#TROTO (The Reality Of The Original, April 02, 2016):

Is Colin McKenzie for real? What cannot be faked? Are fakes lies? Can copies be more valuable than the original? What is the test of something being original? Is originality a fact? Is it culturally determined? What are the ethics and aesthetics of fakes? How and at what point do we know when an experience is not real? What about reality that cannot be experienced? Is seeing believing, or is believing seeing? Is ‘seeing’ always ‘seeing-as’? Why do some of us prefer artificial flowers over fresh flowers? Does the idea of the original always imply its opposite? What kind of objects can (cannot) have  copies (originals)? Can there be fake words? Or chairs? Is the copy of a copy the copy of the same original? Can there be a fake documentary film? Are there false images for astronomers? How does science ‘handle’ reality? What are the (dis)similarities between archaeology, astronomy and film-making? Is most of reality constructed, and do we really know what reality is? Does reality always depend on the technology available? Do we ‘need’ reality? Can we live (largely) with hyperreal simulacra, & will reality be dispensed with in the long run? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from philosophy (Prof. Sharad Deshpande, ex-University of Pune, Pune), film-making (Nilita Vachani, Tisch School of the Arts (NYU), New York), & astronomy & archaeology (Prof. Mayank Vahia, TIFR, Mumbai).

Listen in….

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

Prof. Sharad Deshpande (philosophy) is currently a National Professor of Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR). He obtained his M.A. (1971) and Ph.D. (1976) from University of Pune. His doctoral dissertation, ‘A Critical Examination of Gauḍapāda’s MāṇḍūkyaKārikās’, received The Gurudeo R.D. Ranade–Damle Prize for the best Ph.D. dissertation in Philosophy. His teaching and research career in the core areas of philosophy in Western tradition spans over 34 years at University of Pune. He has taught analytical philosophy and its different branches like Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Action, and Philosophy of History besides Aesthetics. As the British Council visiting fellow he has lectured at Oxford, Liverpool, and Aberdeen Universities in 1990. He also visited Maison De Sciences de l’aHomme (Paris) in 2008 as the ICPR visiting fellow. Earlier, as the resident fellow of ICPR (1987) he worked on the nature of Negative Action. His recent interests include the works of contemporary academic philosophers in Colonial India. As the Tagore Fellow at Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS) Shimla (2012-14) he has also written a conversational fiction piece on Tagore.

Nilita Vachani (film-making, writing) is a filmmaker, writer and teacher, based in New York. She is presently a teacher at the Undergraduate division of Film and Television at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, New York. Ms. Vachani’s award-winning documentary films (‘Eyes of Stone’, ‘Diamonds in a Vegetable Market’, & ‘When Mother Comes Home for Christmas) have been internationally screened as official selection of film festivals in Berlin, London, New York, Sydney, and Hong Kong, among others. They have been broadcast on BBC, La Sept, Arte, ORF, SBS, ZDF, ERT, RAI and Doordarshan. In 2015 Nilita broke an investigative story on globalization, domestic work and white collar crime, which got published in the Nation titled as ‘The Strange True Story of a McKinsey Chairman who made millions of dollars off his maid’. She has also written a historical novel called ‘HomeSpun’ (2008, Other Press). She is currently working on a documentary titled ‘Reborn in Clay’ on the coming together of art and science in forensic sculpture, where artists reconstruct the faces on skulls in the hope that cold cases will be solved and victims identified.

Prof. Mayank Vahia (astronomy, archaeology) is currently a professor at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, which he joined in 1979. He was a co-investigator in several space based experiments on American, Russian and Indian satellites to study high energy phenomena in astronomy. Having spent the first 25 years building space based telescopes for US, Russian and Indian satellites he turned his interest to Archaeoastronomy and has since tried to understand the origins of astronomy in India. He has also been the National Coordinator of the Indian Astronomy Olympiad programme since 1998. He has also worked on a project to reveal the structure and grammar of the Indus script and has studied the evolution of Harappan Civilisation. He has published nearly 250 research papers and written/edited five books. He has also been the Director of Nehru Planetarium, Mumbai. Prof. Vahia is deeply interested in issues related to science & society, and his greatest love is talking to students of all ages on subjects that he has given thought to. He credits his accomplishments to TIFR and to his wife, Neeta, and daughters, Mimansa and Durva.

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

#TROTO mentions: Kant, Lumière brothers, Wittgenstein, Picasso, Max Ernst, & Wolfgang Beltracchi, among others.