Regular encounters with the Immediate surroundings and personal interpretation of daily life are the basis of Arpan’s work. He questions & criticises the discrimination, political & economic state of society through research, documentation, and archiving. His works are process-based, and he uses the 19th-century photographic process to express his works.
The history of materials and processes of 19th-century photography fascinates Arpan as an artist. He works and explores the artistic possibility with the 19th-century photomechanical process. He investigates by looking at photographic documentation, history, chemistry and design. He uses his research and experimentation as a tool for his expression.
Arpan has received BFA & MFA in printmaking and is presently teaching as an associate professor in printmaking Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan. He co-founded Studio Goppo, a photography research studio at Santiniketan.
We just passed the extraordinary ‘Pride Month’, and decided to publish our next issue. The question of identity plays an important role in queer studies since identity abounds with mutually dependent and undefined social constructions (Villaverde, 2008: 78). Cocoon Art Magazine took quite a long pause to redefine, recontextualise & re-examine the purpose of the work that we do. Very close to the “Queer Theories”, we ourselves have cultivated a practice of questioning the methodology of work and the way we execute it. I consider that to be a sort of constructive gap, much needed for the members of our team as well. Because sometimes doing the same work, again and again, makes us feel like a snake eating its own tail, that is moving in circles. I believe that the nutshell of queer ideologies and research all over the world have summed up a similar situation where we are supposed to question the very foundation of normality. Having said that, certainly, this is not an implication to jump to the immediate conclusions about normality, but rather fathom possibilities of rethinking our ideologies in the field of our individual works. Normality is subjective and ever-changing within a particular space-time reality.
July issue is on the verge of publication, and the works we have lined up have been tied in the same thread of notion, Cocoon looks at the internal situation of our team’s psyche at the very moment.
We decided to introduce something called a Cocoon Spotlight as a different section where we want to experiment and be a little fearless about the choice of certain works, we think need to be shown to our audience. We are looking for fresh ideas that have a possibility to question the concept of learning to unlearn and relearning, by contextualizing events that matters in the society or from a first-hand experience to educate and make a more aware inclusive society in the coming days. Let the spotlight be an element of surprise.
Janvi Bhardwaj’s intimate photo essay is cooking up in Cocoon editor’s kitchen, where she expresses the concept of inclusion, but from a very personal vantage point. Janvi writes, “ I see reflection of my vulnerabilities in the world around me. There’s a fragment of me in every piece.” I see inclusion as an instinctive response ever since the beginning of human civilisation. We can trace 14000 years ago wall paintings from Altamira caves, that show human inclusion and interestingly diversity as well. Contribution from the painter Sourav Shee in Cocoon’s July issue will further deepen our understanding of inclusion vis- a- vis diversity juxtaposed in today’s
contemporary society. Sourav Shee says, “ There are words unspoken but yet can be heard through the eyes”.
I sometimes very fashionably express the same notion by saying, “Listen through eyes and see-through ears”. May be because oxymoronic lines sometimes makes more sense to me. Very evident how Joker in literature enjoys the freedom to challenge society by mere wittiness.
Team Cocoon had the privilege to meet Arpan Mukherjee, a practitioner from Bolpur, Shantiniketan, who marks his presence by carrying on with 19th-century printing techniques and alternative image-making practices. We couldn’t resist taking an interview with this person to know more about the interpretation of his work, with which we will come to an end of our July issue.
– Neel Bhattacharjee, Editor