Introducing KIPAF

PERFORMERS iNDEPENDENT (Pi) was an independent artists' collective, experimenting and exploring the traditional, modernist and contemporary spaces in the cultural paradigm. The Kolkata International Performance Art Festival was initiated by Pi in 2012 to annually open up the city of Kolkata to diverse traditions of performance, performitivty and interventions. Since then Pi has got fragmented but KIPAF has taken deeper roots.

The festival aims to be a platform for dialogue between site, art, politics and culture. KIPAF acknowledges the nascent nature of Performance Art in India, and will always play a role in the pedagogy of performance art.
The festival is be held between 23rd-26th January every year.

Sunday, 15 September 2013


Broadly, the theme of these forthcoming performances is “movement as a way of being human”. The idea of movement is too often boxed in cartographic imaginaries—the traveller’s starting point of the journey, and its termination is represented as episodes with clear cut objectives—of escaping, of retiring, of invading, of accumulating, of overcoming. Like most cosmopolitan cities, Kolkata too has its formal spatial and cultural enclaves, its cartographic grids.

We plan to go beyond the threshold of object based movements, their preoccupation with karma, and the restraints they pose in favour of embracing the idea of being nowhere in the city, and embody the vicissitudes of habitation. The inspiration for our performance is the boat people, who are crudely categorized as illegal immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. We celebrate their courage to disown the familiar in favour of the high seas by simulating in our performances the ability to be nowhere. From the representative point of view, our inspiration remains Iranian woman director Samira Makhmalbuf’s movie “Blackboard” (1999), based on the experience of travelling across borders of Kurdistan in Iran.

In order to underscore the sense of being in the interstices or inhabiting the in between, we have chosen culturally enshrined sites, such as the ghats. In India, ghats represent the stairs separating the river from the land. Ghat is the site of declension and ascension. Historically, ghats (especially those in Northern India) along the Ganges have produced profound works of oral (the retelling of epic sagas) as well as bodily performances such as the Indian form of wrestling or kushti.

Historically, areas close to ghats have also hosted the crematoriums, along with figures who animate these spaces daily. Today, areas around the ghats are being re-evaluated for their real estate value, thus threatening the integrity of spatial and cultural practices that have evolved over centuries. In their sombre eloquence Ghats embody the waves of time. Through our performances we hope to bring out the sense of being moved by the desire to belong on the one hand, and the untethered spirit that seeks to spread its wings out, against all obstacles.

We are open to new ideas from the participants on similar sites of artistic performances. We offer free lodging and food to the participants, apart from what we hope to be a whole new experience of being human in the city of Kolkata.

more details coming soon , stay in touch here at

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