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26 Jan - 26 Mar 2023 | Nandita Kumar at DAAD

source: DAAD


With works by Nandita Kumar

Opening: January 26, 2023, 7 pm
Running time: January 27 – March 26, 2023
Opening times: Thu– Sun, 12 – 7 pm; special opening times during MaerzMusik Festival: Tue March 21 – Sun March 26, 3 – 7 pm


Nandita Kumar’s (Fellow Music & Sound 2022) installation at daadgalerie is playfully reminiscent of a newspaper-press, stuck in an eternal loop. The work comments on the constant regurgitation of misinformed and manipulative facts by individuals and organizations as they influence public opinion to protect their own interests: a reminder to listen closely to the echoes of history and avoid mindlessly replaying the discordant notes of the past.

As the challenges and environmental consequences of climate change are manifested, Nandita Kumar reflects on the knowledge gap between the scientific community, political spheres, and the populace at large. While fake news has plagued climate and environmental science for decades, slowing or completely derailing “progress,” information overload, complexity, and lack of meaning has left people feeling anxious and powerless to enact real environmental change.
Kumar’s work deconstructs political rhetoric related to various environmental issues by collating statements made by influential individuals, politicians, and organizations. Employing the very methods of data manipulation and fake news, the statements were transformed by an algorithmic “haiku” generator in order to produce a poem to accompany each of the untrue statements. Forming a glitching musical code, the resulting ninety-one haikus play out through a forty-foot pianola score. The accompanying digital publication allows the viewer to connect each of the poems to its original statement, alongside expanded essays detailing the truth behind these falsehoods.

The sound installation has been collaboratively developed during Kumar’s DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program residency and comprises five sonic journeys representing the elements – earth, water, fire, air, and void – and will culminate in a performance that includes voicing the haikus alongside the pianola player, a collage of found sound and live foley with refuse and recycled objects.

“History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme” – Mark Twain


Collaborators from Berlin:
Merche Blasco, Christian Kesten, Felicity Mangan, Alex Nowitz, Ute Wasserman
Project-development collaborators:
Co-researcher & co-writer (publication):  Pooja Das
Publication editor: Tim Rutherford Johnson, Malcolm Riddoch
Haiku co-editor: Priyanka Tagore
Co-graphic designer: Shikha Usgaonker
Engineer: Subhadeep Biswas
Pianola code: Matt Gingold