How to work together? Extended notes on collaboration How to work together? Extended notes on collaboration

How to work together? Extended notes on collaboration

podcast series as collaboration between PLATFORM and Museum of Impossibe Forms

The ‘How to Work Together?’ podcast series is a culmination of the first collaboration between PLATFORM X Museum of Impossible Forms in 2020. These podcasts and conversations, under the umbrella of collaboration, are infused with the possibilities and limits of location identity and practice. They discuss desires of working together, outline ecologies of collaboration, and para-institutional community-led praxis as a primary aim and processual goal.

"The word collaborate comes from Latin roots. Words beginning with the prefix col- means together, implying doing something together. The root word laborare, also from Latin, gives us many of the English words used to talk about careers and work. In fact, the word labour comes from this root word. Putting the two Latin parts of this word together, the word literally means “to work together”.

Today, Collaboration is at the core of any artistic, curatorial, choreographic, literary, or activist work, fundamentally transforming the ways in which we think of each of these fields of work both individually as well as collectively. This is especially true of the Finish arts and cultural fields, where a collaboration oriented ecology is actively constructed, one that favours community-based and community-led practices over individual or studio-based working methodologies.

And yet, many of us whether separately or collectively, have confided, shared, or spoken out, about the difficult and precarious conditions in which most of us as artists and cultural workers continue to work. Most often our working conditions are exacerbated rather than relieved by the conditions of competition that frame the ecology of our art and cultural fields, whether competitions of resources, attention, spaces to exhibit, or grants. These conditions of competition exist across visual, literary, music and sound, cinematic, conceptual/ contemporary, and other forms of arts, as well as within social, political, and activism based workings; and in many ways ties us together as fellow-competitors, despite our collective wish to work together as friends, collaborators, and like-minded individuals.

These twin conditions of working together, yet pitted against each other as competitors for resources and recognition is a distinct feature of the Finnish Art world and require further discussion."

Episode 01: Shubhangi Singh

Ali Akbar Mehta · Episode 01: Shubhangi Singh

Shubhangi Singh’s practice as a visual artist and filmmaker responds to contemporary politics and the interconnectedness of production and reproduction of popular everyday material. Her works often draw upon existing knowledges to address movement, identity and queries related to the gendered body and its relationship with the public sphere. She works across the media, ranging from text to moving images and site-specific installations.

Singh’s works have been shown at the Whitechapel Gallery (London), 33rd Rakkautta ja Anarkiaa (Helsinki), Third Space (Helsinki), 28th Festival Les Instants Video (Milan, Italy), BideoDromo, International Experimental Film and Video Festival (Bilbao, Spain), 8th Cairo Video Festival (Cairo, Egypt), Experimental Film, Audio and Performance Festival (Florianópolis, Brazil), IDSFFK (Kerala, India) and Athens Digital Art Festival (Athens, Greece) amongst other venues.

Singh (b.1984, Mumbai) is the co-founder of New City Limits, an initiative to facilitate creative viewing and practice in Navi Mumbai, India and a member in the steering committee of MAA-Tila Gallery, Helsinki. She holds a Master’s degree in Visual Cultures, Curating and Contemporary Art from Aalto University and currently lives and works in Helsinki.

Episode 02: Zahrah Ehsan

Ali Akbar Mehta · Episode 02: Zahrah Ehsan

Zahrah Ehsan is a visual artist from Lahore, Pakistan and is currently based in Espoo, Finland. In 2020, she completed a degree of Master of Arts in Visual Cultures, Curating and Contemporary Arts from Aalto University, Finland. Zahrah is currently a participant of the Academy of Moving People and Images for the years 2021-2022. She received her Bachelors of Fine Arts with Honours in 2012, with a concentration in Painting from the National College of Arts, Pakistan. Zahrah’s practice is deeply experimental including scavenged materials from industry, popular culture, and utility incorporating it into her paintings, on-site installations, video art that is mostly a critique on the notions of gender, adaptation and identity, mental health and types of artistic and everyday labour. Zahrah’s visual art practice has recently pivoted to encompass hair and makeup artistry that has led me to be an aspiring hair and makeup artist; serving as a method to engage with the concept of maintenance art and labour that makes up infrastructures of care in the society that she inhabits.

Episode 03: Surabhi Nadig

Ali Akbar Mehta · Episode 03: Surabhi Nadig

Surabhi Nadig is an aspiring creative writer and sustainability journalist, for whom sustainability of social and environmental importance is the defining issue of our times. She is interested in the interconnectedness of culture, economics, and politics of sustainability.

Her academic background in journalism and psychology, diverse field experiences in wildlife conservation and agriculture, and her current design education have given me a holistic and transdisciplinary perspective of challenging global design issues and how to approach them. Pursuing a Master of Arts in Creative Sustainability has helped her develop as a designer, equipped with design tools and methodologies to embark on a professional journey.

Episode 04: Vishnu Vardhani Rajan

Ali Akbar Mehta · Episode 04 Vishnu Vardhani Rajan

Vishnu Vardhani Rajan (born and raised in Hyderabad, India) is a Body-Philosopher and Performance Artist based in Helsinki. A hyphenated identity, multidisciplinary practices, building connections between art, science, witchcraft, history and cultures define them. Vishnu explores shame, through dance, acting and stand-up comedy. Oscillating between cultures, methodologies and sexual identities, each different from the other are instrumental in their visual language. Their everyday practice is rooted in an ongoing investigation of sensory experience. Sleep, conflict, nutrition are their research interests. Night politics, conflict and food are recurring themes in their work. Vishnu’s persona Vamp Master Brown is the first Indian Drag King in Helsinki. They intend to blend their love of Cinema, passion for filmmaking with their ongoing practices, to achieve a new language in storytelling. They aim to embody the depth and breadth of Affect Theory. They are currently re-reading Pleasure Activism, and reading Xenogenesis.

*These podcasts are a series of discussions between Ali Akbar Mehta and the artists-in-residence of the 2020 PLATFORM residency, as well as with members of the Museum of Impossible Forms and PLATFORM; and is launched during the 20 years of Platform festival.