The man who wants to create a library of ideas

Hans Ulrich Obrist sits amid a pile of papers, all neatly stacked and brightly tagged. They are dossiers on the 25 artists and writers he is going to interview in Delhi.
HT Image
HT Image
Updated on Jan 22, 2011 01:06 AM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times | ByAmitava Sanyal, New Delhi

Hans Ulrich Obrist sits amid a pile of papers, all neatly stacked and brightly tagged. They are dossiers on the 25 artists and writers he is going to interview in Delhi.

It will not be just any other series of conversations. The interviews will be almost continuous, with barely two minutes between the 20-minute chats with each.

It’s for the Marathon Interview series that Obrist, director of international projects at London’s Serpentine Gallery, started in 2006. They are, in turn, part of the decade-long Interview Project that has seen Obrist talk to more than 2,000 speakers over 3,000 hours. “My work is about junction making,” says the Swiss-born curator. “And exhibitions are my medium. But the interviews feed my curating work and vice-versa.”

Why does he choose the marathon format? “I’ve done 24-hour sessions too... Over the last century or so, the format of exhibitions has changed. But symposiums haven’t been reinvented so much. If I bring together speakers who bring their own crowds, there is chance of new networks and new communities emerging. It’s like mapping of cities as (author) Italo Calvino saw it.”

Such grand ambition isn’t new for the 42-year-old. He has put together art shows in his own kitchen, in philosopher Nietzsche’s mountain house, in the library of a 15th-century monastery, and even aboard Austrian Airlines flights.

‘Indian Highway’ is a travelling show Obrist started in 2008. “It’s a growing show. In London, I invited the Raqs Media Collective to curate a section on exhibition design. In Oslo, Bose Krishnamachari worked on sculptures. In Denmark, Shilpa Gupta did videos. In Lyon, Bijoy Jain will curate a part on architecture.” By the time the show reaches Moscow via São Paulo, it might just become the largest show of Indian art abroad.

Obrist often asks artists about their “unrealised dream projects”. What’s his unrealised dream? “A palace — like the Crystal Palace of 1851 — for all the unrealised projects of all the artists.” Now that’s going to be one giant palace indeed.

Obrist will conduct the Interview Marathon today at Lodhi Garden Restaurant from 1.45 pm. Entry is free

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Rebel Shiv MLAs celebrate after announcement of Eknath Shinde's name as the next chief minister of Maharashtra in Goa. (PTI Photo)

    Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde rebukes MLAs for dancing atop tables

    Deepak Kesarkar, an MLA who represents Sawantwadi, said that after his return from Mumbai on Thursday night, the newly sworn-in chief minister asked the MLAs to behave in a “more mature fashion”.

  • Soon after the HC’s ruling, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) chopped 98% of the 2,185 trees in that site (Satish Bate/HT PHOTO)

    Maharashtra: Metro-3 depot back in Aarey Colony

    In October 2019, the Bombay high court (HC) quashed a clutch of petition by environmentalists that sought to declare a 33-acre plot in the city’s green lung as a legal forest under the Indian Forest Act (1927). This patch was demarcated in 2013 to construct a car shed for the upcoming Metro 3 line.

  • Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray. (HT photo by Vijayanand gupta/FILE)

    How Bal Thackeray handled rebellion in ranks

    If there is something that stands out in the rebellion led by Eknath Shinde and his predecessors like Chhagan Bhujbal, Narayan Rane and Raj Thackeray, it is the way in which the Shiv Sena leadership and even the ordinary Shiv Sainik responded to the crisis. If in the past the grassroots workers rallied around Balasaheb Thackeray, Sena leaders today admit to a virtual paralysis that has set in the party following the mass desertions led by Eknath Shinde.

  • The Income Tax notice follows summons by the Enforcement Directorate to him in 2019 ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly elections (Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

    Sharad Pawar gets I-T notice over poll affidavits; terms it ‘love letter’

    Terming the notice as a “love letter”, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar said it showed the qualitative difference with which central agencies act towards leaders of the opposition and those in the government.

  • Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra. (ANI)

    'Will ensure justice...': K'taka minister on reports of two sisters stripped

    Karnataka home minister Araga Janendra said Friday he had only just received information about an alleged assault on two women in Anekal, a town in Bengaluru district. The sisters were allegedly stripped and assaulted at their home for failing to pay a debt. Multiple media reports have said the police refused to file a complaint for two days and only did so after videos of the assault were widely shared online.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, July 02, 2022