Fragments of notes from a Do Din meeting on visual cultures

Here is a bunch of notes we made when we first met several weeks ago to discuss what photographers can do for the city (or should we say with the city). We will return to these ideas during Do Din because a group of visual artists have been working away at projects that panned out of these notes.

Power to return the gaze: There are a lot of people in the city now who are able to shoot pictures. At first it appears to be only hypermobile techies with smart phones shooting pictures of the plates of food before and after polishing to be broadcast to the world via fb and twitter. But if you pay attention, there is a whole world of people out there shooting pictures. Autorickshaw drivers, traffic police, people who hate traffic police, young women turning the gaze back on the oglers, angry residents shooting pictures to document neighborhood change due to the construction of the metro rail. Visual cultures are clearly among other things also about power.

Memory, pain and pleasure: There are a lot of people holding on to visual memories in the form of old photographs, prints etc. Visual cultures are among other things also about memory, nostalgia and pain and pleasure.
3. Photo exhibitions are generally done in sanitized environments where you are allowed to look but not touch. And rarely do people talk to each other while viewing them. Visual cultures among other things also about interaction and the public sphere.
Tactical technologies: There are a lot of spaces that are already used for exhibiting and displaying things. Dont pee here signs, hoardings, paintings on footpaths, wall writing and so on. Visual cultures are among other things also about urban spatial practices and behavioural norms – in some sense – technologies – being deployed for tactical purposes.
Histories of visual technologies: There are a lot of old studios and practitioners of visual cultures in Hyderabad. Their histories reveal much about the city itself. Visual cultures are about history and erasure. They are about walking and remembering and talking and changing.