‘Technology, Exchange and Flow: INDIA

An AHRC Follow-on Funding for Impact and Engagement project to: (1) make a film reconstructing lost television material from the Indian Space Research Organisation’s television archive, (2) run writing workshops at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018 addressing audience and user-led initiatives in India, and, (3) produce a series of publications by non-academics for Leonardo journal.

Dr Joanna Griffin and Dinaz Kalwachwala speaking about the Indian space programme’s 1970s television experiment at the ‘Creative Encounters with Science and Technology’ symposium, Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016.

The project emerges from the three-year HERA Joint Research Programme project ‘Technology Exchange and Flow: Artistic Media Practices and Commercial Application’ (TEF). It examined the relationship between artistic media practices and industrial/commercial exploitation of audio-visual media at key moments of technological innovation, such as contemporary gaming and early television. The research highlighted how experimental media practices crossing into mainstream adverts produced proactive viewing. These findings were shared at the exhibition ‘Play and Prosume’ held at the Vienna Kunsthalle and, following the award of an additional impact grant, at a two-day knowledge transfer event ‘Advertising the Sublime’ held in collaboration with two major film and television archives, The Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision and EYE Film Institute Netherlands. The feedback from audiences at these events impacted the collection and preservation policy of the archives.

Since that event, new postdoctoral research by Dr Joanna Griffin concerning a body of television material in the archives of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), revealed a similar pattern of exchange and flow between mainstream and experimental media producers, facilitated by new technology (portable video cameras). Dr Griffin conducted a one-year Postdoctoral Fellowship at CEPT University in Ahmedabad, India to investigate these links and convened a symposium at the previous Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016 titled ‘Creative Encounters with Science and Technology: Legacies, Imaginaries, Futures‘, which was supported by Transtechnology Research. The television material is the product of ISRO’s well-documented satellite communications pilot project in the 1970s that aimed to steer the new technology of television to rural under-privileged audiences. In the light of the new research concerning the involvement of creative practitioners in the ISRO project, including filmmakers, some of whom also maintained avant-garde experimental practices, the intention of the Follow-on project is to share and extend the findings of TEF to the two contexts identified in India to bring active co-production with audiences to the fore.

The proposal will articulate collaborative frameworks of ‘exchange and flow’ consistent with the altruistic concerns of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale and the ISRO television archive. It aims to impact on both institutions in the ways they conceptualise and collaborate with audiences in the future. In sharing the results and experiences of TEF and its Knowledge Exchange results, this project is expected to have significant local impact as well as scalability and transferability to other contexts.

Close up of page from Inde 68 magazine (a special supplement on architecture in Ahmedabad for Architecture Aujourd'hui) showing the construction of the Ahmedabad Earth Station (photo Joanna Griffin, image courtesy CEPT Archive)

Close up of page from Inde 68 magazine (a special supplement on architecture in Ahmedabad for L’Architecture D’Aujourd’hui) showing the construction of the Ahmedabad Earth Station (photo Joanna Griffin, image courtesy CEPT Archive)

Principal Investigator: Prof. dr. Michael Punt; Co-Investigator: Dr. Joanna Griffin; Project Partners: Kochi Biennale Foundation and Leonardo/ISAST