This course titled "Exploring a Void" focused on how we might reconsider mutual relationships in a world encumbered with rapidly growing sentiments toward nationalism and reinforcement of borders, while it (the world) continuously fights back the indispensability of an interconnected world.
Below is an excerpt from the concept note of the course:
"I will attempt, as much as possible, to open the horizon beyond the enclosure of European, Western thinking and to draw attention to some of the post-colonial perspectives. The aim of the course will be to encourage students to use photography as a tool of inquiry in the exploration of selfhood at the cross-point between the subjective and the collective. It is expected that the programme would initiate a frame that allows for the intersection of different cultural realities. The two-week course will kick off with the reading of selected texts. This will encourage a thought-frame within which all learning and work will take place. Students should envisage collaborative activities that allow for substantial interaction and intersection of subjectivities. Although this is a photography class, students are encouraged to explore the possibilities of a multi-media approach involving text, video, and sound. The programme will culminate in the production of one or more bodies of work which will be the subject of discussion during a wrapping-up portfolio review session and final presentation"
For the course, the overarching questions were: how can we put our respective subjectivities at the service of something greater – the collective, the communal? Concurrently, how can we translate communal experiences into subjective truths? Thus, the students of my course were of diverse cultural backgrounds and even generational affiliations. The outcome of the two weeks (which culminated in an open day) was a testament to myriad collaborations, exchanges, and proactive thinking – through/in photography and imagery in general.
For the most part of the course, the above aim was achieved and, I would say, beyond expectations. The beautiful surprise was how much diverse the group of students were. We proceeded, on the first day of class, from a personal place. Each student was asked to give their "first gift" to the class – that of sharing their personal "self" with everyone else. It was a lot to ask. But it did the magic. Thus, for me, one takeaway from the entire experience is: where differences are involved and conversed, proceeding from a place of generosity (what we are willing to give of ourselves) is indispensable for a fruitful outcome.
Below are some images from the two weeks:
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