Die Kunstausstellung documenta fifteen fand vom 18. Juni bis 25. September 2022 in Kassel statt. 100 Tage Kunst, Lumbung und Nongkrong, einiges davon On Skates. Wir werden in den kommenden Monaten sehen, was sich nach dem offiziellen Ende der documenta fifteen fortsetzen wird. UPDATE: „Black Masks on Rollerskates“ von Amol K. Patil wurde von der Stadt Kassel angekauft und verbliebt in Kassel. / The art exhibition documenta fifteen took place in Kassel from 18. June until 25. September 2022. 100 days of art, lumbung and nongkrong, some of it on skates. The next months will show, what will follow. UPDATE: „Black Masks on Rollerskates“ by Amol K. Patil was bought by the city of Kassel and will remain in Kassel.
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Ausführliches zu Rollschuhen bei der documenta, Amol K. Patil und Baan Noorg Collaborative Arts and Culture in Das Rollschuhmagazin Nr. 4 (hier im Onlineshop erhältlich). Für aktuelle Infos kannst du gerne auch unseren Social Media Kanälen folgen. #skatedocumenta
In depth interviews and articles on rollerskating at documenta, Amol K. Patil and Baan Noorg Collaborative Arts and Culture in Das Rollschuhmagazin No. 4 (German only), available at our webshop. As our magazine is in German language only, you can read the original interview (english) with Amol K. Patil below.
Protest Movement - An interview with Amol K. Patil
Amol K. Patil has worked with bronze and earth, with ceramic and light, with the noise of machines and factory sirens, decades-old recordings of the voices of migrant workers from the archives of his father. He has used the buzzing of mosquitoes and, time and time again, movement in his art. For his video installation “Many kilometres, several words“ (2019) actors used gestures to depict the cramped and precarious life in the factory. In his kinetic sculpture “Gaze under your skin” (2019), small motors, invisible beneath the surface, move sand and earth. At documenta 15, Amol will work with roller skates. In a work about injustice and skating as resistance against established power structures.
Questions: Elisabeth Dietz
Many of your works are about the experience of working class Indians. What makes this experience unique?
My practice reflects my experience and legacy. My father was an avant-garde theatre activist. He worked all his life for working-class people around us. History refers to a common language for the working class all over the world. This is not an individual conversation. Capitalism and power politics creates similar suppression, struggle, depression or dominance all over the world.
How do class and caste intersect?
Caste and class confront each other at a common point. People who are lower in caste are suppressed by the hierarchy. Communities that tradition places lower in the caste hierarchy. They face years of discrimination. Being used by the power and caste hierarchy. They are bound to take societal pressure. They are pushed to do all kinds of jobs in the growing society. Lower caste people remain in the working class in that way.
What does it mean to be Dalit?
Dalit/Dalita, meaning “broken/scattered“, is a name for people belonging to the lowest stratum castes in India, previously characterised as “untouchable“. Dalits have had the lowest social status in the traditional Hindu social structure. Discrimination against Dalits has been observed across Southern Asia and among the South Asian diaspora. According to a 2007 report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), the treatment of Dalits has been like a „hidden apartheid“ and they „endure segregation in housing, schools, and access to public services”. In rural India they still live in secluded quarters, do the dirtiest work, and are not allowed to use the village well and other common facilities.
How do the architecture and city planning of Mumbai reflect social order?
Growing urbanization has a horrific impact on social order. Especially in the working class. They are invisible in the new city mapping. They are shifted to outskirts or unhealthy industrial areas.
Your grandfather was a poet. What did he write about?
My grandfather was an anti-colonial Powada performer who mixed his critique of empire with that of violence embedded in the graded inequality of the caste system that hierarchically divides not just labour but laborers.
What is Powada?
Powada is a lyrical, musical performance often staged by travelling individuals. Powada can be traced back to the thirteenth century, where poets from kings’ courts would compose theatrical songs in praise of gods. In Maharashtra, the Dalit movement has reinvented this tradition, turning its devotional bias into a radical idiom that confronts social issues and politically reimagines the structure of Indian society. With its long, revolutionary poems, it is also a political tool that redesigns what constitutes the Indian public.
Your father was a theatre activist, and the work you’re going to exhibit at documenta 15 builds on his and your grandfather’s work. What did they leave you, and how are you going to use it?
My installation ‘Black Masks on Roller Skates” (2022), encompasses kinetic sculpture, holographic video, poetry, music, and performance. Map lines of travel, migration, and transformation outline a stage, with performers, as if performing beneath the surface. They are breathing, watching the land, living, moving, surviving. I build on the theatre and performative traditions nested in working-class neighbourhoods in Mumbai, as well as my own family history. My grandfather was a Powada performer and my father was an avant-garde writer who wrote and produced protest theatre, critiqued the time of the working siren and of sleeping in shifts as he carried forward this experimental and emancipatory ethos.
In Kassel, I will reflect on my family legacy as well as labour conversation not only in Mumbai but Kassel.
What was the most difficult thing about implementing your project?
I am bringing my experience, the reality in general, to a specific community. I believe at one point this is similar suffering and struggle that the labour community went through and still there is a common conversation. This was a challenge to see the reality in Kassel from my lense and bring my conversation there which will be seen through the eyes of Kassel. I believe there is a common empathy that we share. We will do a skating performance on the street which will play protest music. This is a common voice for everyone. A roar from every heart.
What do you hope for?
I imagine this is a commonly and widely engage platform. Where viewers can participate in the performance and vibrate the history in installation referred by the history. I expect to share common empathy.
Please tell me about the kinetic sculpture you are bringing to Kassel this year.
In the performative facet of “Black Masks”, I designed an oft-repeated journey within the city that I recall from my childhood. A friend of my father, Anil Tuebhekar, I remember, moved on skates, a broom in his hand and radio at his waist, sweeping the street, every day. He cleaned the city but knew he was not welcome on the bus or in the hotel for a drink of water. To shut the world out with music was his individual protest. Followed by that individual protest I designed kinetic skates that have a cleaning brush on them as a form of broom or cleaning tool. This is a running form of common protest. I will bring a futurist theatre that vibrates the history and legacy of theatre activist father’s experimental and emancipatory ethos.
I heard you are currently learning to skate. How is it going?
I am trying to learn skating to participate in the common protest as skating. This I see as an ongoing performative activity.