An evening of performance and video by Gautam Kansara and Seline Baumgartner.
Through video and performance, Kansara will draw upon family histories that reach back to the Quit India Movement in India in the 1930’s and 1940’s to illustrate the mythic nature of Switzerland in the Indian psyche, and specifically within Kansara’s family as a land opposite to India, where disease is curable and poverty non-visible. The stories will center around the contraction of Tuberculosis by Kansara’s grandmother who was treated at the Wald Sanitorium in Davos in the late 1940’s, against the wishes of her father, the lawyer turned freedom fighter B.N Maheshwari. Throughout there work, Kansara will interweave history and storytelling to actively destabilize facts and fictions.
Seline Baumgartner’s works investigate the behavioral patterns of people in different social interactions using video and sculpture to carefully observe the grammar of individuality. During the evening Seline will present the video “Rosy” (2013), a collaboration with the Hijra (Transgender) Dancer Rosy, the Musician Sumathi Murthy and Pejk Malinovski. Based on interviews with the Hijra and Karaga dancer Rosy, the musician Sumathi Murthy wrote and composed a song about Rosy’s life, and the contradiction Hijras represent in Indian society. On one hand they have the gift to bless people are often invited to dance at weddings. Yet they are also marginalized, losing contact with their families, and living from begging or sex work. The video shows Rosy dancing to the song telling the story of her life, while an Indian wedding band, moved by Rosy’s story, plays and engages with her.
The Kulturhaus Helferei is located in the middle of the old town of Zurich. Adjacent to the Grossmünster Church, the building is the former home of Ulrich Zwingli, leader of the Reformation in Switzerland. Since 1974 Kulturhaus Helferei has offered a rich cultural program of theater, performances, literature, cinema, music and exhibitions.