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[Sarai Newsletter] Sarai Newsletter 04
Table of Contents
1.Call For Proposals
2.IT and Civil Liberties Meeting Report
4.Translation Unit At Sarai
5.Writing the City
7.New @ Sarai Website
i) Ravi Vasudevan essay on Satyajit Ray
ii) CameraWorking: Cinematography Project
iii) Digital Art: Renu Aiyar
iv) Readerlist Archive Link
vi)Review on Sarai
1. Call For Proposals
Sarai is a public initiative of media practitioners and scholars
looking at media cultures and urban life. It is a programme of the
Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi. For more
information check our website www.sarai.net
Print Media Fellowships
We are offering three print media fellowships to write on the urban
experience. Sarai would encourage the fellows to report upon concerns
such as new and old media, environment, informal labour, spatial
transformations, travel and domesticity while examining relationships
between people, practices and spaces. These themes are indicative
rather than exhaustive and fellows will be free to examine other
facets of the contemporary everyday urban experience.
Fellows would be expected to pursue a particular story/ theme or
report on a particular locality over a ten-month period.The medium of
expression can be either English or Hindi. A maximum amount of Rs.
10,000/- per month (over a ten month period) will be awarded for each
We are looking for people with an ability to critically investigate
daily life in cities and towns, with a strong field-work component.
People with a background in print and writing are preferred.
Sarai would like to encourage innovative research and practices
concerning the contemporary urban and media experiences. We invite
artists, media practitioners, journalists and scholars to reflect upon
the forms and practices through which these experiences are manifest,
with a view to developing a critical framework for further research.
Sarai's interests are in the field of old and new media, cinema,
environment, language and art, with a strong commitment to making
knowledge available in the public domain. Grantees are however
encouraged to pursue other lines of enquiry that have a bearing upon
the urban and media experiences.
The seed grants may be used to develop larger proposals, enquiries
that are not conventionally possible, interesting ideas that could
flow into other initiatives.
The seed grants would be available for up to six months and for a
maximum amount of Rs. 60,000.
Sarai supports innovative and inventive modes of rendering work into
the Public Domain. Proposals which pay attention to this will be
Last date for submission: August 30 2001.
There are no application forms. Simply post your
- proposal (approximately 1000 words)
- a brief workplan
- updated CVs
- work samples (maximum two)
- envelopes should be marked attention Print Media Fellowships OR Seed
which ever applicable.
[Email proposals will not be entertained]
Mail these to Saumya Gupta, Coordinator, Programme and Research,
Sarai, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, 29 Rajpur Road,
Delhi 110054, India.
2. Report on the Meeting on Civil Liberties, the Internet and
Electronic Surveillance at Sarai
An exploratory meeting to discuss the ramifications of the new IT and
Information related laws, regulations and other aspects of
information-politics for civil liberties was held at Sarai on the 15th
of June, 2001. Those attending included people associated with the
Linux Users Group, Peoples Union for Democratic Rights, Mind Bend
Collective, OneWorld.Org and the Centre for Science and Environment.
The meeting began with a presentations by Sarai on the emerging regime
of surveillance in India and then moved on to an open discussion.
The meeting discussed the new surveillance online and offline
mechanisms being put into place in India within a broader framework of
information as a tool of power and a site of resistance. The proposed
schemes to construct
'citizen databases' and introduce multi-purpose identity cards and
other tagging mechanisms that are currently being tried out were also
looked into. The issue of whether 'Privacy' was a relevant issue in an
Indian context also came up for debate.
An interesting thread of discussion that emerged in the context of
'hacking' was as to whether the right to free expression could be held
as being of greater significance than the right to property.
Those present at the meeting agreed that there is a great need for
creating tools for awareness about information politics. Amongst the
suggestions offered were the setting up of an online resource where
materials relevant to Information Politics and Civil Liberties could
be collected and commented upon, gathering and generating articles for
the mainstream press, and the creation of illustrated pamphlets or
comic books on the issues to attract the attention of a lay audience.
It was also agreed by those present that we need to lay the ground for
a public meeting on information politics and civil liberties,
preferably in the university, perhaps as a starting point for a future
public campaign on the issue.
This will be an ongoing concern with Sarai. We will welcome responses,
comments, or anything else that you may want to report on this. Please
address them to the reader-list@xxxxxxxxx, or write to
3. Inviting Coding Collaboration
Sarai invites anyone interested in coding to collaborate with us in
creating 'social software '(for want of a better term!).
As you are aware, a primary outreach programme of Sarai is the
Cybermohalla project. Cybermohalla is a project that is primarily
trying to develop a computing culture within non-elite social spaces.
Our first experimental lab has been set in the LNJP basti (between
Ajmeri gate and Delhi gate).
This is one of our projects that will benefit a lot of people and
especially demands addressing by programmers. Some possible areas of
collaboration will include developing network based collaborative
tools, programming tools for beginners, games reflecting our
conditions and environment, a good Hindi desktop and a database interface.
What interests us is that in collaboration we can create possible
approaches and possibilities that will facilitate the establishment of
an interesting computing culture. A culture that speaks to a wider
audience by creating social software .All the software that will be
generated will be put under GPL and we would be very keen to support a
long term development plan for each/any of these softwares.
If there are any other suggestions and ideas, we would be happy to
begin joint thought on those as well. Student projects are especially
welcome. Please mail any queries to jeebesh@xxxxxxxxx
4. Translation Unit At Sarai
In order to engage with a wider audience, we are setting up a
translation unit at Sarai. This unit will primarily work on a
freelance basis to create Hindi texts on the themes and concerns of
Sarai (the experience of the urban space, media practice, films,
issues of technology, and free software ).
Sarai invites interested translators to join us in this endeavour. The
idea is to build a community of people working for a long term. The
work is expected to generate ideas, issues and challenges that we
can address through workshops and seminars. The contributions in terms
of new coinage, etc. will add to the richness of the Lexical resource
Project at Sarai.
The work will be made available in the public domain through the Sarai
website and syndicated columns/features in the mainstream print media.
Overtime these writings will form the core of a Sarai Reader on
Technology and Media in Hindi.
For details about remuneration and terms and conditions, write to
5. Writing the City
As part of its on going creative engagement with urban culture. Sarai,
invites writers to reflect on urban space on its website
www.sarai.net. While Sarai, being located in Delhi, India, is
especially interested in writing on Delhi itself, it is also open to
reflections on cities elsewhere, and on the city as a generic global
form of cohabitation.
We are looking for subjective encounters with the city that also
happen to transcend and transgress genres. We are particularly keen to
provide a space for experimental and hypertextual forms of writing,
that utilise the unique non-linear narrative possibilities and
opportunities of dispersed or collaborative authorship that are
opened out by the Internet.
This focus on 'writing the city' will work in tandem with a series of
explorations of experimental writing activities that will be hosted
soon at Sarai through workshops and collaborative/online writing
projects. We hope that these activities can mature into a regular
electronic discussion list on "Writers, Writing and the City".
For a more detailed account, read the "Street Signs" invitation to
write on the city as well as three new pieces on living in the city by
Hansa Thapliyal (Mumbai), Shuddhabrata Sengupta (Sarai) and Sampurna
Chatterji (Mumbai) on the Sarai web site.
6. Picturepost List
Sarai has started a new list, called the Sarai PicturePost List
(picturepost@xxxxxxxxx). In principle, the idea is to begin a forum
where images are exchanged and discussed amongst the people on the
list, and cause as much excitement or consternation as the text
discussions do. These images could be personal work, or material that
you found interesting on the web. These could be photos, images,
illustrations, drawings, posterdesigns, cartoons or critical/
reflective commentaries. Basically, the main packet being sent has to
be the image, and along with your personal annotation/ comments or
notes as well.
We plan to collate some of the original work that is posted on this
list and publish it on our website. Also, all these images and the
discussion will be a part of the Sarai Archive and will create a
critical imagebank that will be available in the public domain.
We realise that the process of sending photographs can be a little
difficult for some people, but we are happy to provide advice and
virtual help. Basically there will be a limit of 120k on the size of
your image. In case of images picked from the web, there is no
problem, as those images are always scaled down. (For those who wish
to download images from the web: rightclick on the image, save it on
your hard disk, and then attach that image to the email you are
sending the Picturepost List). If however, you are sending an image
that is your own, please scale it down - even though the quality loss
will hurt! Please try to send jpeg, gif or png files, and please avoid
tiff and bmp formats.
To join the list, please go to
http://mail.sarai.net/mailman/listinfo/picturepost or email at
7. New @ Sarai Website
i) Ravi Vasudevan: Nationhood, Authenticity and Realism in Indian
cinema: The Double Take of Modernism in the Work of Satyajit Ray
Ravi Vasudevan's article on Satyajit Ray is an invitation to reflect
upon an earlier time in modern Indian history.
'The political transition to independence was interrogated in various
ways by the cinema of the time. The period was seen as a momentous
one, and there was considerable debate about how images and sounds
could capture the intricate passages and negotiate the
larger pressures and sensorial wonder of a rapidly transforming world.
With Ray, we can discern an endeavour to develop an insistent politics
of memory, in which the onward momentum of modern experience could not
afford to relegate past worlds. ...'
Comments, responses to the article are welcome. Please post them to
ii) CameraWorking: Cinematography Project
If you are curious about how images in cinema are created and about
the tangled histories of cinema technology and individual curiosity,
then you can find a new space on the Sarai website to satisfy your
curiosities. We have a new section called 'Cameraworking: Materials
for the History of Cinematographic Practice in India' - about the
shadowy world of all those who work with light, behind the camera .
'Cameraworking' is an collection of interviews with veteran and
working cameramen, texts, archival photographs and other resources on
the history of cinematographic practice in India. The collection is a
first ever compilation of valuable oral histories of the making of
some of the finest visual moments in the history of Indian Cinema.
Here you will find first person accounts by V.K. Murthy, Jaywant
Pathare, Jal Mistry, Soumendy Roy, and a host of other cameramen about
their lives, their work, their relationship to technology and their
favourite moments in cinema.
This collection emerged out of a five year long research and
documentation project on the history and practice of cinematography in
India undertaken by Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata
Sengupta of the Raqs Media Collective, Delhi with C.K. Muralidharan of
Cinematographers Combine, Mumbai. The project received support from
the India Foundation for the Arts, Bangalore.
iii) Digital Art: Identity - back? forward? search? STOP?
Renu Iyer from Mumbai presents her digital work on identity and
iv) Readerlist Archive Link
Go straight to the ReaderList Archive from the Sarai home page, or go
to the You&Sarai section of the Community page
v) Film@ Sarai
Easy to access listing of the Sarai Film Series from the Sarai home
page, or go to the Calendar page
vi) Review on Sarai
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