of the Gods' The Printed Image and Political Struggle in India christopher pinney 'Photos of the Gods' 'Phot. Author: Christopher Pinney DOWNLOAD PDF. establishes anthropologist Christopher Pinney as one of the leading scholars of popular visual practices in India. In Photos of the Gods, Pinney traces the. “Photos of the Gods”; The Printed Image and Political Struggle in India – Christopher Pinney. Frank Korom. Boston University. Search for more.
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Printed and bound in Hong Kong British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Pinney, Christopher 'Photos of the Gods': the printed image and political. Request PDF on ResearchGate | On Jul 1, , Frank Korom and others published "Photos of the Gods"; The Printed Image and Political Christopher Pinney. Photos of the Gods is the first comprehensive history of Indiaâ€™s popular visual affirm what Christopher Pinney has called "corpothetics": the ways aesthetic.
This moral A hali is a ploughman, a bonded laborer tied to a panic operates at three levels: first, news media higher- status employing household on whom the bombard their consumers with stories about sim- hali is economically dependent. Second, there is female , who are liable to thrash unpredictably. In this conflict ghorlas seemed to readily episodes under the guise of moral condemnation.
In the village higher castes denied their sha- plicity in reporting this avalanche of scandals and manistic citizenship, but the camera ofered a sub- reproducing as documents its accompanying visual junctive validation of their claims. The camera, as evidence. While mobiles with cameras the new photographic technics of hypervisibility. Indian-administered Kashmir of camcorders as an A powerful moral panic is sustained in the alternative to guns. Sab ka brastachaar nanga ho jaata hai Economist, October 11, , Retinal scans collected during Aadhaar enrollment in Madhya Pradesh.
This was the same protean eur Alert! The tripod regime produced hundreds of similar such stories that have looded regime-friendly images; citizen cameras roaming the Indian press in recent years. This system will The Tehelka X-ray and the sordid aspects of eventually attach a twelve- digit number to a facial MMS- ography return us to the dichotomy with photograph, retinal scans, and inger- and thumb- which we started.
One route to understand- without this twelve- digit number. And yet every In- ing this particularization, this willing embrace of dian I know who is not a cynical academic warmly the necessity of making oneself visible to the state, embraces this impending event.
Their self- willed lies in the persistent discourses around state blind- interpellation into the state promises a freedom ness that have emerged in recent anticorruption through visibility.
As one low- paid laborer in agitations. Citizen- produced imagery associated whom I had hoped to ind evidence of subaltern with the Anna Hazare movement, which morphed resistance told me, once he has his number he will into the Aam Admi Party, repeatedly conjured an be able to travel the whole length of India without image of a state blind to the injustices suffered rok-tok obstacles, or obstructions.
“Photos of the Gods”; The Printed Image and Political Struggle in India – Christopher Pinney
Indeed the common slogan was that new tripod regime? Smaller and faster economy of sight. In choosing to see only the bene- apparatuses seems to generate not a contractual its of Aadhaar, rather than its potentially huge dis- utopia but in the case of MMS- ography its op- ciplinary capability, Indians might be understood posite: a contract-free dystopic exploitation of the to be seeking the rectiication of an imbalance in private facilitated by new digital platforms and the the distribution of the visible in ways that would protection of anonymity.
It starts with the two not quite coincident a citizenship of proper entitlement and free pas- dates and and proceeds via smaller and sage expresses a desire for a new form of contract faster apparatuses toward increasing citizen power. I hope I have made clear that her model illumi- Recall that the sarpanch of Bhandarez vilage, nates a good deal of nineteenth- and twentieth- the village in Rajasthan that had banned girls from century struggles over photography in India.
Its trajectory starts to describe a loop a fu- mobile phones and also scarves which helps in hid- sion of a helix with a Mobius loop. In the twenty- ing identity. The scarf and the phone are incarnated here as technics of disguise that allow free movement under the surveillance of the tripod regime.
The Coming of Photography in India. Agamben, Giorgio. Translated by Daniel Heller-Roazen. Stanford, Portman, M. Stanford University Press, The Burden of Representation: Essays on Photog- The Civil Contract of Photography.
New millan, York: Zone, Camera Lucida: Relections on Photography.
Basing- Translated by Richard Howard. Wang, Bayly, C. Cambridge: Cambridge Uni- versity Press, Dumont, Louis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Gujarat Provincial Congress Committee.
Ahmedabad: Gujarat Provincial Congress Commit- tee, Hariman, Robert, and John Lucaites. Horniman, B. This may have been established by one Amar Nath Shaha, who is credited as the publisher of a Ganesh litho. Other studios active in the s included Chitra-Shilpi Co. By T. The patterns of influence are complex and, given the extreme difficulty of precisely dating pats and woodcuts, perhaps insoluble. Prostrate India was made to listen to lectures — delivered at public meetings held in the Western manner — on politics, sociology, the freedom of women and widow-marriage.
But the feeling of frustration and despair, instead of lessening, grew stronger. The railway, the telegraph and other products of Western civilization came into use; but these did not mend matters, because all such innovations could neither touch nor stimulate the ideals on which the life of the land depended. Since the proper remedy was not applied, the disease could not be cured. How could India, whose soul was religion, be brought to life if her religion was not resuscitated?
This revolt was most clearly crystallized around Ramakrishna and would find a very precise articulation in the writing of one of his followers, Swami Saradananda Sarat Chandra Chakravarty : There arose a clamour on all sides that there never had been a national life in India; that although, thanks to the West, there was at least some sign of it, there were still many obstacles to its full growth.
Deep-rooted religious beliefs were said to have smothered it. Through this we will trace some of the contradictions and recursions alluded to above, but we will also discover an attempt by a commercial concern to appeal to an audience of consumers just as broad and diverse.
The expediency of commercial production and its complication of any organic relationship between the ideology of image producers and the formal content of images will be a recurrent concern in this study.
In the case of the Calcutta Art Studio this is apparent in the conflicting identity of their corpus, which encompassed Hindus worshipping Kali, Brahmo Samaj followers and other reformist Hindus, supporters of the Raj, and nationalists. One anonymous missionary saw them as staging hinduism 29 modelled on Christian prototypes and believed that they should be preserved as archaeological relics of a soon-to-be-deceased popular Hinduism: They have great value.
As authentic representations of their gods by Hindus they mark a fast fading phase in the religious history of the country — the period when by adopting Christian tactics — the people are trying to bolster up their own tottering faiths. The Hindus are even now beginning to see that these pictures so far from hinder ing Christianity — help it on — for the more the people can be got to realise what their gods really are — the more their hearts turn from them.
Individually issued prints appeared later, and chromolithographs after these. We shall also see later that Calcutta Art Studio images also became vehicles for political aspirations. We brought it out from England exactly as we brought out the ink-bottles and the patterns for the chairs. We planted it and it grew — monstrous as a banian. Now we are choked by the roots of it spreading so thickly in this fat soil of Bengal.
Rotman uses this term to describe the money-ascommodity that sustains late twentieth-century global capitalism. Whereas earlier money used to circulate within nations and was theoretically redeemable, xeno-money circulates globally and is itself traded as a commodity: it has become a sign of itself, with a loss of anteriority.
This complex matter lies at the heart of one of the arguments of this book and requires further explication. It is this denial and the search for authorization within the space of a cultural void that grounds modular European realism. Realism in the colony, by contrast, is jettisoned into a zone that is configured by a different history. Cut off from the history of schemata that gives it its ability to speak for nature within the metropole, colonial realism becomes a xeno-real, which claims its power from its closeness to that reality that lies within the truth of colonial power.
Once jettisoned into the new semantic field of the colony, it sheds the history that has shaped its resulting form. Its articulation then becomes a matter of strategy, or accommodation, but crucially it staging hinduism 31 acquires a slipperiness and malleability within this new domain.
It becomes a sign of itself. Some images mobilized a hieratic idiom that, through their auratic iconicity, transposed ritually efficacious plaster and stone murtis with which Calcuttans would previously have been familiar into a stunning two-dimensional form on paper. Frontal images of Ganesh, Jagadhatri and Ganga Devi see illus.
The handwritten English caption on this image is erroneous. This goddess appears as part of a theatrical tableau, beneath a stage curtain.
There is no attempt to operate in the new three-dimensional space of colonial realism. However, such images are in a distinct minority.
A small number of prints barely succeed in getting their subjects to participate in this new space of the xenoreal.
Caught in a liminal state between the hieratic and the perspectivalized they are frozen halfway between the demands of intimate eye-contact with the devotee and the larger dramatic trajectory from which they have been extracted. Symptomatic of this is a much plagiarized image of Kali shown standing on a prostrate Shiv see the illustration opposite. The majority of Calcutta Art Studio images are neither hieratic nor liminal in the above sense: in most we can see the translated and displaced mimicry of the colonial xeno-real.
The mediation of the divine through the aesthetic categories of a colonial culture is striking. John Berger famously suggested that these provided allegories of classical power and discernment, the ultimate emptiness of which rendered them more easily convertible to the needs of their wealthy patrons.
In the xeno-real there is a double and doubly productive emptiness. Nala Damayanti was an image that was also treated by Kalighat painters of the period.
Nala, thus his heart divided into two conflicting parts, Like a swing goes backward, forward, from the cabin, to and fro. Torn away at length by Kali flies afar the frantic king, Leaving there his wife in slumber, making miserable moans.
Reft of sense, possessed by Kali, thinking still on her he left, Passed he in the lonely forest, leaving his deserted wife. The episode is narrated in the Mahabharata and was popularized in the English-speaking world through translations by Dean Milman and, later, Monier Williams. The story is a consideration of the destruction of a Hindu polity within modernity figured by the presence of the demon Kali, an agent of the degenerate kaliyug. The visual sign retains its formal exterior but interpretatively mutates as it passes across cultural and historical registers, from belonging to unbelonging, from the homely to the unhomely.
What seemed alien Western influences in Indian pictures were indigenised and made to serve different ends within the framework of popular iconography. Chromolithography was created and consumed within a wider visual culture in which there was a continual spillage between genres.
This process is explicitly clear in the case of the Calcutta images with which we are concerned here. Patterns of causality are difficult to establish but, as we will later see with the case of popular Hindi cinema, there is a deep and intimate relationship. In many images there are visual clues as to this relationship: some depict deities cavorting against a naturalistic backdrop but others dispense completely with such devices and frame deities within the visible paraphernalia of the theatre.
But much more intriguing than these transparent visual signifiers of theatrical space there is an unmistakable parallelism between the subject matter of lithographs produced in s Calcutta and the mythological plays that gained in popularity during this period.
Nala Damayanti was given its last performance on 30 July One source suggests that, following an early career as a bookkeeper with a mercantile firm staging hinduism 35 and several years working with another actor, Ardhendushekhar Mustafi, he established the National Theatre in We can assume that he transferred his production of Ravana Badh.
Photos of the Gods: The Printed Image and Political Struggle in India
Conway went with Courteney Peregrine Ilbert on whom more below , and his account is full of fascinating detail and gives some indication of audience responses. Because of its parallels with a later play Kichak Vadh, see chapter 3 , I quote at length: The first play I saw was the combat of the hero Rama with the demon Ravana. Ravana was a king of Ceylon who was demonized in India, and popularly given many heads.
The performance opened with a chorus of nymphs 36 photos of the gods beautifully draped, marching to and fro, singing an ancient ballad in praise of the hero.
The terrible Goddess Kali was personated by a blackened man. She promises Ravana. We pass to the forest where Rama invokes the Goddess Durga.
The nymphs sing around him in the forest. The sensational scene is where Rama is about to tear out his eye and offer it as a sacrifice to the goddess.
The conflict is for the rescue of Sita. When Ravana approaches, his daughter-in-law of course hides. A messenger warns Ravana of his peril. Ravana boasts that he has a magic arrow, and cannot be defeated. Raja reflect a diverse range of public, popular, and folk conventions that combine with local and pan-Indian aesthetics and politics. Finally, chapter 8 examines the use of Indian printed images in the village community of Bhatisuda.
Single-point perspective and other Western representational strategies of realism are based on a mathematical organization of space and are part of, Pinney argues, a numbing and deadening of the sensorium through the separation of the image from the beholder On the other hand, corpothetics is an aesthetic of representing gods in India that mobilizes all the senses.
It involves bodily performance that transforms both the image and the beholder. As certain images are reproduced through time and region, their meanings shift again. It is this fluidity that allowed printed images in India to escape colonial control, as well as what gave them such power and currency.
Corpothetics is part of a kind of visual experience, of the consumption and impact of printed images in India, where images are not simply a reflection of history but a part of its making. This recognition leads to another significant aspect of the book—the possibility of alternative histories through the study of printed images. A study of chromolithographs offers an alternative narrative to the official textual narratives of Indian nationalism.
In this way, visual images offer insight into realm of the political not preserved in official archives. In this book, Pinney has performed the herculean task of beginning to sort through one of the largest, most complex visual archives in South Asia.
While the author does not intend to provide a straightforward chronological progression of publishers, artists, images, and styles, such a history can be pieced together from the rich data provided.This is associated with a female embodied emotionality, which is contrasted with a virile Kantian austerity. John Lucaites and Robert Hariman observed Figure 2. The more articu- I took a video camera for the first time to late shamans point to the image of the goddess the village in Madhya Pradesh, where I have been that they have made and the political lesson of researching intermittently since Ravana was a king of Ceylon who was demonized in India, and popularly given many heads.
When he was in this condition, the best doctors could find no trace of pulse or of heart-action. Dumont, Louis. The reader is introduced to artists who trained within colonial art schools, others whose skills reflect their membership of traditional painting castes, and yet others who are self-taught former sign painters. Memory, plate 6.
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