Culture Monks is delighted to announce Spirits of Shakespeare as an outreach for South Asian Fringe : Bard & beyond.

South Asian Fringe is a festival organized by Culture Monks. The previous edition was held at Mcleod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh which was dedicated to Lal Ded.

As an outreach to the South Asian Fringe : Bard & Beyond which will be held from April 23 – June 23, 2021, we are glad to publish an open call for #spiritsofshakespeare : The Plague & The Bard.

This call is for videos of 2 mins duration. Videos could be of performances – theatrical, movement (non – verbal), dance, storytelling, performance art, video art, poetry reading, music & spoken words as well as visual arts & animation.

This call is dedicated to Shakespeare and with focus on his creations during & on the plague, exploring aspects of power, gender, desire and sexuality.

Reference : Shakespeare & The Plague

The Plague and the Bard

In the post anthropocene era of plague and death, Shakespeare’s King Lear belong to the threshold of values where Renaissance humanism of Vitruvian Man becomes a decentered cogito. Shakespeare in his plays present the quality of ambiguity/disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of ritualistic conversion from human to sub-human and finally to post-human, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete. Lear (in the Heath scene and thereafter) and Tom, the Bedlam beggar (Edgar in disguise) are between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which the ritual establishes.

The geometric punctum of plague created the basilica of Shakespearian world, which steps out of Elizabethan England in time and space when we are confronted by the pandemic of Covid-19 in the 21st Century. As an infant, Shakespeare was confronted with the catastrophic loss of structured identity when Bubonic plague created the post Anthropocene England.

The existential threat survived time and effected his writings and the play King Lear produces the post traumatic upheaval as we are placed in the blasted heath with storm raging. This apocalyptic scene shows Lear’s microcosmic trauma and the macro cosmic trauma of the audience who lived through the plague.

In this four centuries the ‘being’ of human has undergone transformation from being the central, the abstract, the absurd, the nothing, the peripheral and finally relational. So, Shakespeare is no longer a homogeneous entity but a plurality who resists the singularity of time, space and identity. The multiplicity of Shakespeare and Shakespearean heroes has created a plane in the cybernetic world that is Lacanian ‘Real’. In cyber-terminology, Shakespearean protagonists help us to browse through the sites of disease, death, destruction and creation and the plays are like Google or other search engines where we can type what we need in terms of human to post-human and some[thing/being] definitely comes up.

As we step out of 2020, we ask ourselves how we might investigate the metamorphosis of the Renaissance Bard into the cybernetic post-human Shakespeare. Shakespearean heroes belong to the new cartography of the radicalized concept of the human, what we conventionally understand as Renaissance humanism. Renaissance perspectivism concerns the individual as truth -making consciousness where man is at the centre of the universe. On the other hand, the anxiety of extinction is something that Lear, Macbeth, Hamlet and Othello see in the post- Anthropocene challenge and in this twenty-first century those that are human finds themselves in ecological crisis in the realm of technocratic pathogen induced mass destruction. So, we share a bond over pan-vulnerability with Shakespearean characters and remain united on a negative place of disease, death and erasure.

Debojyoti Dan

Although, The Bard is the anchor, we are also open to intertextuality. Hence other past artistic works which references or have relations to epidemics, may also be contexts of the performance/s.

We will be happy to accept your videos till June 23, 2021

The selected videos will be posted on instagram handles, websites and other social media platforms of our network partners.

Technicalities

– Video to be of maximum 120 seconds, shot in high definition.

– Please send the video/s through wetransfer, google drive, one drive, etc to sudipta@culturemonks.in, with a brief description and your bio.

– Artistic work/s may be submitted by individuals or collectives.

– More than one work is acceptable. A series of videos are also desirable.

– Work can be in any language.

The South Asian Fringe

Report on the previous South Asian Fringe

Curatorial Note by Parnab Mukherjee

In 1958, Harold Pinter wrote: ‘There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false. I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot.

As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?”

With myriad use of body, pitch, off-bass voice, installation, puppetry and body-as-a-live sculpture, theatre, butoh, video installation montages, the idea of this fringe is specifically designed for an interactive ambiance with the audience. The audience here is a reference point to bounce the script. What emerges is a powerful pastiche of events lined up to push the envelope of both the manual and digital.

Why another fringe?

It is about exploitation of a system. But more than that the rampant globalisation of a set of outmoded stereotypes.

Into that realm of thinking lies the true conscience of our social questioning.The fringe will seek to collect, curators and issue-based activists. and create a tapestry of immersive experiences.To build bridges with the community and urge them to create relevant art interventions.

Kicking off with Dharamshala, South Asian Fringe will be an unique show that looks at the both the physical and the metaphorical body.

To quote Jean Baudrillard: The mass media are anti-mediatory and intransitive. They fabricate non-communication — this is what characterizes them, if one agrees to define communication as an exchange, as a reciprocal space of a speech and a response. … Now, the totality of the existing architecture of the media founds itself on this latter definition: they are what always prevent response, making all processes of exchange impossible…”

Be there to see the exchange process of making, unmaking and becoming.

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