Panel: Transcultural Approaches
In the history of human culture there is no example of a conscious adjustment of the various factors of personal and social life to new extensions except in the puny and peripheral efforts of artists. The artist picks up the messages of cultural and technological challenge decades before its transforming impact occurs. (Marshall McLuhan).
What is meant by a transcultural approach to electronic art? Is ‘transcultural’ to be read as something that effaces difference accross cultures or as something that is constituted by it? The conflict between geographical, cultural rootedness and the space defying freedom of the Internet maybe at the heart of the problem of conceiving a transcultural approach to electronic art. The ethos of the computer industry in India emanates from the western world, and employs the same marketing and training strategies. Is this fertile ground for creative assimilation of a foreign technology or is this another avenue for cultural colonization? How have the technologies and language of photography and cinema transferred to the Indian subcontinent? What processes of imitation, subversion, appropriation and creation were released?
It is not possible to talk of an Indian approach to Electronic Art with the same hindsight clarity with which photography and cinema can be talked about. But a consideration of individual works and culturally moulded sensibilites is possible. In the minutae of such considerations,
we can perhaps realize the truth of McLuhan’s statement and go beyond the bottleneck of ‘style’.
- Chitra Shriram, Animation artist, USA