Tag Archives: Ansuman Biswas

Tagore in conversation with Einstein

This conversation was the element of departure for Ansuman Biswas performance in Berlin.
Rabindranath Tagore met Albert Einstein on July 14, 1930, in his home in Kaputh, on the outskirts of Berlin.

Excerpt from Conversations And Interviews, by Rabindranath Tagore, Rupa 2006.

EINSTEIN: Do you believe in the Divine as isolated from the world?

TAGORE: Not isolated. The infinite personality of Man comprehends the Universe. There cannot be anything that cannot be subsumed by the human personality, and this proves that the Truth of the Universe is human Truth.

I have taken a scientific fact to explain this — Matter is composed of protons and electrons, with gaps between them; but matter may seem to be solid. Similarly humanity is composed of individuals, yet they have their interconnection of human relationship, which gives living unity to man’s world. The entire universe is linked up with us in a similar manner, it is a human universe. I have pursued this thought through art, literature and the religious consciousness of man.

EINSTEIN: There are two different conceptions about the nature of the universe: (1) The world as a unity dependent on humanity. (2) The world as a reality independent of the human factor.

TAGORE: When our universe is in harmony with Man, the eternal, we know it as Truth, we feel it as beauty.

EINSTEIN: This is the purely human conception of the universe.

TAGORE: There can be no other conception. This world is a human world — the scientific view of it is also that of the scientific man. There is some standard of reason and enjoyment which gives it Truth, the standard of the Eternal Man whose experiences are through our experiences.

EINSTEIN: This is a realization of the human entity.

TAGORE: Yes, one eternal entity. We have to realize it through our emotions and activities. We realized the Supreme Man who has no individual limitations through our limitations. Science is concerned with that which is not confined to individuals; it is the impersonal human world of Truths. Religion realizes these Truths and links them up with our deeper needs; our individual consciousness of Truth gains universal significance. Religion applies values to Truth, and we know this Truth as good through our own harmony with it.

EINSTEIN: Truth, then, or Beauty is not independent of Man?

TAGORE: No.

EINSTEIN: If there would be no human beings any more, the Apollo of Belvedere would no longer be beautiful.

TAGORE: No.

EINSTEIN: I agree with regard to this conception of Beauty, but not with regard to Truth.

TAGORE: Why not? Truth is realized through man.

Ansuman Biswas and Magda Meyer

Ansuman Biswas and Magda Meyer, NGBK, Berlin

Photos from workshop moments in Berlin by Carla Cruz

This is the collection of photos of the various events held for the fourth workshop in Berlin. Friday at NGBK; Saturday at Alice Creischer and Andreas Siekmannan’s Studio and again in the NGBK in the evening

Anna Boghiguian's drawing

Anna Boghiguian’s drawing, NGBK Berlin

Otolith Group mural detail

Otolith Group mural detail, NGBK Berlin

Otolith Group mural

Otolith Group mural, NGBK Berlin

Elzbieta Walter: Public Talk

Elzbieta Walter public talk

Elzbieta Walter

Audience, NGBK

Audience, NGBK

Elzbieta Walter

Elzbieta Walter

A German translation of Tagore from 1918, brought by a member of the audience

A German translation of Tagore from 1918, brought by a member of the audience

workshop berlin

workshop at Alice Creischer and Andreas Siekmann’s studio

 

workshop

workshop at Alice Creischer and Andreas Siekmann’s studio

 

FRAGMENTING TAGORE: Saturday 12 April

NGBK, Andrea Phillips, Grant Watson and Elke Falat

NGBK, Andrea Phillips, Grant Watson and Elke Falat

Anshuman Biswas and Magda Mayas: Parentheses on Truth, Beauty and Humanity; a live event based on the conversations between Einstein and Tagore with took place at Einstein’s house near Berlin in 1930.

Anshuman Biswas and Magda Meyer

Anshuman Biswas and Magda Mayas

NGBK audience

NGBK audience

Anshuman Dasgupta: Translating Tagore: the problems and possibilities of attending Tagore from another language and culture

Anshuman Dasgupta and Sanchayan Ghosh

Anshuman Dasgupta and Sanchayan Ghosh

Adrian Rifkin: Tagore seen seated: some others standing, a short speculation in composing the past-imperfect of the ‘post-colonial’

adrian rifkin

Adrian Rifkin

Ansuman Biswas and Guests – Concert

part 1

The performance was a re-imagining of some Tagore songs in a universal, trans-national context. The Bengali poetry was refracted through a lens made up of European free improvisation, Western orchestral music and Amharic song.

The ensemble comprised:
Ansuman Biswas – musical direction
Guillaume Viltard – bass
Ian Smith – trumpet
Marlies van Gengelen – oboe
Haymanot Tesfa – voice

part 2

Third meeting – London

These are the photographs taken during the third workshop at Iniva and the Tagore Centre, London, March 2014. Photos by Ho, Yu, Sheng and Carla Cruz.

photo of Andrea Phillips during third workshop, Iniva

Kodwo Eshun, Andrea Phillips and Grant Watson, photo by Ho, Yu-Sheng

photo by Ho, Yu-Sheng

research group at Iniva

photo by Carla Cruz

photo of Eona McCallum, Shanay Jhaveri and Wendelien van Oldenborgh, third workshop, Iniva

Eona McCallum, Shanay Jhaveri and Wendelien van Oldenborgh, photo by Ho, Yu-Sheng

Kodwo Eshun, Wendelien van Oldenborgh and Grant Watson, third workshop, Iniva

Kodwo Eshun, Wendelien van Oldenborgh and Grant Watson, photo by Ho, Yu-Sheng

photo by Ho, Yu-Sheng

Adrian Rifkin, Andreas Mueller and Antje Weitzel, third workshop, Iniva

Adrian Rifkin, Andreas Mueller and Antje Weitzel, photo by Ho, Yu-Sheng

photo of book by Tagore publish in Dutch

photo by Ho, Yu-Sheng

photo of room at Tagore Centre, London

Tagore Centre, photo by Ho, Yu-Sheng

photo of room, Tagore Centre, London

Tagore Centre, photo by Ho, Yu-Sheng

Otolith Group example of a wall paper design, photo by Ho, Yu Sheng

group photo of Tagore's research group

Research Group, photo by Ho, Yu-Sheng

 

first meeting in London

This is a collection of photos from Tagore, Pedagogy and Contemporary Visual Cultures Research Group on their first meeting held at Anna Boghiguian & Goshka Macuga’s exhibition Tagore’s Universal Allegories, Iniva, London November 2013. All photos by Ho, Yu-Sheng.

photo of first meeting at Iniva

ansuman biswas presentation at first meeting, Iniva

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Ansuman Biwas presenting is video-performances

 

ansuman biswas performance

performance by Ansuman Biswas and guests

Ansuman Biswas

ABAnsuman Biswas was born in Calcutta and trained in the UK. He has an international interdisciplinary practice encompassing music, film, live art, installation, writing and theatre.

Over the last few years his work has included directing Shakespeare in America, translating Tagore’s poetry from the Bengali, designing underwater sculptures in the Red Sea, living with wandering minstrels in India, being employed as an ornamental hermit in the English countryside, touring with Björk, spending two days blindfolded in an unknown place, travelling with shamans in the Gobi Desert, playing with Oasis, collaborating with neuroscientists in Arizona, living for a week with absolutely nothing but what spectators chose to give him, co-ordinating grassroots activists in Soweto, being sealed in a box for ten days with no food or light, making a musical in a maximum security prison, re-designing Maidstone High Street, being a soloist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, bathing strangers, running seminars on democracy for monks in a Burmese monastery, making a radio telescope sing and dance, being locked in a Gothic Tower alone for forty days and nights, and even flying on a real magic carpet in Star City, Moscow.

Ansuman has shown work at many museums and galleries around the world, including, in London, Tate Modern, Whitechapel, ICA, and Saatchi Galleries. He played a leading role in developing new models of interdisciplinary collaboration at Hewlett-Packard’s research lab in Bangalore and has had artists residencies in South Africa, Burma, China, at the Headlands in San Francisco, and at the UK’s National Institute of Medical Research.

Ansuman is an Associate Artist at BAC, a trustee of Arts Catalyst, the science-art agency, and chair of Studio Upstairs, working with the Arts and Mental Health. He is also director of the Tagore Centre UK.

www.ansuman.com

Workshop 4: Berlin, April 2014

The fourth workshop takes place in Berlin at NGBK as part of the exhibition Tagore’s Post Office, curated by Grant Watson.

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Installation view, NGBK, Berlin, photo by Carla Cruz

 

(See the booklet Dakghar: Notes Towards Isolation and Recognition, published as part of Landings’ contribution to the exhibition)

Landings installation, NGBK Berlin

Landings ‘Dakghar: Notes Towards Isolation and Recognition’ , NGBK Berlin, photo by Winfried Mateyka

 

As well as a final workshop with members of the network there will be two public events at NGBK (download invite):

Friday 11 April 7pm:

Public talk by Elzbieta Walter introduced and chaired by Landings (Natasha Ginwala and Vivian Ziherl)

Despite the fact that Tagore never visited Poland, he is no doubt the only Indian writer whose writings have been extensively translated into Polish. The play Dakghar (The Post Office) has been translated into Polish five times by different translators. It was also staged several times. One of the most significant staging was conducted during the Second World War in Poland in Jewish Orphans’ Home in the Warsaw ghetto run by Janusz Korczak. Janusz Korczak was the pen name of Henryk Goldszmit (1878/79-1942), a Polish-Jewish educator, physician, children’s author and essayist. He organized a staging of Dakghar with the children of the orphanage just few weeks before several of them and he were deported to the concentration camp of Treblinka.

Elzbieta Walter is a Tagore scholar and literary theorist based in Poland, and an alumnus of Santiniketan.

Elzbieta, photo by Carla Cruz

Elzbieta Walter, photo by Carla Cruz

Saturday 12 April 7pm

Fragmenting Tagore

Public event with Anshuman Dasgupta, Ansuman Biswas and guest (Magda Mayas) and Adrian Rifkin.
Introduced by Andrea Phillips and Grant Watson.

Ansuman Biswas and Magda Meyer

Ansuman Biswas and Magda Mayas, NGBK, Berlin, photo by Carla Cruz

Anshuman Dasgupta: Translating Tagore: the problems and possibilities of attending to Tagore from another language and culture

Adrian Rifkin: Tagore seen seated: some others standing, a short speculation in composing the past-imperfect of the ‘post-colonial’, see video-documentation here.

Ansuman Biswas and guest: Parentheses on Truth, Beauty and Humanity; a live event based on the conversations between Einstein and Tagore which took place at Einstein’s house near Berlin in 1930

Anshuman Dasgupta is part of the teaching faculty in the Art History department in Kalabhavan, Santiniketan (Visva Bharati University)

Adrian Rifkin is Professor Emeritus of Art Writing, Goldsmiths, London

Ansuman Biswas is an artist, musician and Director of the Tagore Centre UK

[PDF] Notes from workshop 4 Berlin April 2014.

Otolith Group, NGBK, Berlin

Otolith Group,’s ‘A Century Before Us’ NGBK, Berlin, photo by Winfried Mateyka

See more photo documentation here

Workshop 3: London, March 2014

The third workshop takes place at Iniva and the Tagore Centre, London, March 2014.

SATURDAY 15 MARCH 12-6pm:
Institute of International Visual Arts, Rivington Place, Rivington St, London EC2A

photo by Carla Cruz

photo by Carla Cruz

12:00: Introduction – Andrea Phillips
12:30: Grant Watson and Andrea Phillips in conversation: learning from Santiniketan

13:15: Anjalika Sagar – notes on The Otolith Group Tagore film project
14:00: lunch
15:00: Wendelien van Oldenborgh – ideas of pedagogy and colonialism in Indonesia
watch video

COLLECTIE_TROPENMUSEUM_'De_heer_Soerjoadipoetro_houdt_een_voordracht_over_de_school_van_Tagore_voor_o.a._kwekelingen_van_het_Nationaal_Onderwijs_Instituut_'Taman_Siswa'_te_Bandung_Java'_TMnr_10002308

( COLLECTION_TROPENMUSEUM_’De heer Soerjoadipoetro houdt een voordracht over de school van Tagore voor o.a. kwekelingen van het Nationaal Onderwijs Instituut ‘Taman Siswa’ te Bandung Java’ (Mister Soerjoadipoetro is lecturing about the school of Tagore for a group of students who will become teachers in the National Educational Institute ‘Taman Siswa’, in Bandung, Java)

15:45: Anshuman Dasgupta – sound files from Santiniketan
16:30: Adrian Rifkin: Tagore in Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy: a reading
17:00: tea and general discussion
18:00: ends

IMG_7470

photo by Carla Cruz

SUNDAY 16 MARCH 11-2pm:
Tagore Centre, Alexandra Park Library, Alexandra Park Road, London N22 7UJ

Discussion of NGBK Tagore exhibition and the next workshop:
11:00: Introduction by Grant Watson
11.30: Introduction to NGBK by Antje Weitzel and Elke Falat
12:00: Discussion of exhibition design with Andreas Mueller
13:00: Presentation of research for exhibition by Vivian Ziherl (Landings)
13.30: general discussion
14:00: ends

[PDF] Notes from meeting 3

Photo documentation here

Workshop 1: London, November 2013

The first workshop takes place as part of the exhibition Anna Boghiguian & Goshka Macuga: Tagore’s Universal Allegories, curated by Grant Watson.

IMG_4115_W

photo by Ho, Yu-Sheng

The first session focused on the question: How we might understand Tagore’s legacy as relevant for contemporary art practice and curating? By this, we don’t mean to insist on a relation or any relevancy, but to use Tagore’s ideas (which might be understood to be futurological, as well as ideological and arcane) as a springboard to engage in discussions about contemporary curating and artistic practice.

[PDF] Notes from Workshop 1.
The workshop ended with a performance by Ansuman Biswas and guests

See the whole performance here.

Hear Grant Watson reading Anna Boghiguian’s letters to/from Tagore;
See the collection of pictures from the first meeting at Iniva, London;
Read the Rabindranath Tagore’s play ‘the post office’, presented on this first meeting by Natasha Ginwala;
See the short film ‘Rabindranath Tagore at Boulogne-Billancourt’, by Albert Kahn.
See Christian Nyampeta’s New Habits: prototypes