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VA Colloquium: Lensing India’s Modernization | Dr. Ranu Roychoudhuri | 17 April 2023 | 11:50 AM

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Department of Visual Arts

invites you to 

Colloquium Series 

(Spring 2023)


Professor (Dr.) Ranu Roychoudhuri

Assistant Professor, Performing and Visual Arts, Ahmedabad University

Monday 17 April 2023,  11:50 AM to 1:20 PM, Venue: AC04-303 (LR) 

Lensing India’s Modernization 

Focusing on the industrial scapes made by former Communist Party of India (CPI) photographer Sunil Janah (1918–2012) and Magnum photographer Werner Bischof (1916–1954), this paper underscores how visual representations of the complex human-machine relationship in the heavy industries conditioned the idea of nation building in a newly independent India. These images celebrated the monumentality of heavy industries and the human capacity to exploit fossil fuels and their then-unseen climate consequences towards fast-paced industrial growth and development. Simultaneously, the centrality of human experience allowed these photographs to critique such industrialization by emphasizing the dehumanization associated with it. Indeed, creative exchange with globally circulating visual idioms of machine aesthetics allowed them to represent the specificity of India’s industrial modernization and its predicaments. Together with their print histories, these photographs draw attention to material processes, visual politics, and formal concerns that mark the genre of industrial photography and mid-twentieth-century experiments within the field.

Dr. Ranu Roychoudhuri is an Assistant Professor of Performing and Visual Arts at the School of Arts and Sciences, Ahmedabad University. Her research focuses on modern and contemporary art in South Asia with an emphasis on photography, print history, intellectual histories of art, art historiography, and postcolonial studies. She has published in peer-reviewed journals, edited volumes, and art magazines, and her research has been supported by the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA), Yale Institute of Sacred Music, and several centers at The University of Chicago from where she received her doctoral degree. She curated shows for private and public institutions and taught in the US and Indian higher education institutions.

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