Vinita Gatne: fabulations

20 minute presentation for AEROPONIC ACTS  - growing roots in air, DAI's 3 day marathon of lecture-perfomance acts, May 2019.

Synchronising five stories, fabulations brings together occurrences and experiences from different points in time.  How can our collective segues disrupt the categories that separate us? Performance & fabulations by Raphael Daibert, Vinita Gatne, Pitchaya Ngamcharoen, Samantha McCulloch, Zach Schoenhut.

Antonia Majaca, Ghalya Saadawi, Laura Harris and Rachel O’Reilly responded to the question:

Can we emerge otherwise by synchronising our individual fabulations?

Report by Ayesha Hameed:

The audience is seated around a darkened room with bright objects from the deep sea – jellyfish and squid that look like chandeliers. A burst of sound filled with static precedes first-person autobiographical and sensorial accounts of the construction and collection of fables and places from specific locations like Bombay to those outside any map, spoken apart and in parallel; tactile stories describe the resistance to the state’s corralling of desire, of maps and getting lost, of getting your nails done, the taste and smell of noodle soup at a favourite restaurant. Opposed to top-down governmental control, with fabulation there is no need to be corrected. A thread on the practice of writing is tied into development politics in Bombay. From the intimate, to state policy, to the materiality of writing, this particular looping text refers to past linguistic images – it is the story of a resistance, and its acoustic/gestural qualities. The speakers crawl into a circle in the middle of the room, discussing the collective care that went into producing the work.

‘Where does the study start?’ asked Antonia Majaca upon noting how integral cooperation was to the performance, citing Michel Blanchot, Jean-Luc Nancy and Giorgio Agamben’s work on community and Denise Ferreira da Silva’s concept of difference without separability. ‘It also brings to mind the Cephanofor,’ she added, ‘an underwater creature that is actually multiple organisms that move as one.’ 

Ghalya Saadawi felt it was like a text that doubts the first person, searching for a voice. ‘Maybe it is more like a “first person plural” than a multitude,’ she said, considering ‘what gives legitimacy to speak in the first person.’ 

Laura Harris also felt a desire to work through an individual experience: ‘There are points of convergence and commonality, but they do not collapse into a univeralizing account.’ 

Rachel O’Reilly brought forth the artist’s background as an architect who does community work. The context of land grabbing and the rise of the right in India made O’Reilly wonder how Gatne will theorize fabulation as she wrestles with the impossibility of talking about land grab in the first person. This, she said, needs multiple subjectivities, noting the coloniality of gender as a new and strong strand in the narrative.