Work Title: Copyright vs. Fragility.
2013 , photo series : Rafiqul Shuvo
Art is always an interaction – between bodies made up of textual and other forms. Therefore the continuum we are able to create – one which rests on such interaction – includes a fluid comingling of ideas developed by many, many artists. Art as an ontologically definable object which spurs contemplation and/or interpretations eternally connected to the gaze that rules, though sometimes it is also about questioning the dominant gaze. Whatever the position of the artist, one who creates that art object as the ontologizer can also be considered a mediator as the final product is nothing short of an intertext.
An intertext thrives on a multiplicity of references, and in Shuvo’s hand it takes a form which is so generously framed that the entire work relies on his own takes on other well-established works of photography. His current project thus is an intentional reconstruction of a book. Titled World Phjotography, the said book is his subject matter, the primary source for his examination of the issue of individual expression, isolation of the creative act, and, most importantly, the artistic and legal implications of copyright. As he records the book in its entirety photographing page by page, Shuvo calls his process ‘wholesale appropriation’, which, in the end, produces the book’s pages in his own terms – in the formation of pictures in haphazard composition. And the result is decontextualisation, not at all a good likeness.
Nonjudgmental and playful in its stance, the work results from a random scanning of the visual language of our age. The artist draws an analogy, “it is like an attempt to get to the top floor of a building setting a regular pace, stepping on every stair on the way.” It is a slow ascent to a place from where Shuvo throws open the issue for debate as he examines the very foundation of the claim to copyrights, which are subject to infringement as artistic actions similar to his own begins to interrogate it. The most fragile construction, in the end, seems to be about rights.
- Mustafa Zaman
Chobi Mela, the international festival of photography since its inception in 2000 has been the most significant photographic event in Asia, and the first of a regular biennale, one that has become one of the highlights of the Asian calendar. It is organised by Drik Picture Library Ltd. and Pathshala South Asian Media Institute. The Tenth edition of Chobi Mela will be held from February 28 till March 9, 2019.
The Theme: Fragility
The sweeping gestures of photography have thrived on extremes. Great things, epic moments, the wretched, the vile, the dispossessed, the celebrated and the trodden, have all found themselves facing the lens. Photography has exalted suffering, celebrated the vain. Quiet moments, reflective spirits, the hesitant step, the furtive glance have rarely made headlines. Perceived as being unworthy of the shutter.
The shutter speed of 125th of a second reserved for momentous slices of time, never slows down enough to listen to the size of the silent. Photography therefore is a selective witness. The history it records, a filtered history. It is a filtration different from the dominant narrative of the victor that history has been guilty of. This is more insidious, as it seeps into the very core of our consciousness. I smile for my grandma’s camera. The photojournalist waits for my tear to drop. The moments in between go unrecorded. A staccato history of grand gestures and seminal moments fails to record the nuanced lives we all live.
The medium has been digital all along. The black and whites of photography has largely failed to register the grey ambiguities of the human panorama, the binary perceptions that shape photographic vision failing to respond to subtlety. The everydayness of our lives with its tapestry of emotions, too plain to register amongst the dramatic peaks and troughs that photography has been measured by.
It is only through fissure that fragility has registered. It is only on being trampled that the delicate has been lamented. The staunch pillars of photography have rarely let light through the cracks. The frailty of a lost thought, the uncertainty of the first touch is the insignificance that a camera passes by. The fragility of a tortured earth, the slow death of a glacier, the disappearance of the honeybee, too slow a change to register in 125th of a second.
In a gendered world fragility is not macho enough. In a misogynist industry, to pause is to be effeminate. Where sex and violence are the opiates we are fed on, quieter moments do not even make the ‘B roll’. A sob too insignificant to register on a megapixel sensor.
We look for those fleeting moments. A gossamer of gentle thoughts billowing in turbulent winds. An unravelling strand of humanity bending against the onslaught of invasive culture. The frail existence of a marginal farmer eking out a living in the shadows of engineered genes. Communities holding out against the rising tide of modernity. Lost languages, vanishing cultures, disappearing forests, all entwined by a vulnerability, familiar to those who resist market forces.
In an economy gasping for breath, in an ecosystem reeling under consumption, waste and the ravages of war, the greed of a few threatens the future of many. We challenge you to push back the tide of unbridled growth and lay your stake to a sustainable universe. It is only by embracing the fragility of this world that you will make it your own
Festival opening: 25 January, 2013, venue to be announced shortly
Exhibition Venues: Alliance Française de Dhaka, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Bengal Gallery, Chobir Haat, Dhaka Art Center, Drik Gallery, Lichutola-Dhaka University,.
Festival duration: 2 weeks (25 January-7 February 2013)
Evening presentations: 1 week (25 January – 1 February 2013), venue Goethe-Institut
The festival will feature:
34 Solo Print Exhibitions, Digital presentations, Workshops, Portfolio review, Discussions/Seminars/Lectures, Presentations by Picture Libraries/Agencies, Review of image-related publications/Book launches, Publication ceremony, Film screenings, Video conferences, Lifetime Achievement award
Participating countries: 24
2.1 Selected Artists for Chobi Mela VII
Name of Artist & Country:
Anastasia Taylor-Lind - Sweden/UK, B.S. Shivaraju (Cop Shiva) – India, Eiffel Chong – Malaysia, Eivind H. Natvig – Norway, Eugene Richards – USA, Gaël Turine – Belgium, Gideon Mendel – UK, Graciela Iturbide – Mexico, Hossein Fatemi – Iran, Ilaria Di Biagio – Italy, J. D. Okhai Ojeikere – Nigeria, Laura El-Tantawy - Egypt/UK, Leandro Viana de Paula – Brazil, Lu Guang – China, Maika Elan – Vietnam, Maimouna Guerresi – Italy, Mateusz Sarello – Poland, Max Pam – Australia, Mohammad Anisul Hoque – Bangladesh, Muge – China, Pablo Bartholomew – India, Rafiqul Shuvo – Bangladesh, Rasel Chowdhury – Bangladesh, Richard Bartholomew – India, Saiful Huq Omi – Bangladesh, Samsul Alam Helal – Bangladesh, Sandra Vitaljić – Croatia, Saori Ninomiya – Japan, Sarker Protick – Bangladesh, Shumon Ahmed – Bangladesh, Walter Astrada – Spain, Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh and Rozenn Quéré - France and Lebanon, Zhang Hai – China, Ziyah Gafić - Bosnia
Workshops @ Chobi Mela VII
Workshop conductors: Jodi Bieber, Jody Haines, Chris Rainier and Chris Riley, Christopher Pinney , Deepak John Mathew, Morten Krogvold, Malcolm Hutcheson, Gaël Turine
Artist’s Talks @ Chobi Mela VII
Graciela Iturbide, Morten Krogvold, Nasir Ali Mamun, Pablo Bartholomew, Richard Billingham, Max Pam, Jodi Bieber
Slide Show Presenters @ Chobi Mela VII
Jody Haines on Australian photography, Nii Obodai and Bisi Silva on African photography, Françoise Callier on South East Asian photography, Munem Wasif on Bangladeshi photography, Hester Keijser on Middle Eastern photography
Discussion Session participants
Pablo Bartholomew, Nayantara Gurung Kakshapati, Shahidul Alam, Chris Rainier and Chris Riley, Robert Pledge, Dick Doughty, Ruth Eichhorn
Partners: Alliance Française de Dhaka, American Center, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Bengal Gallery, Drik, Dhaka Art Center, Goethe-Institut and Pathshala.