THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Queer artiste Mandeep Raikhy’s visit to Kochi coincides with an interesting set of events. With the state still reeling from the police brutality committed against the transgender community, Mandeep’s controversial production dissenting the criminalisation of homosexuality is bound to kickstart some heated debates.
“Queen-size is comprised of a series of short fragments that look at the bond shared by two male bodies in many different ways. From the delicate intimacy between fingertips to a more animal-like desire that plays out between a pelvis and a hip. In one fragment, the union of two bodies produces a four-legged, prehistoric creature, where intimacy can be seen less like a human experience but more like a life-form,” begins the 37-year-old, whose work is supported by several international platforms including Pro Helvetia- Swiss Arts Council.
Played out atop and around a charpoy, featuring two male artistes (Lalit Khatana and Parinay Mehra), Queen-size invites the audience into a private space, raising questions about voyeurism and spectatorship. Inspired by Nishit Saran’s article titled ‘Why My Bedroom Habits Are Your Business’ (Indian Express, January 2000), this two-year-old project features Tokyo-based sound designer Yasuhiro Morinaga’s score.
“The structure of our work allows the audience to enter and exit through the duration of the work.
This, I think, gives the audience the agency to choose whether they want to stay and watch, how long they want to watch, where they want to watch, etc,” explains Trinity Laban Conservatoire alumnus, when asked about his thoughts how such a performance will be received in Kerala. Despite being presented within the premise of a protest, Mandeep has been keen on balancing his work between the political and the aesthetic positions, while opening up new ways of seeing and performing. “In most places, we have had long conversations with audience members about love, intimacy, desire, voyeurism, morality, and rights,” says the artiste, trailing off.