Curated by Gitanjali Dang

Akvarious Productions

Bose Krishnamachari

Cory Wallia

Kamal Swaroop

Orijit Sen

Priate Cinema Berlin

Prabir Purkayastha

Raqs Media Collective

  16 March - 1 April, 2009



Curated by Gitanjali Dang, March 16 – April 1, 2009

The performance of The Shape of Things (approximate 80 minutes) by Akvarious Productions.

The Guild Art Gallery is pleased to present, ‘Godown’, curated by Gitanjali Dang. The show features works by Akvarious Productions, Bose Krishnamachari, Cory Wallia, Kamal Swaroop, Orijit Sen, Pirate Cinema Berlin, Prabir Purkayastha and Raqs Media Collective.

Godown endeavours to zero in on the Internet as an archive, no matter how unwieldy. A vital aspect of this project necessitates the updating of Kenneth Goldsmith’s prescient remarks, “If it doesn’t exist on the internet, it doesn’t exist. I used to say this hyperbolically but as time has gone on, it’s proved to be a truism, perhaps the paradigmatic truism of our times.”

In circa 2005, Goldsmith, poet and founder of UbuWeb, had chased this declaration with the disclaimer, “These statements are directed at academic production and should be considered in that context. This does not include painters, potters, printmakers, book artists or metal workers. Yet.”

In 2009, one could either wait for Goldsmith to reassess his rider or do the needful and be done with it. The all-embracing and benevolent petabyte allows us to amend the aforementioned with little hesitation. Deals such as the ones struck between Google Books and the US publishing industry will soon revolutionise access and transform reading habits. Such developments in turn engender debates over Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and its nemeses, Open Source and similar ‘open’ initiatives.

Digital archival strategies such as those offered by UbuWeb, Wikipedia and Pad.ma often subvert and remix the very etymology of the term ‘archive’, by yanking the rug from under the iron feet of power centres that control the knowledge flow. Late capitalism’s smug face gets pummelled. And how. Take the launch of Hulu, for instance. Started by Fox and NBC, this supposed ‘YouTube killer’, with its free and ‘legal’ television shows and films, is still scrambling around trying to take eyeballs away from the many uploads on YouTube, Vimeo and the like. When was the last time we got anything free from the corporate variety?

This information society of endless online realities and digital archives is hardly without a flaw. Significantly, the endemic malaise of acquiring, merging, censoring and diluting often shrivels the worth of access creators, such as the shape shifting Google and the networking behemoth Facebook. But, for every search engine which, hectored by caveats issued by totalitarian regimes, installs key word filters, there are the seemingly irrational, but fiercely combative, dissident cartwheels of fora such as 4chan and Encyclopædia Dramatica.

Fully aware that the vector of this poised and yet perpetually under construction public sphere is manoeuvred by the palimpsest-riddled memory, Godown investigates the extant and the emergent possibilities and loopholes of the very redoubtable Internet. 

(Excerpted from Gitanjali Dang’s essay for the exhibition catalogue)


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