The final, closed-door session was led by Ajay Sinha with interventions by Geeta Kapur & Parul Dave-Mukherji. Sinha began with the observation that the broad-ranging discussion over the past few days has articulated a broad notion of what a book literally is, and this is a testament to how contemporary art broadens culture. Some of the questions and points raised during the session included:
- How do we recognise/reconcile the separate but connected roles of art historian, curator and critic?
- Is the book a relic that we are fetishizing? Or will its standard format endure as some technologies have?
- What is the book’s temporality? Does it contain a residue of the reader’s engagement? The contemporary book is already reading us as we are reading it and this has changed the solitary nature of the act of reading
- In a formalist sense, an album, like an exhibition, is a collection of signifiers
- Collage and rupture are vocabulary to engage with the authority of the book
- How do we come to terms with the changing forms of the book? Through consideration of the book as codex, album, scroll etc? When does a book become a city, map, architecture, labyrinth or doorway? Our insistence on the format is indicative of the stubborn wish to locate oneself and be located.
At the end of a broad-reaching discussion the Ensemble concluded with thanks to Bhavna Kakar and Anushka Rajendran, and with all participants excited to have begun such a rich and vital dialogue.