Wearing Ethnicity | Shalaka Kulkarni

Wearing ethnicity is a research based project creating an ethnographic study of ideals of femininity, masculinity and the ‘other’ immersed in Indian Classical dance form. The two dance forms that are to be used as the technical and aesthetic basis are Bharatnatyam and Kathak. They both originate from different parts of India in different time periods and are different in terms of their technique and presentation. One of the underlying essence of this project is to create a fluid movement language that cohesively joins the technical aesthetics of these two forms.

The goal of the research and study is to track the influence of fantastical characters created in Indian Classical dance art carried over into the immediate Indian culture that makes space for it to spread into the wider society. Choosing ten very common characters based in Indian Classical dance, the project will present the traditional artistic presentation of them and crowd-source depictions of the same character/idea through text or digital visual art. These crowd-sourced online submissions are to be processed through as a statement of examples for viewers to interact with the final result. The final presentation of the project is to create an installation based work that creates an interactive experience for the viewer online and offline. The hopeful idea with the project is to create a space for experimenting with idea of ‘other’ found in every culture and what we travel with when we follow our preconceived notions of an entity ‘other’ to us.


summer and fall microresidency