Arts, Activism, Ethnography: Catapult Arts Caravan, 2004-2010

Surajit Sarkar


This paper gives an account of the Catapult Arts Caravan performances in North East and Central India from 2004 to 2010. Intermixing digital audio-visual techniques with performative folk-art practice, community participation, and debate, the Caravan process provokes community discussion on issues of common concern. In addition to providing an occasion for self-reflection, the performance event creates a Rabelaisian moment by allowing a mix of many local voices to express their particular views on a shared moment. As a technique for awareness and advocacy, the Caravan events become a means of critically evaluating the context and availability of shared natural resources. Treating oral performance as communication, the Caravan performance event serves as a public platform that is open for sharing, contestation, and reconciliation, and is an occasion for the fusion of text and context.


Audience Participation; Collaboration; Digital Humanities; Social Dynamics; Performance; Performativity; Ethnography; Bakhtin; Methodology

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