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Ritaban Ghosh

Ritaban Ghosh deploys queries into the cusps of the contemporary rippling across pluralities of time. Through image, sculpture, food, and performance, he ponders the scape between the seen and imagined and their intervening capacity, with compassionate scrutiny. Negotiating perimeters of power, evidence and historical conjecture, he segues into diverse discourses of threshold and insolvability to chart the voyage to artisthood.

He has received the Toto-Tasveer Award for his work Lonely Side Of Force (2019), published in The Sunday Times and Better Photography magazines. His work Tender Is The Night, supported by MurthyNayak Foundation (2020) was shown at KHOJ (2021). His video piece NAINAN (2021) was a finalist for Sundance Ignite X Adobe Fellowship, screened at CineToro and Harkat Studios. His lecture performance hydra-morphing (2023) was aired at La Straordinaria and his sculpture Oppressive Stillness In The Air (2023) was exhibited at LATITUDE 28.

Working with broken Buddha, trampled snakes, yellow nights, and capsulised waste, it never ceases to amaze him how we exist and continually adapt ourselves to any and everything and never be the same person again.


Somewhere underneath the surface of life, shimmering wisps of the abstract and determinacy coalesce into what we interpellate as reality. Knowledge we know to be certain, manifest, and ordered, is constituted by the murky cogencies of power, love, possession, and care. These seismic interruptions in the coiffured veneers of everydays seep into landscapes, infrastructures, ecologies, and communities, fragmenting and reconstituting them in unexpected ways. My research intervenes into these disturbances that suffuse in our societies, biologies, economies, psyches, and politics. It will seek to contravene dominant opacities by fermenting counter- muddinesses that realise the indelible multivocalities of the self and existence.

Time is infinite in its historical contingency. It flows mapless, reasonless, ageless; and so, imperialistic and capitalistic anxieties enforce that it becomes a linear progression. The cartesian impulsivities of profit and coercion emphasise the necessity of pristineness, cleanness, and observability. These immobilities conspire to render impossible those inconspicuous but fundamental niches where spontaneity and empathy reside. This linearity infiltrates human relationships, where giving is contingent upon receiving. It effaces how human particularities are incommensurable, infinite, plural, multivocal, and cannot be reduced to commensuralities of exchange, measure, or value. It forgets that teleologies are epistemes of influence and exclusion, relegating those embedded in multiaxial oppression amidst fractured ontologies to habitual marginalisation. Against these resounding, easy, fortressed interpellations, my research hopes to bring together time and history to contest such determinacies of violence and instead revel in the potential of contingency fermented in collective scripts of empathy.

Through engaging discursively with kineses, decohesions, repetitions, representations, tides, stars, moonfalls, traces, and pacings, I play, argue, and negotiate with enforced utilitarian ambiguities that delegitimise the raw, complex collective intimacies of experience. With text, sound, and image, amidst palpable impalpabilities, I ask ƅ why must we reduce to bare bones the spectacular chaos of human agency to identify and feel one another? Why may we not, instead, revel in our viscous multiplicities and weave them into textured, grainy armours before forces that threaten to congest and silence?

I seek to understand these questions from viewing violence and revolution as subterranean, subdermal, and subneural. Reflecting on violence as subterranean underscores its gradual, all-encompassing, imperceptibilities as it bleeds into habitus and ritual, ensnaring us all within the perplexing ambiguities of culpability and innocence. When revolution is viewed through this lens, it thinks of collective amassing and performance of vulnerability eschewing the constraints of time and space. It emphasises how communities may weave interdependencies and kinships despite bounded rationalities of territory and ƊpresentƋimposed by hierarchies of power. Considering violence as subdermal reveals its infiltration into our daily routines, formation of our identities, and continuation of systemic oppression through various means, including symbolic aggression and socialisation processes, as well as the exploitation of marginalised groups and the politicisation of life itself. If revolution is viewed from this prism, it unpeels our own corporealities and affectivities, and suggests an escape from cultures of control, discipline, and punishment into cultures of commons, courage, care, and love. Understanding violence as subneural uncovers its infiltration into our mental processes, shaping our perceptions of reality, and perpetuating oppressive power hierarchies. When revolution is perceived in the subneural, it acknowledges that praxis simmers within the yoke of power, and that transformation may be set forth through creativity, collectivity, defamiliarisation, defiance, and multiplicity.

In contesting the subneuralities, subdermalities, and subneuralities of violence, my research views collective scripts of empathy as key to recoding these discourses into conduits of transformation and upheaval. As a deliberate endeavour, it allows the recognition of our place in this world but also of the inherent contingency of all our places in this world, of our subject-position but also that all subject-positions are equally significant in the cosmic tale of history. These recognitions through empathy embed us in the affective collectivity and engender imaginaries of struction, hope, and respect.

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