The artist from Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, was both perplexed and curious. Despite being a cosmopolitan city, Kochi has Malayalam as the predominant mainland language. So, what has come of the languages of other communities that have settled here?
It was then that Sanchayan Ghosh, who has put up his installation ‘Incomplete Circles - Invisible Voices’ at the Kuchi-Muziris Biennale, stumbled upon the idea of developing an inter-language sound game. Even alien words can be connected through sound, he argues.
“As many as 24 communities migrated to the city since the coming of the Arabs, the most recent being the Kashmiris. I was curious about their oral traditions and the possibility of a meeting point for different languages,” said 42-year-old Ghosh, associate professor at the department of painting, Kala Bhavan, Visva-Bharati.
“In a multi-cultural milieu, there is an inherent danger that the languages of smaller communities could lose their identity. In a hypothetical manner, I am trying to explore the notion of self-determination and an element of loss in a multi-cultural situation. I thought of exploring it in a workshop-like situation where people can come and playfully interact,” he pointed out.
Ghosh, who has put up his sound installation behind Cochin Club in Fort Kochi, has been doing this experiment in the north-east for the last three years where different communities live together. His inspiration comes from the renowned artist Badal Sircar, who was an exponent of alternative theatre, known as the Third Theatre.
“In particular, I am inspired by Badal Sircar’s workshops which involve organic participation and interaction through games designed for skill development. Through the concept, I found the potential for a lot of possibilities. These games could be shared in an inter-cultural and multi-cultural context, particularly in our city where different cultures and communities co-exist,” he said.