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Neepa Acharya - Ph.D. student in Musicology at Stanford University, on Thursday, January 10th, 2008 at 5.3o pm at the Dapartment of History, ul. św. Marcin 78, 61-809 Poznań, room 210, will conduct a seminar on "Reconstituting Banality: Ritual Sacrifice and Collective Identity in Ashish Avikunthak's Kalighat Fetish" (Film Screening and Presentation).

Organization: Ewa Domanska, IH UAM, email: ewa@amu.edu.pl

Reconstituting Banality: Ritual Sacrifice and Collective Identity
in Ashish Avikunthak's Kalighat Fetish
(Film Screening and Presentation)


"Reconstituting Banality" seeks to understand banality's productive potential within the emerging South Asian experimental filmic genre of Cinema Prayoga. Ashish Avikunthak's 'Kalighat Fetish' (2000), represents an archetype of these cultural products of the postcolony, whose banal subject matter constitutes a filmic genre between visual anthropology, cultural studies, and experimental film. The short experimental film explores the ceremonial venerations of the goddess Kali, the mother deity of Kolkata through gazes on everyday practices of goat sacrifice, collective celebration, and the age-old tradition of bahurupee cross-dressing as the mother goddess herself. Within the paper, I explore the main themes of ritual and sacrifice within the film and their respective places in this productive banality inspired by the work on everydayness of Lefebvre and De Certeau, while exploring the cultural significance of the specific instance of ritual sacrifice for the goddess Kali. I then look to the role of pre- and post-colonial narratives and their role in constituting a collective through banal practices - a point where banality itself serves as its own subversion from colonial normativity and the potential domination of the oppressive other. Finally, I look to how the productive potential of the banal may be brought to 'life' through experimental film, based on the work of Deleuze and Guattari on 'the virtual,' a space for grasping what lies outside of the realm of cognition.

The workshop will involve a screening of the film Kalighat Fetish (1999), 16mm, Color, 22 minutes, followed by a presentation and discussion.

Neepa Acharya

Malasree Neepa Acharya is a Ph.D. student in Musicology at Stanford University. She graduated with an M.A. in Cultural and Social Anthropology from Stanford University in September 2007 examining the tenets of postcolonial music through investigating subjectivity and urban imagination in Jibanmukhi gaan in Kolkata, India. With a background in music and public policy, Neepa actively performs violin while serving as a research associate at the University of Alaska-Anchorage Institute for Social and Economic Research related to her work with welfare reform for Alaska Native Peoples. Her research interests include: cultural theory, postcolonial art and music, ritual sacrifice, and issues of public interest and ownership. As a 2007 fellow for the Belgian American Education Foundation, Neepa currently resides in Brussels, Belgium, where she is pursuing musicological research and baroque violin performance at the Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel.

See Neepa's performances on YouTube - Sonnerie de Ste-Genevieve du Mont-de-Paris by Marin Marais and Buxtehude Sonata in D Major, BuxWV 260.

Ashish Avikunthak and reviews of Kalighat Fetish

Ashish Avikunthak's website

Abhishek Hazra, "Erasure of the Subaltern as Auto-Critique". Artconcerns, June 2007.

"An Interview wit Ashish Avikunthak by Amrit Gangar". Cinema Prayoga: Indian Experimental Films 1913-2006", ed. by. Brad Butler & Karen Mirza, London 2006.

"Avant Garde Cinema: Filmmaker Ashish Avikunthak". Siliconeer, April 2006.


Photo from Ashish Avikunthak's Kalighat Fetish

©ed | 2007

Neepa Acharya Zbigniew LiberaNeepa Acharya