Isipabbarabhumi is a Prakrit phrase from Jain cosmology referring to a special place above the heavens shaped like a parasol. It is where the disembodied souls of the perfected ones go to live in eternal isolation. There, sealed off from the rest of the cosmos, they are unable to interact with other souls, unable to hear them or be heard.
In this exhibition, a slightly curving place is to be found not at the apex of the universe but under an ambisonic dome of speakers. Here, an audience of listeners might gather to sense a past they cannot hear. The sound that arrives is a record of sound as it was. Elsewhere, on projection screens, the body of a dancer rotates in one direction, as it makes an image of time that turns in another.
Centered around a multi-authored audio play and a video installation, the exhibition responds to propositions opened up by Umashankar Manthravadi in his practice as a self-taught acoustic archaeologist. It brings together writers, choreographers, composers, actors, dancers, musicians, field recordists and sound, light, and graphic designers who engage and transform each other’s work.
The ambisonic dome, which comprises 21 speakers and produces a three-dimensional sound field, has been provided by the Audio Communication Group, Technische Universität Berlin.
A volume accompanying the exhibition will be published by archive books in September 2020.
The exhibition is realized in collaboration with and with contributions by
Umashankar Manthravadi, Bani Abidi, Mojisola Adebayo, Vinit Agarwal, Sukhesh Arora, Anurima Banerji, Lilia Di Bella, Moushumi Bhowmik, Arunima Chatterjee, Madhuri Chattopadyay, Padmini Chettur, Emese Csornai, Padma Damodaran, Hugo Esquinca, Jenifer Evans, Eunice Fong, Tyler Friedman, Janardan Ghosh, Brooke Holmes, Alexander Keefe, Sukanta Majumdar, Robert Millis, Farah Mulla, Rita Sonal Panjatan, Ayaz Pasha, TJ Rehmi, RENU, Uzma Z. Rizvi, Sara, Yashas Shetty, The Travelling Archive, Maarten Visser and others.