For working with the cultural history archive at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta (CSSSC) which contains a wide variety of visual materials from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Bengal that includes books, journals, popular paintings, prints, posters, hoardings, advertisements and commercial art productions. Afrah’s research will culminate in a series of short videos that will portray stories of resistance of women in the nineteenth century, loosely themed around ‘Women and Impudence/Cheeky Girls’.
For the creation of a production based on a Marathi script titled ‘Flat Number F-1/105’. Through active collaborations among the director, actors and the playwright, the performance seeks to address issues around identity through a reflection on the aesthetic and political perceptions of ‘colour’.
For research, collation and documentation of materials from archives related to the practice of a revolutionary poet who has been an active advocate for a separate state of Telangana. This artistic engagement will be documented through photographs, text, video, and recorded audios of political discourse, conversations and interviews.
For a film and web platform on the journey of Warkaris, the Vaishnavite pilgrims who undertake an annual expedition to Pandharpur in Maharashtra. The filmmaker seeks to document the journey and map it on a web platform, while simultaneously linking various points enroute to textual material describing the journey. This project wishes to traverse the boundary between cinema and web technology where every viewer will have a different narrative experience of the journey depending on the choices they make.
For research into the popular subculture of automatons displayed during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai. His research will lead to the production of a film exploring the mythologies around these religious displays. The film will highlight the working of the low-tech automaton industry, while allowing for a creative and fictitious depiction of the research material in the form of a film. The collected material will also result in an installation piece.
For research towards production and dissemination across six tier B cities of a performance piece, tentatively titled ‘Notes on Chai’. The performance will explore the idea of the quotidian in everyday life, by combining realistic character-based pieces with abstract sounds.
For research towards a curatorial project exploring the history of early sound and sound technology through archival research and interviews, as well as artistic collaborations between the researcher and a Bombay-based curator, artists, sound recordists, sound theorists, musicians, linguists, researchers and writers whose practices contribute to an understanding of sound ecologies in India.
For research at various archives of science and astronomy and at Jain religious archives in India leading to a multi-part art project titled The Weather Inside Me. The project will trace the history of science, weather and solar observations in India from pre-colonial to post-colonial times. The religious archives will be referenced to investigate the centrality of the sun in Jainism and its resulting impact on time and memory in our lives.
For the sturdy of vintage educational film footage the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) archives, produced as part of the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) programme. This programme was established by NASA and ISRO in 1975-76 to impart a ‘modern and scientific outlook to rural India’. The fellowship outcome will be a symposium and, subject to availability of further funding from other sources, a film using the found footage.