Last week, SAI hosted Visiting Artist Paribartana Mohanty for a week at Harvard. Mohanty’s project ‘Act the Victim’ is based on a simple invitation to ‘act’ as victim, consciously positioning people in the discomforts of victimhood and open associations with crisis. ‘Act the Victim’ is an apparatus, a play, which at any given moment responds to the immediate. The process makes visible the sets of heterogeneous forces/structures (institutions, police, philosophical propositions, art and culture, behavior, the social, political and so on) that intersect uniquely and surface via an individual, a group or community.
During his time on campus, Mohanty visited the courses ‘In and Out of Actions: An Introduction to Performance Art’ taught by Marie Glynn, FAS, ‘Change, Adversity, and Spiritual Resilience’ taught by Chris Berlin, Harvard Divinity School, and ‘Global Response to Disaster and Refugee Crises’ taught by Stephanie Kayden, Harvard Medical School, Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health.
On March 31, Mohanty delivered a lecture-performance for community members titled ‘Great Eternal Return: A Social Media Film,’ which looks at the plethora of anonymous and mysterious images circulating on social media landscape in times of crisis. It is based on a video excerpt of TV interview of Narendra Modi, then Chief Minister of Gujarat, that went viral on social media just before the 2014 General Elections in India. He also attended several lectures on campus dealing with crisis situations. He visited several of Harvard’s museums, including the Harvard Art Museums, the Harvard Museum of Natural History, and Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, as well as several in the Boston area.
Next week, SAI will be hosting Nepalese artist Milan Rai, who will give a public talk on Wednesday, April 13.