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Audiogyan (founded in 2016) is a collection of conversations with luminaries of the Indian creative world. It’s a passion project to document thoughts and ideas of Indian designers, artists, musicians, writers, thinkers, and luminaries of the creative world.


29: What is curation? with Ram Rahman

I love this book called "What is art and 100 other very important questions." by Ernst Billgren. One of the questions his book is, "Who decides whether art is good or not?" and then he has a nice format for the answer. "Short Answer: Glenn D. Lowry. " And then a long answer. "Quality is a moniker for what the people you respect, appreciate. Even if you do not agree with them, there are those who you perceive as authorities in the field on account of their expertise, their position, or the respect they enjoy among their peers. Subsequently, what is considered geniality changes as those people are substituted? The Pre-Rafaelites were considered the best things that had happened in the art world, but well into the twentieth century nobody defended them any longer and their work was automatically devalued as passé. The paintings themselves did not change over time. Quality is a relative term in a similar way as Time (which feels absolute in the present moment)."

Why am I talking about who decides whether art is good or not? - Today I have Ram Rahman with us on Audiogyan who needs no introduction. But just for formality, Ram is a photographer, curator, designer, activist, and a noted contemporary artist based in Delhi.

With such a large body of work, it is impossible to document even a fraction of his thoughts, ideologies, and philosophies. However, I have decided to have a conversation around what is curation.

Welcome Ram to Audiogyan it's a real honor to have you on the show.

What is curation? with Ram Rahman.

How old is a concept of curation? What made us do that?

Why do we have galleries? What qualifies to be in a gallery? What qualifies to be worth the collection? On what metrics does a curator work?

History is told by the rulers. How do you differentiate truth versus mythic truth? Especially in India where there are so many Ramayanas? Also, it is so difficult to exclude any part of history, especially with India’s pluralistic and diverse culture. What are your thoughts on this?

What is your definition of unique or being iconic to a particular time? How has that definition of, one-of-a-kind changed in the last 30-40 years? How stable is this concept of uniqueness in this changing world?

Recently, there has been a growing interest in the time period when your father’s practice was at its peak. You have spoken, written, and exhibited extensively on the works of architects, designers, and cultural producers of this time. Why this time important to understand?

Do you think we as humans are worried we will forget? What is the long term future of museums, galleries, or for that matter, the paintings you've done and photos you have taken? Overall art in India?

Before we sign off, I want to thank Ruturaj Parikh from Matter. This Audiogyan episode is in association with Matter. Matter is an independent publishing house, a group of practicing architects who also deeply care about archiving content in the architecture space. Matter in based on Goa. Link and more details are in the show notes.

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