In the November 2009 issue of ArtReview, Swiss curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, 42, was ranked the most powerful person in the contemporary art world. An advocate for artists, Obrist, who is currently co-director of the prestigious Serpentine Gallery in London, has famously mouthed aphorisms such as, “I really do think artists are the most important people on the planet.”
Over the years, the maverick curator has pioneered the concept of marathon interviews. The Marathon series of public events, conceived by Obrist in 2005, are landmark public interviews that seek to initiate scintillating conversations. These are neither journalistic, nor scholarly, but follow an encyclopaedic and philosophical model.
Talk fest: Hans Ulrich Obrist.
The Map Marathon in 2010 featured non-stop live presentations by over 50 artists, poets, writers, philosophers, scholars, musicians, architects, designers and scientists.
On Saturday, Obrist will conduct one of his famous sessions in India in a public event organized by Khoj International Artists Association in New Delhi. The Khoj Marathon by will be an 8-hour series of 20-minute public interviews with 25 leading artists, such as Dayanita Singh, Jitish Kallat, Subodh Gupta and Homai Vyarawalla, as well as intellectuals from different fields such as Geeta Kapur, Kaushik Basu and Lawrence Liang. Apart from the fact that this is a rare-to-witness event (the first event in Asia was held in China last year. This is the second in the continent), this is a unique exercise that hopes to provide an interrogation into the world of ideas that influence artistic practice in India.
Obrist has always believed in “open events”, and in keeping with his desire to explore the world of art in an open system, he has long advocated a participatory model for his activities. Pooja Sood, director, Khoj, stresses the fact that the marathon event is being held in an “open” space even though it coincides with the India Art Summit and could very well have been held at the summit venue.
The Khoj Marathon interviews will be published by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.
The Khoj Marathon, 1.45-11.30pm (22 January), at Lodi—The Garden Restaurant, Lodhi Road, New Delhi.