Priyanka Pathak (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)
Fellow in Research Area 2: "Travelling Matters"
July – December 2020
Performance, Waste, and Urban Ecology: Mapping Temporal Communities of Berlin and Delhi (2000-2020)
Art and performance practices around waste, garbage, pollution, and ecology are intricately connected to civic consciousness. They have been covered in mainstream media and popular discourse for the last several years. The depictions of urban waste and ecology as staged in performance art need to capture the agonistic viewpoints that inform the differing notions of these concepts. This is relevant in both developed and developing countries. With this background, Priyanka Pathak perceives Berlin as a representation of cities in developed countries and, therefore, an ideal place to conduct her research on this topic. The contemporary art world exhibits itself and functions within a larger global network. Several of these works are inspired by experimental and avant-garde work in continental Europe, particularly in Berlin. In her ongoing research and in her project at EXC 2020, she looks at international comparative perspectives of site-specific, immersive performance art. This research raises a number of critical questions: How does art constantly respond to and negotiate with the rapidly evolving notions of waste and its materiality? How does a citizen-artist and a spectator participate in creating and perceiving a work of art in an urban landscape? How do practices of art create global temporal communities and develop a critical discourse that reflects on the idea of global cities and their respective artscapes?
Priyanka Pathak is a graduate of the New Delhi-based National School of Drama in India with specialisation in theatre technique and design. She is currently a PhD scholar at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University in India. Her work focuses on performance practices and artwork around waste and garbage in contemporary Indian and global contexts as well as the ecologies of cityscapes and their margins. As a researcher in performance studies and a theatre practitioner, her work lies at the intersection of performance-as-research, urban ecology and development. She engages with material remains and the materiality of practice and reality, which helps her explore alternatives to the narratives and spaces from and against which the artwork emerges.