‘Objects, Media Practices, Aesthetics and Politics: Material Histories and Cultural Imaginaries, India 1940-1960’ is one of the pilot projects under the History as a Political Category (ICAS TM1) module which has been running for over four months now. This project is undertaken as an inter-modular collaboration between TM1 and TM7, Media and the Constitution of the Political. Ritwika Misra and Kanika Makhija, the two researchers for this project have been collecting advertising and publicity material—short films, brochures, catalogues, photographs and journals. They have also conducted interviews, collected material from libraries, archival deposits, company holdings, private collections across Kolkata, Jamshedpur, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Pune. The workshop was organized on 16 July 2018 to give them an opportunity to reflect on the wide range of material generated and receive responses from project coordinators, Tapati Guha-Thakurta and Ravi Vasudevan, Ravi Sundaram of Sarai-CSDS, Srirupa Roy of ICAS, and invited CSDS faculty.
For a collaborative exchange of ideas, the workshop also included presentations by the research team at Sarai. To initiate conversations around common research interests – media technologies not only as vehicles of representation, but as objects of consumption and modes of experience – Sarai researchers presented their own work on colonial media infrastructures, algorithmic listening, data practices, media geographies in the city, and violence and instantaneous communication.