Ranjit Hoskote and Nancy Adajania: A New Journal for the Arts: Prototype Issue
Although there have been exciting recent developments in the world of Indian art, there is a strong sense that much of it has been happening in the dark, without enough open discussion made widely available to the public. Hoskote and Adajania argue that in order for art to have significance and value beyond a point, it needs to be made in the context of lively discussion and critical debate. Modern India has had a rich history of such critical initiatives, but in the current context there are very few platforms for such engagement; those that do exist confine themselves largely to reporting on events, or more often, to sales figures and scandals, focusing on the life of the studio, the solitary creator, and of economic institutions such as the gallery and the auction house. Both senior art critics in their own right, Hoskote and Adajania propose to make a journal that focuses on actually mobilising and creating a new context for the production of art.
Rather than being a public relations exercise for art in India, the journal would be a colloquium across disciplines, regions, traditions and intellectual lineages. It would include, among other forms of writing, analytical essays, tactical accounts, select reviews, and polemical texts. In a special section, dedicated to what the proposal refers to as khwab or khwaish – the utopian impulse - artists will be invited to outline dream projects (especially in public art or new-media situations) that are impossible to achieve, or require financial assistance, thus allowing the journal to act as a catalyst for work that has not, or cannot, yet be made. The journal would be interested in developing a perspective of what the proposal calls “a nuanced critical regionalism”, which would reject both the “neo-tribalism” of an inward-looking isolationism, as well as an uncritical globalism that lacks anchorage in a specific cultural context. Thus, while being rooted in and contributing to Indian intellectual life, the journal would also welcome inputs from other parts of the world, including especially West Asia, South-east Asia, Eastern Europe, and North Africa, and be international in the range of its interests and contributors. Last but not least, the journal would seek and institute collaborative ventures between artists and public-sphere or civil-society activists.
Since this is not a project for an individual artist but for a colloquium that would seek to galvanise the entire Indian art scene, the journal, if and when fully realised, could have an immense formative impact that would bring together dozens of contributors even in its prototype issue, and draw in upcoming generations of young artists.