With the current edition of the festival, Obscura is keen to explore ideas of Multiplicity, both as fact and fiction and look at its presence in our contemporary lives. With this as the theme for this year, the festival is keen to question processes of image-making keeping in mind the photographers psychological influence on the creation of a visual document. Living in a time of post-truth ideas, it becomes imperative to question the role of perception while understanding our real worlds.Within the photographic language, objects, situations, and narratives become symbolic of these multiple realities. While envisaging the aspects of our metaphorical environments, the works included in the festival will look to prod deeper into an understanding of how we perceive the world today. It is keen to explore approaches to photographic bodies of work that give light to the various versions of truth we surround ourselves with.
The representation of the photograph as an unbiased evidentiary document has always been debated. The illusion of a final truth, a single uncompromising fact that can be captured within the dynamics of the quick release of a shutter has placed upon the photograph a detachment from its creator. In looking at the numerous visual voices within the festival, the curator is keen to reverse the equation and look at works that are created with specific emphasis on the photographers’ narrative and its manifestation in the visual form.
As we think in an era of post-truth politics and realities, the inevitable question must be faced-what is the place of our personal truths in the creation of today’s history? A study of the sciences and its methods become significant but the importance of understanding and exploring the human psyche is inescapable while trying to understand the role of our collective voices in the creation of the real and the mythological. What are the realities we choose to surround ourselves with? In an age where there is immense focus on projecting a constructed identity for ourselves, do these performed projections become our reality? While creating these cognitive maps of our multiple actualities, we are forced to engage with matters of our contemporary existence.In this process of mapping the human mind, multiple representations and investigations into issues concerned with our contemporary lives emerge. The curator is keen to place these differences between our mental and physical worlds as a reflection of our current times in the hope that it will throw light on what we consider important today.
Faced with emerging alternative worlds and the advances in artificial intelligence and space travel we seem to be introspecting into our psyche as we expand in the physical realm to find answers to the eternal philosophical quest- Who are we?
The festival is keen to look at the multiplicities that exist within spheres of our public worlds, in scientific research and exploration, mass migrations, environmental impact on the human race and in personal associations of reality connected by memories and relationships. Curatorially, the festival seeks to bring forward discussions and opinions on our identities as individuals, as a human race and as part of the world, we have been born into through exhibitions, panel discussions, videos, projection evenings and workshops.
Anshika Varma is a freelance documentary photographer. She is keen to explore social and cultural structures within communities. She was invited to participate at the Chennai Photo Festival 2016, Kochi Biennale 2014, New York Biennale for Contemporary Art 2013, India Art Fair 2013 & 2012 and the Florence Biennial in 2009. Her awards include the “Lorenzo Il Magnifico” award for photography at the Florence Biennale in 2009. She was Curator of Photography for Contemporary Arts Week, New Delhi, 2014 and also works with the team at Delhi PhotoFestival, India.Sheisastrongbelieverinthepower behind inclusive education and conducts art therapy programs for children from challenging social and economic strata. Her works have been published by various national and international media. She has also worked on book projects with Vodafone Foundation, Roli Books, Hachette, Random House and The Tehelka Foundation.HersoloshowopenedattheMutationsshow at the Alkazi Foundation and the Gujral Foundation in NewDelhi,India.