The Transforming State

In 2010, Delhi-based installation artist Sumakshi Singh invited me to co-mentor a new residency in India. "The Transforming State" was conceived as a way to activate Connaught Place during the exceptionally hot summer months, when few incentives seemed compelling enough to lure the culture-consuming public out of their homes and work places. It was a particularly daunting time to be in the city center: Delhi was to host the Commonwealth Games in October and in preparation, road work, construction work on the new metro system, and ubiquitous façade renovations meant it was hard to get from anyplace to anyplace, regardless of ones' means of transit.

The residency would pair regional artists from across India with international artists. An international call for entries went out in March of that year which foregrounded the dual themes of responsiveness to site and the notion of transformation. The residency would culminate in an exhibition of the artists' work and production of a full color, hardbound catalogue. From over 300 entries, 8 Indian and 8 International artists were selected.

The artists developed their work over the course of four weeks in a shared gallery space: 4 Indian and 4 international artists worked side by side during the months of June and July. While I was initially invited to participate in the project in a mentorship capacity, discussing the evolving work and facilitating the artist's plans, both Co-Mentor Sumakshi Singh and myself found ourselves taking on more and more roles. At the end of 12 weeks of unrelenting intensity, we had also resolved housing, transportation, and material acquisition issues for the artists, documented their working processes, designed and installed an exhibition, and laid out and written 8 essays, each, for the catalogue.

These images give a general sense of what the residency looked and worked like.