelationship between the cameras themselves crucial to figuring out the structure of space? Is the moving image (truly?) a composite of still images? What lies between the moving and the still – GIFs? Is the perceptual world constituted by our senses? Is sensory stimulus itself always ambiguous? Can moments be appended if they are not already there? What exactly does exposure do to a photograph? Can you make stories out of whatever images you see? If Word is Photograph, then what is Articulation? Is cinema an art of time? Why do we have two eyes? Why is sports photography also physical? Do you bother lizards? Are dreams a field of action? Are still pictures ‘deeper’; why do they hold our gaze? Can only interesting things be perceived? Is high-level, purposive, & affective robotic vision possible in the future? What is our future like? &, will we belong, think, remember, & act differently in the world? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from photography (Arko Datto, Kolkata), computer vision (Dr. Venu Madhav Govindu, IISc, Bangalore), & critical theory (Dr. Rajan Kurai Krishnan, Ambedkar University, New Delhi).
SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TSAM show.
Arko Datto (photography) is an independent photographer based in Kolkata. He pursues narratives on topics such as forced migration, techno-fascism, surveillance in the digital panopticon, disappearing islands, nocturnal realms and psychosomatic stress of captive animals to name a few. Arko completed a Masters in Theoretical Physics and Engineering degree (Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, 2010), another Masters in Pure Mathematics (Université de Paris VII, Denis Diderot, Paris, 2011), and then went to complete a course in photojournalism at the Danish School of Journalism (Aarhus, Denmark, 2013). His long-term personal projects have been published in TIME, National Geographic, NEWSWEEK, Courrier International, BBC, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Financial Times Magazine, Liberation, Neue Zurcher Zeitung, Internazionale, Washington Post, Smithsonian, Harper’s Magazine, Vrij Nederland, Udvikling Magazine, Jyllands Posten, Mailman Kuvalehti, Le Journal de la Photographie, Marie Claire, The Telegraph, TOPI. His work has also been featured on numerous international literary/photography magazines, such as, British Journal of Photography (BJP), Wired, Slate Magazine, GUP Magazine, Neon, HOTSHOE, COLORS, and Feature Shoot. He has received multiple awards, including, Prix VOIES OFF at VOIES OFF Festival, Arles (2017), American Photo (2014), Award of Excellence for Of Colour, Sleep and Dreams at the POYI Awards (2014). Arko has published two books, titled, ‘Mannequin’ ( L’Artiere Editions, 2018), and, ‘Pik-Nik’ (Editions Le Bec en l’Air, 2018). He has also curated multiple exhibitions, including, ‘Truth Imaginariums’ (for Obscura Festival of Photography, Malaysia. 2015), the ‘Students’ Biennale’ (Kochi Biennale, 2014), ‘Eklektikos’ (Seagull Foundation for the Arts, Kolkata, 2012). Also, Arko has been awarded multiple scholarships, including, a Danish Government Scholarship (2013), and the French Government Eiffel Excellence Scholarship (2007-2011).
Dr. Venu Madhav Govindu (computer vision) is an Associate Professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. His primary research interest is in computer vision, and in problems that lie at the intersection of geometry and statistical estimation. He completed his B.Tech. in Electronics and Electrical Communication Engineering from IIT Kharagpur, and then received his M.S. in electrical engineering from Boston University (USA). He then went to University of Maryland, College Park (USA) to complete his Ph.D. in electrical engineering. The long standing focus of his work has been the development of the framework of motion averaging – a principled approach to large-scale 3D camera motion estimation. He delivered an invited keynote address on this work recently at the International Conference on 3D Vision (3DV) 2018. The current interests of his research group include robust approaches to motion averaging, large-scale structure-from-motion problems, high quality shape reconstruction using depth cameras, and the application of motion averaging in geometric SLAM. Other problems of recent interest include principled methods for image processing using patches (e.g. denoising) and efficient higher-order grouping, & methods for improving and extending the capabilities of depth cameras. In addition to his work in computer vision, he also has a serious interest in modern Indian history and political economy, especially the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi. He has co-authored an intellectual biography (titled: The Web of Freedom, J.C. Kumarappa and Gandhi’s Struggle for Economic Justice, Oxford University Press (2016)) of the Gandhian economic philosopher and ecological thinker, J. C. Kumarappa (1892-1960), and is currently working on a thematic history of Gandhi’s life and work during the 1930s and early 1940s.
Dr. Rajan Kurai Krishnan (critical theory, anthropology) is an Associate Professor in the School of Culture and Creative Expressions, Ambedkar University, New Delhi. His research interests are film theory and critical theory. He earned his Ph.D. (2009) in anthropology from Columbia University (USA), based on his research on Tamil cinema. His thesis titled ‘Cultures of Indices: Comparative Anthropology of Tamil and Other Cinemas’, developed an anthropological-semiotic theory of cinema. Prior to this he competed both his M. Phil. (Anthropology, 2005) and M.A. (Anthropology, 2002) from Columbia University (USA), his M.A. (History, 1999) from University of Madras, Chennai, and his B.A. (English Literature, 1981) from National College, Trichy (1981). He has been writing in Tamil and English since the late 1980s on a wide range of themes including literature, cultural practices, films and politics. His broad thematic interest has been the processes of subject formation through the axes of political action, historical and fictional narrations. These interests emanate from, and are situated in the context of the extraordinary influence that cinema has wielded on Tamil society during the course of the twentieth century. Through his essay, ‘When Kathavarayan Spoke His Mind: The Formations of the Political Through Film Making Practices in Tamilnadu’ (New Cultural Histories of India), Dr. Krishnan provided the outline of his thesis on how filmic narration, political action and historical narration combined to produce the Hero-Actor-Leader phenomenon in which the actor playing the role of the hero in film narration managed to become a political leader and a sovereign figure in the exemplary case of M. G. Ramachandran. He plans to write further on the phenomenon to extend the critical purchase for film theory and political philosophy. His philosophical and theoretical resources are mainly drawn from the works and ideas of Charles Sanders Peirce, Gilles Deleuze, and Paul Ricœur.
Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.
#TSAM mentions: Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze, Roland Barthes, Andrei Tarkovsky, & Stanley Kubrick, among others.