IF THERE IS

Performance 1


Background Information by the curators

Srinagar Biennale is named after the city of Srinagar in India that lies in state of Jammu & Kashmir in the Himalayan region. Srinagar is a beautiful city. However, the region has been under conflict for more than two decades now. What was once a very beautiful part of the country can now easily be considered a difficult place to live in, leave alone trying to create art.
Can art connect with and emerge from a Biennale that may actually find it difficult to take place in the very city whose name it draws from?

The Biennale is envisaged as a Rhizomatic process to evolve as nodes across the world (http://srinagarbiennale.org/). Each node is independent of the other, yet connected in the endeavor.

Srinagar Biennale Basel (March, April 2018)
The contemporary world is mired with wars, migration, uncertainty and suppression of any uprisings. Yet the churning and challenging continues. Occupy Wall Street, The Arab Spring, Wikileaks (whose founder Julian Assange still lives in exile inside the Embassy of Ecuador in UK), Edward Snowden’s revelations, the Nuit Debout… are barely a tip of the iceberg.

As the Directors of the Basel node, we intend to root Srinagar Biennale Basel in exploring ‘Art as a difficult place and / or from a difficult position’. ‘Collaborate and Connect’ become an important aspect as a corollary to overcoming the ‘difficult’.

Concept

The key element of the Srinagar Biennale Basel is a Performance Arts festival that revolves around the curatorial line:
Art as a difficult place. Art from a difficult position.
Artists are expected to work around it albeit with broad interpretations of themes like presence, people, persistence, protest, freedom etc.
Collaborations – We expect Swiss-Indian collaborations between the artists. Each artist would need to present atleast one solo and one collaborative work during the final event.
Minimalism - Work with minimal, available, no material at all or with the body is appreciated and encouraged.
Flexibility - Flexibility and openness to adjust to unforeseen circumstances, situations and people are also appreciated.

A total of 8 artists (four from Switzerland and four from India) are selected for the event.


Structure

The Biennale has two episodes

Episode 1: ONLINE (March 16 – 18, 2018)
The selected Swiss artists will come to Basel to do a Solo performance each, at the venue. At the same time four Indian artist will perform in India. The two sets of performances are knitted together as one curated program through live video between the two locations. This also intends to serve as a virtual introduction of the artists to each other.

The challenge lies in creating a solo performance that works for the live audience on location and also for the audience across the oceans through a live camera setup.

Episode 2: LIVE in Basel (April 4 – 15, 2018)
All the eight selected artists now come to Basel. Over the next 5 – 6 days they work on their performances especially the collaboration. Each artist is required to collaborate with atleast one artist from the other country.

The last four days will be the main event of the festival, open to public, where each artist will showcase atleast one solo and one collaborative performance.

Important
1. All artists are required to participate in both events and be present on all the days of the events.
2. We are hoping to raise enough funds to provide for travel, stay, food, performance material etc.
3. If for some reason we are unable to raise enough funds, the Biennale will be modified accordingly with reasonable changes. The artists must be open to the possibilities that will be shared with them openly, if such a situation arises.

Support
We are happy to share that we have already received the following support:
1. Hek, Basel (one of their spaces) – Venue for Episode-1
2. Ausstellungsraum Klingental – Venue for Episode-2
3. Salon Mondial – Support with partial accommodation

This is a biennale of collaborations and solidarity. We are going ahead with that spirit and have received very positive responses of support from some other places as well. 

The Artists selection
A four member selection committee first nominated two artists each. In the second step, all the selectors met online to discuss and create a final list unanimously while considering a variety of parameters. We are extremely thankful to all our selectors for finding time for this and paying so much attention to the selection.

Selection Committee for Swiss artists
1. Judith Huber
2. Dorothea Schürch
3. Janine Schmutz
4. Parvez Imam

Janine Schmutz and Parvez Imam Directors, Srinagar Biennale Basel

Schedule Episode 1

Poster Srinagar Biennale Basel, Episode 1 + 2

HeK, Haus der elektronischen Künste Basel

Presse Badische Zeitung 22. Februar 2018