#TMOM (The Magic Of Making, December 03, 2016):
Is all making curating? Is the location of a maker a fiction? Are there always rules to making? Is any expression preceded by an act of repression? How, then, is black magic different from magic? Is alchemy possible? Why can’t every molecule be made? How are some isomers easier to make? Can experience be created without materials? Does architecture help us carve an address in this vast universe by housing rituals in space? Are films different because it is a temporal medium and does not ‘exist’ in nature? How was Vitamin B12 synthesized? Are chemical reactions (always?) rhythmic and minimalistic? Why did Mies want to take his architecture to almost nothing? Can time (& making) be controlled? In documentary (unlike in feature) films, is God the director? How does one experience life? Does any language constantly surprise the user? Can one be provoked by a building to make a choice between virtue and vice? When everyone makes, then what makes some making special? Might all making be co-making? Can chemical materials be made for any desired property in the future? Would it be possible to predict what can be made? Do you know how to swim? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from architecture (Prof. Kazi K. Ashraf, Bengal Institute, Dhaka), film-making (Prof. K. P. Jayasankar, TISS, Mumbai), & chemistry (Prof. Eluvathingal D. Jemmis, IISc, Bangalore).
SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TMOM show.
Prof. Kazi K. Ashraf (architecture) is an architect, urbanist, and an architectural historian working at the intersection of architecture and its beyond. He is currently the Director of Bengal Institute of Architecture, Landscapes and Settlements in Dhaka. Prior to this, he spent nearly twenty years teaching in the US, in various positions at University of Hawaii (Manoa), Pratt Institute, Temple University, and the University of Pennsylvania which he continues to visit. His research interests include architecture and asceticism, intersections of architecture and landscape, and contemporary Asian architecture and urbanism. Prof. Ashraf received his Bachelor of Architecture (1983) from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET, Dhaka). Later he received his Masters from MIT and Ph.D. from University of Pennsylvania. His publications include ‘The Hermit’s Hut: Architecture and Asceticism in India’, and ‘An Architect in Bangladesh: Conversations with Muzharul Islam’, and the Architectural Design special issue ‘Made in India’ which received the Pierre Vago Journalism Award. His coedited books include, ‘An Architecture of Independence: The Making of Modern South Asia’, ‘Sherebanglanagar to Pundranagar: Architecture in Bangladesh’, and ‘Sherebanglanagar: Louis Kahn and the Making of a Capital Complex’. His edited volume ‘Locations: Anthology of Architecture and Urbanism’ will be launched worldwide in December 2016. He is also a cartoonist and the co-founder of the cartoon magazine ‘Unmad’.
Prof. K.P. Jayasankar (film-making) is Professor and Dean, School of Media and Cultural Studies (SMCS), Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai; a center he was instrumental in setting up. He has an M.A. in German Studies and a Ph.D. in Humanities and Social Sciences from IIT Bombay. His key research interests are documentary film, censorship, television studies, media and cultural studies, critical theory, hermeneutics, and Advaita Vedanta. His documentary films, made jointly with Prof. Anjali Monteiro, and screened across the world have won 32 national and international awards. The most recent award is the Basil Wright Prize for ‘So Heddan So Hoddan’ at the 13th RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Film (2013). A presiding thematic of much of his/their work has been a problematising of notions of self and the other, of normality and deviance, of the local and the global, through the exploration of diverse narratives and rituals, ranging fromthe stories and paintings of indigenous peoples to the poetry of prison inmates. He recently co authored a book titled ‘A Fly in the Curry’ (Sage, 2016) on independent Indian documentary films. He has been a fellow at University of Heidelberg in 1984 & Goldsmith’s College, London in 1996. He has also lectured at universities in the USA, Europe, and Asia & currently holds an Honorary Faculty position at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Prof. Eluvathingal D. Jemmis (theoretical chemistry) is currently a Professor at the Department of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. After completing his M.Sc. at IIT Kanpur (1973), he received his Ph.D. from Princeton University (1978) and then did postdoctoral research at Cornell University (1978-80). Prof. Jemmis joined the then fledgling University of Hyderabad in 1980 where he spent nearly 25 years contributing in many ways to the making of the University. In 2005, he accepted an invitation from IISc, and in 2008 went on a deputation for five years to found a new institute (IISER, Thiruvananthapuram). His key research interests are theoretical inorganic & organic chemistry, computational chemistry, transition metal organometallics, electronic structure and electron counting rules, three dimensional aromaticity, & molecular modeling and computational drug design. He uses quantum mechanics at various levels to study the structure and reactions of molecules, clusters and solids, searching for common threads between organic and organometallic chemistry. His results relating Boranes and elemental Boron through the mno Rule is taught in advanced inorganic chemistry courses around the world. He is also a recipient of several honours including the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize (1994), the TWAS (The World Academy of Sciences) Prize in Chemistry (2003), the J.C. Bose National Fellowship (2006), and the Padma Shri by Government of India (2014). He is a Fellow of all the three National Science Academies (INSA, NASI, IAS) in India and of TWAS.
Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.
#TMOM mentions: Leon Battista Alberti, Marcel Duchamp, George Gamow, Alfred Hitchcock, Robert Bresson, Michel Foucault, Robert Burns Woodward, Andrei Tarkovsky, Mani Kaul, Richard Feynman, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Laurie Baker, & Peter Wollen, among others.