A Small Iridescent Sphere: The Life and Work of Shridhar Bapat

When 12 May 2014
6:30PM - 8:30PM
Where New York University
Tisch School of the Arts, 721 Broadway, Room 674
New York, NY 10003
United States

A Talk by Alexander Keefe and screening of Bapat’s Aleph Null and other videoworks: Monday, May 12, 6:30pm

“People remember Shridhar Bapat fondly because they remember themselves fondly, remember those years fondly, when the first flowers of the videotape underground bloomed in the smoky air of Lower Manhattan, in burnt-out basements and mouldering once-grand hotels, in unheated lofts and screening rooms.” (Alexander Keefe)

Almost completely forgotten today, in the early 1970s SHRIDHAR BAPAT was a key figure in New York’s downtown film community. A son of high-ranking Indian diplomats, he attended school in Geneva and London (where he was expelled from the LSE after the student uprisings in 1968), before moving to New York where he became the first curator and director of video programming at The Kitchen. He co-organised the first Women’s Video Festival there in 1972. His friends and associates included Charlotte Moorman, Shirley Clarke, Nam June Paik, Steina and Woody Vasulka. His own work was screened at the Whitney Museum and the Mudd Club, but his own life – he was an illegal immigrant, a drinker, homeless (at one point he slept in the basement of Anthology Film Archives; later he became a mole man sleeping under Grand Central) – was a mess. He died in 1990.

A SMALL IRIDESCENT SPHERE is an exploration of and tribute to a neglected part of the secret wiring of experimental New York. Featuring a number of Bapat’s rarely-seen videoworks, it will be presented by ALEXANDER KEEFE who writes about art, media and aesthetics in South Asia. His recent projects on David Tudor, Pandit Pran Nath, the Dia Foundation, Robert Rauschenberg, and early video art have appeared in Bidoun, East of Borneo and other publications. He runs a blog called Sarkari Shorts ostensibly devoted to Indian government-sponsored documentary films, and is currently at work on a a collection of essays on foreign aid culture in India in the 1970s, entitled Poverty Baital Pachisi. He did graduate work in Sanskrit, Urdu and Persian at Harvard University, and has divided his time between the United States and India since 1995. He now lives in Los Angeles.

Photo courtesy of the organiser/s