Week 42: Periferry

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

This week we’ll be talking with Sonal Jain and Mriganka Madhukaillya of the Desire Machine Collective, who operate the Periferry project, an artist-led space situated on the M. V. Chandardinga, a ferry currently docked along the mighty Brahmaputra River in Guwahati, Assam, in the North East of India.


To describe Periferry as a floating laboratory for generating hybrid practices, while very true, is to skip a little quickly to the point: it is first of all a 1950s era, former government-run ferry barge, entirely river-worthy despite a bit of rust and a half century of plying the somewhat treacherous waters of the Brahmaputra between Assam and West Bengal through Bangladesh. Like the river itself, the space and its activities provide a connective, border-defiant platform for dialogue across artistic, scientific, technological, and ecological modes of production and knowledge. Periferry regularly hosts art-related, on-deck conferences and debates, regular film screenings and is more generally a platform — a floating, diesel-powered and steel platform — for cross-disciplinary flux, exploring new constellations of artistic relationships that challenge traditional hierarchical and autocratic strategies, seeking above all to move away from the center-periphery dialectics to renegotiate the role of local in the global.

Collaborating since 2004 as Desire Machine Collective, Sonal Jain and Mriganka Madhukaillya work through image, moving image, sound, and the time and flux of the river. As their name suggests, Desire Machine seeks to disrupt the neurotic symptoms that arise from constricting capitalist structures — of which the mainstream artworld is merely one instance — with healthier, schizophrenic cultural flows of desire and information