BENGALURU: With the Lok Sabha elections right around the corner, almost every second conversation one has is centred about the current political scenario. While discussions are many, some get out of control, says Vivek Chockalingam, who is the curator of ‘Exist’, an upcoming art and performance gathering. The event, which showcases various art forms such as films, stand-up comedy and plays, aims to initiative a conversation about the political system, governance and social issues.
“Many people might be looking for safe places to talk about what’s on their mind. The show tries to look at how one can deal with extreme viewpoints shared on social media,” he says. While some might think that the show is against the right wing, Chockalingam points out that it doesn’t necessarily mean that the performers or organisers are leftists or incline more towards Congress. “People are quick to jump the gun and label you an anti-national if you mention you have a friend from Pakistan or say anything against the right wing. I just want to exercise my rights and freely express my views,” he explains.
Art as social justice
Chockalingam firmly believes that art has always been expressive about political and social injustice, and artistes are often the first group of people to show solidarity. “Filmmakers and artistes have been the first people to speak out in case of any injustice. Artistes do not have any agenda, they just express their views. We need more people to speak boldly,” he says.
The show is called ‘Exist’ to indicate that citizens are part of the system and should be able to criticise political leaders. Chockalingam hopes the show will be able to raise questions such as what options citizens have apart from voting for two major parties – BJP and Congress. “We are not trying to find a solution. We have some independent candidate contesting from their respective constituencies and that’s an interesting option to look at,” he says.
Stand-up comedians will lighten the mood to prevent the discussion from getting too intense. Besides this, a student and activist led team from Delhi will stage a play that covers important events since the partition. Fearing violent reactions to the show, Chockalingam is hopeful that since the event will be taking place on the same street alongside the CM’s house, cops will always be around to step in if need be.
Chockalingam is raising funds on a crowdfunding platform Ketto.org to cover the expenses of the production. He hopes to raise Rs 35,000 as he says the event is not ticketed. “I am looking for funds to cover logistics such as the projector at the studio and travel expenses for the theatre artistes from Delhi,” he says. The platform has already raised over Rs 9,500.
The event will be held on April 13 at Walkin Studios, JP Nagar.