The Sovereign Forest by noted Film Maker Amar Kanwar in collaboration with the Independent Media Group –The Samadrusti is an exhibition that attempts to reopen discussion and initiate a creative response to our understanding of crime, politics, human rights and ecology. The validity of poetry as evidence in a trial, the discourse on seeing, on understanding, on compassion, on issues of justice, sovereignty and the determination of the self – all come together in a constellation of moving and still images, texts, books, pamphlets, albums, music, objects, seeds, events and processes.
The Sovereign Forest has overlapping identities. It continuously reincarnates as an art installation, an exhibition, a library, a memorial, a public trial, an open call for the collection of more ‘evidence’, an archive and also a proposition for a space that engages with political issues as well as with art.
The Sovereign Forest is inspired by a search for the possible answers to the questions: How to understand the conflict around us? How to understand crime? Who defines evidence? Is legally valid evidence adequate to understand the meaning and extent of a crime? Can ‘poetry’ be presented as ‘evidence’ in a criminal or political trial? What is the validity of such evidence? Can it create a new and valuable perspective about the crime? What is the vocabulary of a language that can talk about a series of simultaneous disappearances occurring across multiple dimensions of our lives? How to see, know, understand and remember these disappearances? How to look again?
The central film, titled The Scene of Crime offers an experience of landscape just prior to erasure as territories marked for acquisition by industries. Almost every image in this film lies within specific territories that are proposed industrial sites and are in the process of being acquired by government and corporations in Orissa. Every location, every blade of grass, every water source, every tree that is seen in the film is now meant to not exist anymore. The Scene of Crime is an experience of ‘looking’ at the terrain of this conflict and the personal lives that exist within this natural landscape.
The Sovereign Forest invites visitors to contribute a photograph, a film, a document, a text, an object, seed, cloth, pattern, drawing, or any ‘evidence’ in any form to the constellation of evidence presented. The exhibition will continue for a few months as more parts are added to it.
Samadrusti Campus, Behind Trident Academy, Opposite Infocity, Sailashree Vihar, Bhunaneswar – 751021, Orissa, India
Contact numbers: 0674-6529485, 9853456083 and 9178182820