Case Study- Kudankulam protests

Here is a copy of the presentation we made on the aforementioned activist act.




Jacques Ranciere

I begin with an idea, and then it becomes something else.

                                                                                                                           -Pablo Picasso

At the start, the article seemed beyond my comprehension and this deterred me a little. Nevertheless, I kept at it and as the words began to fly with an ever-increasing pace, so did my understanding and fascination. By the end of the reading, I had pages of notes scribbled down. The article is so thorough and complex in its perusal that it opened up a wider horizon when it came to concepts like politics, aesthetics, their inter-play, the chronological history of critical art, the role that artists have been playing in making the  unconventional art form of one era into the salient art form of the following era, and what not?

I’d like to state a few, of the many points I found interesting.

  • Example of Balzac’s Lucien de Rubempre selling  his prose and soul. “A fantastical poetry born of the abolition of borders between the ordinariness of commodities and the extraordinariness of art“–This brought down art from its proverbial pedestal and had it encompassing in itself another whole new spectrum-that of social commodities.
  • ‘dialectical work
    within things’, which renders them available to
    art and subversion by breaking the uniform course of time, by
    putting back one time in another, by changing the status
    of objects and the relationship between signs of exchange
    and the forms of art“–This, I feel aptly describes the quote we discussed in class the other day, that, the medium is the message.
  •  collage can present itself as that which brings to light the hidden link between two apparently foreign worlds“–Does this mean that the concepts of ‘collage’ and that of the later mentioned ‘mystery’ find themselves overlapping?
  • The third under the four major figures of contemporary exhibition i.e, Invitation , sums up the discussion we had the other day, on opening up a dialogue. This, like the previous art practices has evolved as a result of the changing sensibilities of community. This perpetual process of change is as inevitable in art as any other field, and we as artists, harness it instinctively. Change is our elixir.

In conclusion I’d like to quote Jorge Luis Borges,” The intention of an author is but a mistake-a fallible thing.” The story, like a piece of art, is complete only when it is rewritten each time by what its readers take away. And in that, lies its immortality.


Week 2


On Thursday, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced they would phase out their iconic elephant acts by 2018. The decision was spurred by public concern about the treatment of elephants in circuses, and perhaps a growing understanding that being kept as an entertainment spectacle is emotionally damaging to the sensitive, intelligent animals.

Elephants are social creatures in the wild with close-knit family units. They even perform funeral rituals and spend weeks mourning their dead. So those that have long been in circuses and zoos can come to exhibit symptoms of depression, aggression or post-traumatic stress disorder, most likely as a result of the confinement and isolation.

In 2006, the New York Times article described the trauma elephants undergo in captivity: “Being kept in relative confinement and isolation [is] a kind of living death for an animal as socially developed and dependent as we now know elephants to be,” author Charles Siebert wrote.

Ringling elephants spend most of their long lives either in chains or on trains, under constant threat of the bullhook, or ankus—the menacing tool used to control elephants. They are lame from balancing their 8,000-pound frames on tiny tubs and from being confined in cramped spaces, sometimes for days at a time. They are afflicted with tuberculosis and herpes, potentially deadly diseases rare in the wild and linked to captivity. “

For more information, click the link below


NEW DELHI: Elephants are still being subjected to torture in circuses despite a decision by the Animal Welfare Board of India or AWBI last year to ban their registration for performing in such shows, an animal rights group has alleged.

“AWBI, a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, decided to ban the registration following reports of rampant use of weapons, including iron hooks and sticks with protruding nails to make the elephants perform. Though, legal show-cause notices were issued to the defaulter circuses then,  it’s been an year but neither have the elephants being subjected to torture in these circuses sent to rehabilitation centres nor have they been deregistered for performances,” Poorva Joshipura, CEO, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or PETA India, claimed. Reacting to the allegations, AWBI asserted it is in the process of deregistering existing elephants at circuses and no new elephant has been registered in the past six months.

For more information, click the link below


A chimpanzee takes a moment for himself

The National Institutes of Health is shuttering its chimpanzee research program after decades of experimentation and research that has put animal rights activists and scientists at odds.

Two years after sending more than 300 of its research champs into retirement, the NIH said on Wednesday that it will place the final 50 chimps into sanctuary. The move puts an end to government-led experiments on chimpanzees, the primate most closely related to humans. Chimp DNA is nearly 99 percent identical to human DNA.

“It’s time to say we’ve reached the point in the U.S. where invasive research on chimpanzees is no longer something that makes sense,” Dr. Francis Collins, director of NIH, told the Associated Press.

The news was heralded by animal rights groups. “We really see the [NIH] closing and locking the door behind the chimps and throwing away the key on their way out of the laboratories,” Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, wrote in a blog post.

For more information, click the link below


Human rights activist Irom Chanu Sharmila will end her 16-year-long hunger strike, one of the longest in world, against a Indian controversial law that gives special powers to the Indian armed forces in areas affected by insurgency. She now plans to contest the 2017 elections in her state Manipur in north-east India as an independent candidate.

Called the Iron Lady of Manipur, the 44-year-old has been on a fast since 2000 to protest the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), a law gives Indian soldiers powers and legal immunity to shoot to kill, conduct raids and arrest people without warrants.

The activist and poet started the hunger strike after 10 civilians were killed by soldiers in Manipur in 2000, and famously vowed not to meet her mother, until her demand for the repeal of AFSPA was met. The law continues to be applied in several states, including Manipur and Jammu and Kashmir.

“I will break my fast as the government has failed to give any positive response. I will fight elections to resolve the issues,” Sharmila said. She added that “public apathy” forced her to change her strategy and that she did not believe that her fast would lead to AFSPA’s repeal.”That is why I will join politics and my fight will continue,” she told reporters.

5 global activist acts of 2015-16

This is the post excerpt.

  •  #BlackLivesMatter
    As 2014 closed, stories and unrest regarding police brutality in Ferguson and other parts of the country led to big outcry on social media. These events weren’t the origin of the #BlackLivesMattermovement; however, throughout 2015, the deaths of Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, and more recently Laquan McDonald helped give the movement more momentum. #BlackLivesMatter was Tweeted 9 million times this year, and the hashtag that started on social media, has become a social calling card for social justice and racial equality activists across the U.S.
  • #ParisAttacks, #PrayForParis & #JeSuisCharlie
    Paris was the epicenter for two major terrorist attacks this year. The first was the attack on the publication Charlie Hebdo in January. In the days following the attack, the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie spread across social media and at the time, was named one of the most popular hashtags in Twitter history, with more than 5 million uses.The second incident, a coordinated attack by gunmen and suicide bombers, took place in November and reignited global solidarity with the beloved French capital. Once again, social media users expressed their support, this time with the hashtags #PrayForParis, which was used more than 7 million times, and #PrayForParis was used more than 400,000 times, according to Amobee data.
  • #IStandWithAhmed
    14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed became a symbol for the issue of American islamophobia when he was arrested for taking a homemade clock to school. Following his arrest, social media rallied using the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed as a show of support, which was used more than 300,000 times on Twitter, including one from President Obama. Mohamed was also invited to visit Facebook, and offered a scholarship to MIT and an internship at Twitter.(



The green group said 85 activists took part in the protest, which involves 27-foot-long banners with the names of cities threatened by sea level rise and climate change, and dubbed the exhibition ‘Sinking Cities’.Greenpeace said it was targeting the oil company’s sponsorship of the Sunken Cities exhibition, and called on the museum to end the partnership. The protest today follows two on Tuesday at the museum’s Great Court by the group BP or not BP, which campaigns against fossil fuel sponsorship of the arts.

For further information, follow the link mentioned below.



A female adventurer is aiming to become the first person to paddleboard the length of England via connected waterways to highlight the issue of plastic pollution.

Lizzie Carr set off on Wednesday morning from Godalming, Surrey, on a 643km journey that is expected to take three weeks. Starting from the most southern point of the UK’s connected waterways, the river Wey in Surrey, she will travel north through Oxford, Coventry, the Stoke on Trent canal, the Douglas and Ribble rivers in Lancashire and finish just south of Kendal, Cumbria. “I started paddleboarding a while ago in the Isles of Scilly, Portugal and Barbados,” she told the Guardian while paddling.

“I came back to London and found you could do it in canals and cities, but the more I was doing it the more I saw plastic pollution and debris in the water. It was really sad and when you’re trying to board and you get plastic bags stuck on your fins it really compromises the whole experience.”

For more information, follow the link mentioned below.


Hundreds of environmental activists have invaded the UK’s largest opencast coalmine and halted operations across the vast site.Dressed in red boiler suits, groups of protesters crossed barbed wire fences to gain access to Ffos-y-fran mine near Merthyr Tydfil in south Wales. Some chained themselves to machinery, others lay across access roads.

Explaining the significance of the vivid red clothing the protesters wore, she said: “Continuing to dig up coal is a red line for the climate that we won’t allow governments and corporations to cross. We are taking action in solidarity with the local community who have been battling Ffos-y-fran for nearly a decade, and now face the threat of a new mine next door.

Speaking from the heart of the mine, Sophie Stephens, a project manager from London, said the site felt “quite formidable” but said the atmosphere among protesters was good. She said some had played football and volleyball within the site. Workers had watched but not tried to step in as placards were strung between giant machines.

“We’re not setting out to be arrested – we’re just going to have a party here.”-Coralie Datta, an activist.

For more information, follow the link mentioned below.


American activist Marc Ching travelled to Yulin ahead of the festival, where he started work trying to rescue the dogs kept in some of these compounds. By the end of Tuesday, Ching and his companion, Valarie Ianniello, had managed to free 1,000 dogs from six slaughterhouses, he announced on his non-profit’s Facebook page.

Ching has employed different methods to shut down the slaughterhouses. In some cases, he posed as a buyer for the dog meat, and shipped hundreds of dogs back to the U.S. for rehabilitation. In others, he was able to persuade the slaughterhouse owner to give up his trade, in exchange for a fee and help with setting up a new business.

But promoters continue to cling onto the practice.”It’s been a tradition for years for us to celebrate the festival. We can’t change it simply because they (animal lovers) love dogs,” a local resident, who gave only his surname, Huang, told The Associated Press.

“They don’t want us to eat dog meat. We eat dog meat to celebrate the festival, but since they’ve come here, they’ve ruined our mood completely,” Huang said.

For more information, follow the link mentioned below.


Approximately 11.5 million animals are used in experiments in Europe every year. In these experiments, animals may legally be poisoned; deprived of food, water or sleep; subjected to skin or eye irritants; subjected to psychological distress; deliberately infected with diseases; subjected to brain damage; paralysed; surgically mutilated; irradiated; burned; gassed; force-fed; electrocuted; and killed. This happens to millions of animals every year.

Improvements on this count:- Laboratory testing on chimpanzees (our closest living relative) is banned in the United Kingdom. The U.S. is one of only two countries in the world whose government openly permits it. The U.K. has not licensed animal testing for cosmetics for nearly fifteen years. Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany have also banned the use of animals in cosmetic testing. As of 2013, no animals may be used in cosmetic testing in the European Union pursuant to E.U. regulations. In the U.S., California passed the first state law in 2000 (Section 1834.9) limiting product-testing where alternative non-animal tests are available. Other states, like New Jersey and New York followed California’s model.In 2007, the National Research Council issued a report on toxicity testing that recommended a move away from the use of animals in laboratory experiments.

Similarly, in some U.S. states, students can refuse to participate in school activities (including dissection) that harm animals. Right-to-choose states include California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia. Other states, like Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Mexico, have similar policies. Maryland mandates students have alternatives.

For more information, follow the link mentioned below.