Archipelago Archives Exhibit #1: Dear Dead Dancer

_About the performance
Text & Performance: Kiran Kumar
Choreography: Kiran Kumar, excerpts from choreography of Kelucharan Mahapatra and Surupa Sen Dramaturgy: Nidya Shantini Manokara

Dear Dead Dancer’ is an essay-performance that takes the form of a reading of an open letter addressed to Kelucharan Mahapatra, the late Odissi guru and a pioneer of the dance’s reconstruction. The essay comprises auto-ethnographic notes as well as documentary video footage and live performance of song and dance. The work aims to thrown open some fundamental, critical questions on pedagogy, aesthetics and politics in dance drawn out of the artist’s long-term artistic research project ‘Archipelago Archives’.

_About the project
Archipelago Archives is an emancipatory gesture of (re)imagining an archipelago in the Indian Ocean somewhere between India and Indonesia, and then speculatively (re)inventing the dances of this archipelago.

The project unfolds through a series of ‘Studies’ and ‘Exhibits’. Studies are focused on specific ideas or intuitions and are undertaken through fieldwork, studio work and textual research. Exhibits are periodic public presentations of material from one or more studies and may take multiple forms: performance, video, installation, publications, workshops and talks/dialogues, among others.

Kiran Kumar

(b.1983, Bangalore) is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher. His work focuses on the intersection of artistic and scientific modes of articulation within dance and somatic practices.

His artistic works have ranged from performance, video, installation and exhibition, to writing and archiving. His research projects have been supported by the National Arts Council Singapore’s Research and Development Grant and the Volkswagen Foundation’s (Germany) Arts and Science in Motion program.

Following initial study in mechanical engineering at the National University of Singapore, Kiran holds an MFA in new media art from City University of Hong Kong and an MA in dance from the Inter-University Centre for Dance Berlin. Currently he is an Associate Member at the Berlin Centre for Advanced Studies in Arts and Sciences where he has initiated a long-term artistic research project titled ‘Archipelago Archives’.

Studio: Einsteinufer 43, Raum 209. Universität der Künste Berlin. 10587 Berlin, Germany.

The development of Dear Dead Dancer was supported by ELEMENT Research Residency, Dance Nucleus (Singapore) and The Vault, Centre42 (Singapore). Special thanks to Daryono Darmorejono, Abie Aziz Aboodi, Saskia Kersenboom, Maya Dance Theatre (Singapore) and Nrityagram (Bangalore).