May 11, 2016 from 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
CCS Bard, Classroom 102

Silence, Reticence and the Outburst : The Politics and Aesthetics of Listening

A Lecture given by Shuddhabrata Sengupta, the 2015-16 Keith Haring Fellow in Art and Activism

In Silence, Reticence and the Outburst: The Politics and Aesthetics of Listening, Shuddhabrata Sengupta, artist and curator with the Raqs Media Collective, will mine his conversations with students at the Center for Curatorial Studies and the Human Rights Program at Bard College while he was the Keith Haring Fellow in Art & Activism to produce a reflection on the question of political commitments in art in a way that hopes to avoid foregrounding the artist as the tribune or representative of the people, and instead, highlight the roles of the artist as a speaking and listening citizen. Through an elaboration of an ethic of fearless listening and thoughtful speech, Sengupta, will propose new intersections of the aesthetic and the political. 

Shuddhabrata Sengupta  is co-founder, along with Monica Narula and Jeebesh Bagchi, of the Raqs Media Collective. Since its inception in 1992, the members of the Collective have worked in a wide range of forms and formats. In their words, “they create installations, make videos, photographs, print and online works, play with archival traces, make exhibitions and art interventions in public spaces, write essays, enact lecture-performances, engage with pedagogical procedures, edit books, design events, and foster collaborations.”  Raqs has exhibited widely, including at dOCUMENTA, and the Venice, Istanbul, Taipei, Liverpool, Shanghai, Sydney, and Sao Paulo Biennales.  Raqs received the Multitude Art Prize in 2013. Raqs have also worked as curators, in India and internationally. They were one of the curators of the seventh edition of Manifesta: The European Biennale of Contemporary Art, in Bolzano, Italy, in 2008 and are the curators of the forthcoming Shanghai Biennale, 2016. 

In 2000, Sengupta, together with Narula and Bagchi and Ravi Sundaram and Ravi Vasudevan, co-founded the Sarai programme at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in Delhi. Sengupta is also one of the founders and contributing editors of the independent radical blog, one of the most widely read and influential platforms for new, dissident voices in South Asia. His political commentary and essays have been widely published in magazines, newspapers, and blogs in India and elsewhere.  

The Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism is made possible through a five year-grant from the Keith Haring Foundation. The Keith Haring Fellowship is a cross-disciplinary, annual, visiting Fellowship for a scholar, activist, or artist to teach and conduct research at both the Center for Curatorial Studies and the Human Rights Project at Bard College. The Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism was established to allow a distinguished leader in the field to investigate the role of art as a catalyst for social change, linking the two programs and presenting original research in an annual lecture. 

For more information on The Keith Haring Foundation –

For more information on the Human Rights Project at Bard College –


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