12.24.13: Kindred Spirits

We’re in Guwahati thanks to the generosity of Sonal Jain and Mriganka Madhukaillya, the dynamic duo behind Desire Machine Collective, a  multidisciplinary collaborative art practice that “seeks to disrupt the neurotic symptoms that arise from constricting capitalist structures with healthier, schizophrenic cultural flows of desire and information.” When we learned about a DMC offshoot project called Periferry that transformed an old ferry boat into a floating space for experimental public engagement, we knew we’d found our kindred spirits in India. When we proposed The Sound We See: Guwahati, Sonal and Mriganka said Come on over! And here we are.

DMC is housed on the top floor of a very special 90-year-old colonial building in the old part of town. There are high ceilings, lovely tiles, beautiful windows, an airy verandah, views of two nice palm trees and plenty of space for working, napping, scheming and dreaming. People are always arriving. Conversations go on for hours. Inspiration abounds. Sonal and Mriganka are the energized core from which all this activity emanates. Helping make the magic happen are Kiran, Dolly and Simon the intern. Ranjo keeps us all nourished with incredibly delicious meals and frequent tea breaks. Ranjo’s daughter Hiya is my new best friend: I’m introducing her to Gumby, Betty Boop and Felix The Cat and she’s teaching me a complicated series of Indian tongue twister/clapping games we play while waiting for the next thing to happen.

Now add another sixteen young people to the mix… The Sound We See filmmakers! Can they make an entire City Symphony on Super 8 film in only two short weeks? I can’t wait to find out…

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Paolo Davanzo and Lisa Marr travel the world, sharing movies and music with the masses. At home in Los Angeles, they facilitate community screenings and workshops at the Echo Park Film Center, a non-profit media arts organization.

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