Imagination is the ultimate disruptor. And art, the ultimate enabler of that imagination.
Technology primes every aspect of the post-covid art world for a digital disruption. Evidence of this disruption abounds in the upcoming exhibition Techné Disruptors, an unprecedented epistemological art and tech show in India that will not only reshape sedentary categories of art but also radically shift the way art is viewed, understood, experienced and sold. Conceived, Engendered, and supported by the American Center and the Italian Embassy Cultural Center, the show features more than ten of the most cutting edge, tech-forward pioneers and digitally native artists in India and the Global South. The show is curated by Cultural Curator & Producer Myna Mukherjee. It will run from April 30 to May 6 at the India Habitat Center, in conjunction with India Art Fair 2022.
From elemental light boxes to a complex prototype Non-Fungible Token (NFT) launch powered by a global nexus of innovators and futurists in coalition for a regenerative project across the world; Techné Disruptors features works imagined with the most future-forward technologies of our times, including Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, holographs, and a brand new minted collection of Global South NFTs.
This show has been conceived through the lens of urbanism in the Global South countries, Indian futurism and cultural perpetuity, post-colonial art, the Anthropocene as global discourse, indigenous technologies, and future forward aesthetics.
The works in Techné Disruptors question the past, the present, and the social spaces we navigate in our daily lives—the private, the public, the inner, the market and the imaginary. They upend political narratives around gender, feminism, art as resistance, environmental rights, and freedom and access, as well as subverting notions of identity, contesting social norms, critiquing consumer culture, and imagining dystopian alternate realities. Collectively these works interrupt expectations and unsettle conventions, inviting visitors to gain a deeper understanding of the ways in which artists challenge norms and push boundaries through disruptive actions.
DISRUPTORS: Harshit Agrawal, Rochelle Nembhard & Gemma Shepherd, Seema Kohli, Adil B. Khan, Minne Atairu, Babak Haghi, Dr. Mandakini Devi, Nandita Kumar, Satadru Sovan, Shilo Shiv Suleman + The Fearless Collective, & and an NFT drop by Raghava K.K.
- Opening Symposium & Press Conference 30th Apr, 4.30-6.30 pm, Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Center
- Live NFT drop to launch Regen*DAO, a first of its kind global network that brings together ‘funding, artists, scientists, entrepreneurs and visionaries’ and connects the best minds globally from web2 and web3 to build regenerative futures for all. The NFT would be launched by renowned multimedia artist and art-tech pioneer Raghava K.K, along with Lara Stein (Founder TEDx, TED prize, Founder & CEO Boma Global, and ED Women’s March Global). The NFT drop is in association with the world’s largest NFT marketplace OpenSea and will be featured on their homepage.
- International attendees include Illaria Bonacossa (Director Digital/New Media Museum in Milan, Former Director of Artissima), Davide Quadrio, Director of Museo d’Arte Orientale, Turin, South African artist Rochelle Nembhard (creative Director Noirwave, works throughs contemporary African lens), and Lumen Prize Winner for the Global South artist Minne Atairu among others.
- India’s first collection of Global South NFTs towards building an equitable and prosperous tech+art ecosystem; and to foster, bridge, connect and forge strong South-South partnerships leading from the East. Exhibition and collection includes international award winning works from New York, South Africa, Burma, Mexico, Argentina, Iran and other Global South countries.
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Appendix I: Techné Disruptors Artists Bios
Harshit Agrawal is an Indian artist working with artificial intelligence and emerging technologies. He uses machines and algorithms and often creates them as an essential part of his art process, embracing becoming the cyborg artist. He often juxtaposes traditional art media, aesthetics and tools along with machines and computation, creating a space to both direct, and be guided by the machine. His work is part of the permanent exhibition at the largest computer science museum in the world, HNF museum in Germany. Along with his art practice, he has authored several publications and patents about his work at the intersection of human computer interaction and creative expression.
Minne Atairu is an artist and 2021 Lumen Prize Global South Award winner. She is also a doctoral student in Art and Art Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research and practice emerge at the intersection of machine learning, Art/Museum education and Black culture. Minne’s ongoing project, Igun AI, addresses a 17-year artistic absence during the interregnum following the 1897 British punitive expedition in Benin Kingdom. Minne holds an MA in Museum Studies from The George Washington University, DC and BA in Creative Arts from University of Maiduguri, Nigeria.
Rochelle Nembhard & Gemma Shepherd
Rochelle ‘Rharha’ Nembhard is a creative director, filmmaker and co-founder of Noirwave. Born to British Jamaican parents and raised in South Africa, she grounds her work in promoting and facilitating diversity, access and inclusion in typically elitist spaces within the art world, namely galleries and museums. Her work explores identities developed across diverse experiences and cultures, forged through a contemporary African lens. She maintains an on-going collaboration with her partner, the musician Petite Noir – a.k.a Yannick Ilunga, working as his creative director. Together, they created Noirwave, a pioneering cultural movement. Originating as an artistic movement responding to the fragmented identity of the African diaspora, Noirwave quickly developed into a state of mind that, similarly to Pan-Africanism, looks to a borderless utopia. Noirwave works across music, film, performance and fashion. In 2018, Nembhard graced the cover of Elle South Africa.
Gemma Shepherd is a Cape Town based interdisciplinary artist using photography, video and object art to meditate on issues of self, belonging and becoming.
Seema Kohli is a multi-disciplinary artist, straddling the worlds the visual and performing arts, as well as poetry. Her works are primarily a celebration of the female form, often with the underlying subtext and central themes of myth and oral narratives. Her works manifest narratives that straddle the medium of poetry, performance, theatre, and film focusing on techniques such as layering, collage, montage towards a utopian world-building.
Kohli has had over 32 solo shows and over 250 group shows in India, Europe, and the United States. In addition , Kohli has done several large–scale murals, some of which include the Supreme Court (New Delhi), Sardar Patel Bhawan (Patna, Bihar), Delhi and Mumbai International Airports and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Her works have also been shown at collateral events associated with major national and international festivals including the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (Collateral,2016), Venice Biennale of Art/Architecture (2015, 2016), ARCO [Madrid] (2008), Art Basel and at the India Art Fair (2010-2021), among many others.
Kohli has also been an invited speaker at several conferences and institutions, including TEDx (2012), WIN Conference (2013-2015), NGMA (Bangalore, 2010, 2014, 2016), SAI 2018, UC Davis, Middle East/South Asia Studies (2018), DOVA-Performance of Visual Arts-UC Chicago (2018) University of Connecticut (2018)and the Buffalo AS, UBDA-Triveni (2018). Kohli’s artworks are currently in several prestigious collections including the Rubin Museum (USA), the Museum of Sacred Art (Belgium), Lalit Kala Akademi (India) and the Kerala Museum of Arts (India).
Adil B Khan
An MBA, Adil began his career with The Times of India. His creative pursuits led him to branch out on his own and he has been doing a line of clothes ever since. 10 years back he was discovered by Myna Mukherjee who has since exhibited him in numerous group shows including The India Art Fair. Adil’s works are with numerous prestigious art collectors and homes in India and abroad.
Born in 1982, Babak Haghi is a professional Iranian visual artist. He started professional photography in 2012 with theatre photography and he learned the fundamentals of visual arts from his mentor “Hafez Miraftabi”. After that, he tried to find his language in Art. He held his first solo theatre photography exhibition in 2014 at Sheila Art Gallery in Tehran. His main concern is to express the dialect of the body, the femininity inside humans, and the reveal of identity with the use of photography and video art. During this time, identity and body dialect have been his major subjects in different series. A dialect that does not require a language; a dialect to which anyone surrenders and lets reach down to the subconscious, their body will automatically start speaking. Body language can even be an expression of a human’s hidden identity and this can be the reason to eliminate gendered borders and exhibit humans’ hidden (sexual) attractions.
Babak Haghi has held 8 solo photography exhibitions in Tabriz (Shokri Art Gallery), Tehran (Atbin Art Gallery, Mojdeh Art Gallery), Shiraz (Aban Art Gallery), and London (The Little Black Art Gallery). Four of his artworks were shown in INDIA ART FAIR 2020 at the Italian embassy cultural center gallery. He has photographed more than 150 theaters in Iran and has participated in more than 60 group exhibitions in Iran, Canada, Turkey, India, and Sweden. His recent passion is to experience manual printing techniques of his photos at his studio.
Dr Mandakini Devi
Dr Mandakini Devi is an artist based in New Delhi. She has been educated in New Delhi and London extensively, from 2007 onwards. Dr Devi completed her practice based Ph.D in 2018 , working as an artist/consultant for an architectural firm until 2020. Currently Dr Devi is teaching critical theory in contemporary visual culture to undergraduate students of Photography in New Delhi.
When I tell people that I am an artist, often I hear the familiar phrase, “you must be very good at drawing,” a phrase I find intriguing because as a child I never drew except in the mandatory art classes at school. Between rigorous sessions of drawing and painting, have led me to experiment with collaging my photographs with my painted works. My works are informed by my understanding of representation of the female body, through my own contemporary cultural mobility. The collages are based on photographs from my immediate and everyday surroundings. They are re scripted and staged through the process of layering and post-production. My research interests are in developing representational strategies of the self-image and body through cultural contexts related to feminist perspectives in contemporary visual culture. In my formative years as an artist, I began by exploring the self-image, followed by the body image at a much later stage. I instinctively documented my immediate surroundings of friends, my family and myself. The ‘inward turn’ in my practice turned my focus on the practices of women artists who have used their bodies and personal narratives to engage with contemporary gender and identity politics.
Nandita Kumar is a new media artist who works at the intersection of art, science, technology and community to create interactive installations. She explores the elemental process through which human beings construct meaning from their experiences, by creating sensory narratives through sound, video/animation and performance, smartphone apps, customized motherboards, and solar/microwave sensors. Through her installations, interactive sculptures, paintings and animations, which seamlessly integrate new media and materiality, Kumar reflects on the striking contradictions within the industrial and natural landscape. Nandita’s interest lies in propelling the human race towards sustainable development, which not only focuses on environmental protection but also social nurturing. Her process envisions a desirable future state for human societies in which living conditions and resource use continue to meet human needs without undermining the integrity, stability and beauty of natural biotic systems. Simultaneously, Nandita explores the impact of innovative technologies on human lives and natural ecosystems through her practice. She employs technology as though it were a natural element in an extended ecosystem. As a result, her works are hybrids, rooted in human nature while a pervasive electronic layer is integrated seamlessly.
Nandita has shown in varied festivals and exhibitions throughout the world including Pompidou, ZKM, LACMA, REDCAT, ISEA, Je de Paume, The New Zealand International Film Festival, Film Anthology Archive NY, Indian Art Fair, Rome International Film festival, Stuttgart Animation Festival, The Academy of Television Art and Sciences in Los Angeles and been included in Best of Sydney Underground Festival DVD. “Ghar Pe/At Home” (2011-2012), a community art project she curated, has been documented online by Asian Art Archive (Hong Kong). Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Asian Age, Hindustan Times, The Indian Express, Take on Art (India), Australian Art Collector. Nandita has received the ASU-Leonardo Imagination Fellowship and has also been a speaker at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney) and TEDx.
Born in the colonial city of Howrah in West Bengal. In terms of technique, Satadru is a multi-disciplinary artist – equally at home painting large canvases, creating his own performance art and light installations amongst other phenomenology involved in his work. Having gained his degree and masters in painting from the renowned Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan in 2000. He is a recipient of several awards including the Fulbright Scholarship. He has been a part of several residencies and his work is in private collections as well as museums. He has been in several shows and performance events worldwide.
Shilo Shiv Suleman
Shilo Shiv Suleman is an award-winning Indian artist whose work lives and breathes at the intersection of Magical Realism, Art, Technology and Social Justice. Her work is unapologetically embodied weaving together the sensual and sacred, past and future- through paintings, wearable sculptures, interactive installations and public art interventions. Her collaborations with a neuroscientist on creating art that interacts with your brainwaves and other biofeedback sensors made her recipient of several grants including the honorarium installation- Pulse & Bloom at Burning Man. She has been featured on TED, BBC, Rolling Stone, MSNBC, Tech Crunch, The Guardian, WIRED, and has exhibited her work at the Southbank Centre in London and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Most recently her work was sold at an auction at Sotheby’s for 57,000 USD in the “Boundless Space” auction. She is also the founder and director of Fearless Collective, a growing movement of hundreds of South Asian artists reclaiming public spaces from Fear. She has painted over 40 murals in 15 countries, including notably representing India at COP26, Scotland and some of the first public feminist art in Pakistan. Her newest body of work- “Semiprecious” explores the forces of nature- rivers, mountains, the movement of tectonic plates, wind currents, photosynthesis, rocks, moss, minerals and all kinds of invisible, microcosmic and macrocosmic love stories.
The Fearless Collective
Fearless is a South Asia based public arts project that creates space to move from fear to love using participative public art. In 2012, Bangalore-based visual artist Shilo Shiv Suleman started Fearless in response to the powerful protests that shook the country in response to the “Nirbhaya” tragedy in Delhi, India.
Since then, Fearless has worked in over 10 countries, co-creating 38 murals, reclaiming spaces, carving out public depictions of women and their significance in societies around the world– from the small indigenous village of Olivencia colonized by the Portuguese in Brazil, to the first known public testament to queer masculinities in Beirut, Lebanon, to the sprawling community of Lyari rift with gang violence in Karachi, Pakistan. Fearless’ work is to show up in spaces of fear, isolation, and trauma and support communities as they reclaim these public spaces with the images and affirmations they choose.
Raghava K.K. is a multidisciplinary artist, storyteller and pioneer in the field of art & technology who explores transcendence through the lens of the current digital era. Featured on CNN’s list of ten fascinating thinkers in 2010, Raghava’s work traverses traditional forms of painting, installation and performance, while his practice embraces new media (artificial intelligence, neuro-feedback, bio-hacking, board and video games, crypto currencies etc), to express post-human contemporary realities. In 2021, Raghava was the first Indian to launch an NFT at Sotheby’s, New York, in partnership with BurningMan. This year Raghava is going to be at the Techne Disruptors show in India Habitat Center to launch the prototype NFT drop for ReGenDao a worldwide regenerative project powered by a global nexus of imaginators and innovators in association with the world’s largest NFT platform OpenSea on April 30th.
About the Curator
Myna is a cultural producer, curator, and the founder/director of Engendered, a New York/New Delhi based Transnational Arts and Human rights organisation with a focus on the intersections of gender and marginalities in South Asia. She is interested in art curation as a feminist practice, an instigation/investigation and reflection of aesthetics and visual spectacle, as means towards subversion of a hegemonic culture. A technology, finance and management strategy consultant by training, Myna left a successful career on Wall Street, to produce and curate the best in contemporary South Asian art, cinema and performance festivals in New York. She has curated internationally at the Lincoln Center, Asia Society, Tribeca Film Center, Queens Museum, and others. For the India Chapter of Engendered, she initiated Delhi’s first and only alternative art space that served as one of the first gallery and artist residency dedicated to incubating a space for cultural production around issues of gender, sexuality and rights for marginalities over the years. She has curated some of India’s most prolific touring visual arts exhibitions, and brought to Delhi North America’s largest South Asian Human Rights film festival, I View World in 2016. In 2019 Life Style Asia magazine listed her as one of the top 5 curators revolutionising the Indian art scene. She was featured in Harper’s Bazaar’s HOT LIST of top curators in India. In 2020 she was invited to co-curate a museum exhibition at the Museum of Eastern Art in Turin, Italy and Hub India, a survey program representing the contemporary art and eco-system of India for Artissima, one of Italy’s most pivotal art fairs. She was also on the board Lumen Prize 2021 and has also exhibited India’s first solo show on Artificial Intelligence (AI) art.
Lara Stein, Founder/CEO, Boma Global
Lara held the position of Director of the TED Prize and was the founder and director of the TEDx program at the TED Conferences from 2007 to 2013. In 2007, she created and lead the effort to bring TED to the world by developing a program that granted free licenses to third parties to organize independent TED-like events. In the first five years of TEDx, Ms. Stein grew the program into a global phenomenon with more than 40,000 talks given at more than 8,000 TEDx events in 1,200 cities in 133 countries. By December 2013, eight TEDx events, on average, were being organized every day in one of 133 countries. Under Stein’s leadership, TED expanded to include TED x Women, TED-like events dedicated to women empowerment, and the inclusion of youth audiences with the creation of the TED Youth and TED x Youth. Stein also created the TEDx corporate event platform, TEDx in a Box. Ms. Stein is the Co-Founder and CEO of Boma Global. Prior to Founding Boma, Lara was the Executive Director of Women’s March Global, where she built the Women’s March Global platform and oversaw all Women’s March initiatives outside of the US. Stein also recently acted as the Executive Director of MIT ReACT, a new institute-wide organization at MIT dedicated to developing a global educational platform for displaced populations and refugees. Previously Ms. Stein was MD Global Development at Singularity University. Ms. Stein was responsible for Singularity University’s global expansion and implementation vision and strategy. Stein also currently sits on the board of Equality Now, dedicated to creating a more just world for women and girls and Lalela, a non-profit dedicated to education through the arts in South Africa and is Chairman of the Board of Women’s March Global.
Ilaria Bonacossa, Director, Digital Media Museum, Milan
An art critic and a curator, Ilaria is now the Director of Digital Art Museum, Milan. Bonacossa had joined Artissima in 2017 as the Director of Artissima International Fair of Contemporary Art. With a degree in Contemporary Art History from the State University of Milan, after taking a master in curatorial studies at Bard College (USA) she worked in New York at the Whitney Museum. For nine years curator of Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, in 2007 she was a member of the Jury for the Leone d’Oro of the 52nd Venice Art Biennale. From 2012 to 2016 Ilaria became the Artistic Director of Museo Villa Croce, Genova and curated the permanent installations of Antinori Art Projects until 2019. In 2013 she curated Katrin Sigurdardottir’s solo project at the Icelandic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.
She has been a member of the Technical Committee for acquisitions of FRAC Provence-Alpes Côte d’Azur in Marseilles; the Steering Committee of PAC in Milan, a member of the Selection Committee of the Prince Pierre Prize, Monaco and director for Italy of the Artist Pension Trust international programme. Since 2016 she has been the artistic director of Fondazione La Raia. Since 2019 she is Course Advisor Leader for the Art Market Course at Naba Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, Milan.
Davide Quadrio, Director Museo d’Arte Orientale, Turin
Davide Quadrio is the director of Museo d’Arte Orientale, Turin, Italy. He is also a producer and curator. He founded and directed for a decade the first not-for-profit independent creative lab in Shanghai, BizArt Center, as a platform to foster the local contemporary art scene. In 2007 Quadrio created Arthub, a production and curatorial proxy active in Asia and worldwide. With BizArt and its team, and now with Arthub, Quadrio has organized hundreds of exhibitions, educational activities and exchanges in China and abroad, developing relationships with local and foreign institutions worldwide. For the relevance of his work, his organizations were featured in the recent exhibition “China after 1989: Theater of the World” dedicated to the last thirty years of contemporary art in China at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and Porto.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
INDIA HABITAT CENTER, GATE NO. 2, LODHI ROAD, NEW DELHI
30 APRIL, 2022
4 – 5 pm: OPENING SYMPOSIUM & PRESS CONFERENCE, STEIN AUDITORIUM
5:15- 6:30 pm: RAGHAVA KK’S NFT DROP FOR REGENDAO, STEIN AUDITORIUM
6:30 pm: EXHIBITION OPENING & RECEPTION, OPEN PALM COURT GALLERY
1 – 6 MAY, 2022
MONDAY TO SUNDAY, 10am – 8pm
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