Kush Badhwar

Flora, Osmania University Campus. Date and photographer unknown.

Rain Trees

(Enterlobium Samam)

Rain Trees (Enterlobium Samam) takes its name from the mention of the species in a small volume written on the history of Osmania University in Hyderabad, India. The volume is one that largely effaces the politics that has taken place in the university campus over a number of generations that, amongst other things, contributed to the formation of Telangana, India’s 29th and newest state, in 2014.

The background for Rain Trees commences from a period of research around archives, libraries and personal collections of material around the formation of the state of Telangana, following one of India’s longest ongoing political movements. In the course of this research, Kush Badhwar chanced upon and found himself in the possession of a collection of materials of a professor of ancient Indian history and archaeology. The close proximity to and difference in narrativity between the professor’s material and the formation of the state forms the basis for research, representation, image and narrative making to act upon the possibilities that extend from state formation.

India’s newest state, Telangana, has now been in existence for over six years. Over this period, particular narratives are entering sites such as libraries and museums or transferring into forms such as statues and school curriculum, while others are being left out. The relationship between the political desire for the new state and the situation post-statehood is not one-to-one. The present moment is particularly critical for narratives in this area to be researched, explored and acted-upon to broaden histories being written at this nascent moment of the state at which point various aspects are in the process of unfolding, being figured out or failing to live up to promise.

Due to the passing of time, there is often a loss of reference to the concrete in the professor’s materials. In many instances, images give themselves to reading only via conjecture and imagination, which permeates this proposal as much as it may any further reading, research or production. This conjecture and imagination contains the potential to open up new possible social and political histories of the past, the present moment and the future. For the Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen fellowship period, I am interested in working with the professor’s material as part of a process to construct narratives that seek to create tension with histories that are currently unfolding.

(Text source: Kush Badhwar)

Kush BADHWAR is an artist and filmmaker operating across media, art, cinematic and other social contexts. He is interested in the ecology of sound and image across stretches of time and political change. He believes in the potential of research and collectivity. To this end, he has worked closely with wala, Word Sound Power, Frontyard Projects and Khanabadosh.

Selected screening or exhibition of his work includes at Addis Video Art Festival, the Flaherty Seminar, Tallinn Photomonth Biennale, Five Million Incidents, Experimenta Bangalore, Sarai Reader 09, Videobrasil, and Forum Expanded, Berlinale. He has also undertaken Pad.ma’s Fellowship for Experiments with Video Archives and India Foundation of the Arts Archival Fellowship.