Hands And Face Project will let you read between the moves

Sep 12, 2017, 18:47 IST | Krutika Behrawala

Watch five contemporary dance pieces that urge you to reflect on class divide and a chaotic metropolis using social experiments, limes and helmets

Hands And Face Project
Hands And Face Project

Last year, performance artiste Diya Naidu ventured into the streets of Bengaluru, with a cameraperson in tow, to conduct a social experiment. She approached 20 unsuspecting men and stood in front of them. As the camera rolled, she asked them to make eye contact with her. If either party was curious, they could also touch each other's face. Her subjects, all in their 20s and 30s, and from across socio-economic strata, ranged from security guards and paanwalas to erudite businessmen and fellow performing artistes. "Of course, everyone was uncomfortable in this contrived setting," says the 34-year-old Bengaluru-based artiste, who also extended the experiment to women.

The idea: to question who or what we are afraid of in the context of Indian public spaces. "As women, we've always been told to avoid eye contact with strangers on the streets. We also categorise men into types. If you introduce me to a friend, I will address him by his first name, but if an auto-rickshaw driver does that, I will call both bhaiyya. I wanted to highlight the caste- and class-based boundaries that we draw unconsciously."


The experiment is the basis of Naidu's 20-minute solo performance, Hands And Face Project, which will be showcased tonight at The Park's New Festival 2017, presented by the Chennai-based Prakriti Foundation. The performance blends movement and text, with a film reel playing in the background.

This edition of the festival, which has been an annual affair in Mumbai since 2011, brings together five contemporary dance performances that reached the finals of the 2016 edition of Prakriti Excellence in Contemporary Dance Awards.

This includes the winning piece, Folktale, choreographed by Manipuri artiste Surjit Nongmeikapam, which explores a love story between the performers and the fruit — lime, as well as Abhilash Ningappa's Architect of Self-Destruction, Urban Chaos by Parth Bhardwaj that uses a helmet in the performance, and Virieno Christina Zakiesato's F4.

ON: Tonight, 7 pm
AT: Sitara Studio, Garage Galli, KG Marg, Elphinstone West.
RSVP: 7011189519

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