The experience of the virus has touched each one of us at a personal and collective level. Transitioning through the many moods of the Corona virus has revealed the inadequacies and apathies of governance. A quick glance through most news reveals that while the economy ails and people live hungry, the political machinery to suppress dissent, erase evidence and act with impunity, is about the only being which remains robust and healthy. Father Stan Swamy explains it most eloquently, just two days before his arrest.
We have been at work, on the road, on our feet, throughout this time. The crisis presented new opportunities, fresh solidarities and spectacular visions. Interactions with workers resulted in the launch of Bevaru, a Youtube channel dedicated to the self expression of workers, particularly the women workforce. Moving away from charity, the channel asserts the dignity and intelligence of the worker. From conversations with Community Radio stations across the country, have emerged local, multi-lingual and contextual programs on producing stories of transformation.
This year’s October Jam stems from the sentiment of being on the road through this lockdown. As we see empty billboards with nothing to advertise, and many TO-LET boards awaiting new occupants, we all have a sense that many have arrived and many have departed. We invite you to occupy a TO-LET space, all through October, at our annual arts festival, in virtual, private and public spaces. Public space has always been restricted for some and open for others, and occupying them has always meant a risk. We hope to take note of the leftovers and carry the spirit, the pathos from these vacancies, as the city prepares itself to negotiate with the drills and echoes. TO-LET is a way of pushing the rules of the land, a way to question the politics of restriction and purity. The entries and exits here are permeable, porous and open. They have also been vicious, violent and vindictive. The city has heard cicadas, gunshots and the silence after. To reckon with the farce of borders and boundaries, to reckon with self-censorship, to reckon that which is not our ‘own’, to reckon with life and death, to reckon with the unknown, the invisible is inevitable for each one of us. Walls have heard and the trees stand as witness. For now, there are some vacant spaces, occupy it gently. A new contract is born with each shift. To let go of something, is one way of finding a TO-LET sign. A temporary settlement. Maraa invites you to occupy vacant sites with creative propositions with poetry, spectacular visions, writings, performances, music, paintings that allow us to let go, occupy, stay with or move constantly, so that we may imagine a wild future, together. You may choose to jump right in, skirt around the periphery or lurk from a distance. Leave your trace. We are at the thick of a massive turning.