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Surajit Sarkar discussed his work with the A Deep Fried Jam trio and the community art initiative in India the Catapult Arts Caravan in relation to the media consumption in India.
Surajit Sarkar lives in New Delhi, India. He has held positions as varied as photocopier salesman, bank officer, primary school teacher and developer of curriculum for primary school children and teachers alike. Since 1991, he has worked with video, at first in mainstream television writing and directing a highly successful weekly science & tech program on Indian national TV network. He moved to documentary film making, and has worked on subjects ranging from agriculture, education and the uneven costs of ‘development’. A number of these have been recognized nationally and internationally and have won prizes in film festivals in India and abroad.
Since 2001, Sarkar has worked as a video artist for theatre and dance stage productions. He has collaborated with groups like the Peoples Theatre Forum (Jan Natya Manch), Mobile Creches (for construction workers), Ninasam theatre school, the Tribal Farm and Fishery Workers association of Central India and others. He is a founding member of the A Deep Fried Jam trio, which has played at the National Drama Festival, Delhi; House of World Cultures, Berlin; the Prithvi Festival, Mumbai, and the Other Festival, Chennai. Since June 2004, he has been a founding member of the Catapult Arts Caravan.
The Catapult Arts Caravan initiative has catalyzed public participation in civic debate in India by using video and the arts to articulate common and local concerns around water, forest and land. Travelling from small town to village, and performing/exhibiting in public spaces in the tradition of the traveling performer of an earlier era, the Caravan is an effort to re-appropriate community spaces within which a community can represent itself to itself and to others and provoke discussion. Working with social and political activist groups and non-governmental organizations, the Caravan is a collaboration with local songwriters and musicians, videographers and theatre actors, painters and storytellers, who pool their talents together to create a two hour public performance in the region they live in and are familiar with. Designed into the show is a public discussion on the concerns and themes that the artists are articulating.
Tags: video, Upgrade!, social, popular culture, performance, middle-east, critique, collaboration, activism