Chitra Ganesh + Mariam Ghani: Index of the Disappeared

When 10 Feb 2014 - 21 Mar 2014
Where Gallery at the A/P/A Institute at NYU
8 Washington Mews
New York, NY 10003
United States

Opening Reception: Thursday, February 13, 6-8pm

2013 NYU A/P/A Institute at NYU: Artists-in-Residence Chitra Ganesh + Mariam Ghani

Chitra Ganesh and Mariam Ghani have collaborated since 2004 on the project Index of the Disappeared, which is both a physical archive of post-9/11 disappearances and a mobile platform for public dialogue. Index also stages visual and poetic interventions to circulate fragments of our archive in the wider world.

As an archive, Index of the Disappeared foregrounds the difficult histories of immigrant, ‘Other’, and dissenting communities in the United States since 9/11. Through official documents, secondary literature, images, and personal narratives, we trace the ways in which censorship and data blackouts are part of a discursive shift to secrecy. We track how this shift continues, for over a decade, to aggressively enact disappearances, deportations, renditions, and indefinite imprisonment on an unprecedented scale, now accompanied by unprecedented mechanisms of surveillance and drone warfare. Index builds up its collection by collaborating with those who actively take on political and legal challenges to the policies we track, and draws on radical archival, legal, and activist traditions to select, group, and arrange information.

As a platform, Index initiates discussions on ideas and issues related to the materials it archives, and draws upon materials in the archive to create site-specific installations and text-based works in a broad range of physical and virtual spaces. Index has been presented in galleries, museums, universities, community centers, libraries, conferences, publications, windows, the street, the web, and the mail. These visual, poetic, and public interventions are designed to confront audiences with the human costs of public policies, challenging them to re-consider the abstractions of political debate in specific, individual terms.

During Index of the Disappeared’s 2013-14 residency at A/P/A, the Index archive will be installed within and explore existing archives at NYU and be on view at the Gallery at the A/P/A Institute. Ganesh and Ghani will develop a series of posters and site-specific installations for NYU’s Kimmel Windows Gallery, based on new research into former black sites. Index will be collaborating with the Center for Constitutional Rights to organize an exhibition and publication of drawings and writing by Guantanamo detainee Djamel Ameziane. Finally, Ganesh and Ghani will convene both an NYU working group on archiving as a radical practice (in fall 2013) and a larger conference around the same topic (in spring 2014).

Image courtesy of Sean Donaher

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