Interview with Deepak Srinivasan

Parallele Welten: What‘s the Tree Festival itself?

Deepak Srivinasan: Bangalore’s history is tied to trees but nobody is really aware about the cultural and the historical aspects of natural heritage. Trees mean a lot for everyone connected to the city in terms of identity. The sudden growth of the city causes the authorities to run over private and public property and widening the old planted roads, getting of the trees. The numbers of old Bangalory who has been living here for twenty years are incredible low and accordingly the memories of what was. That are starting points for us to conceptualize the festival. It’s a larger network of Artist, ecologists, musicians and tree-enthusiasts. We create a space for conversation. We are trying to find creative ways of protest which will involve more and more people, to allow them to see differently and become a part.

PW: What means Citizenship in India?

DS: Only It becomes evident in time of political elections in India. If things are going wrong politicaly class groups which have all the facilities might talk about it but they don’t necessarily see it impacting citizenship. Academics NGO’s and artists - the intellectuals of the society are the ones who more directly deal with the question of citizenship. Other groups are not really connected to it. The discourse is stuck in this sort of English speaking world. In the post colonial sense in of the divided India it becomes a divided sense of public.

PW: How are you trying to reach communities?

DS: We wanted to be more local in terms of the languages that we’re communicating in. So we want to take some of the content back into more local and originally spaces. It has also to be done out of the rich tradition of the left using culture in protest using propaganda. People have to engage with new material which is not symbolic. Aesthetics becomes important in the process. You can‘t be an activist without bringing an aesthetic. We have always been thinking in images. When the public really engages it’s not only about that cognitive rational sense of what should be right and wrong or what is democratic. The Indian public is connected to the image. We need to actively bring back the image and image making and thinking about images. It’s all about compensation and communication and fighting ignorance.

PW: what is your role as an artist?

DS: I‘m critical of activism and art and the ways it function in the city. We really need a new way of imagining this in between characters. It’s not so much of a role of an artist is much more of a facilitator of dialog.

Deepak Srinivasan - performance artist, media practitioner & researcher, founder of the Neralu Begaluru Tree Festival 2014

Published in Stadtkunst Kunststadt