CPB2020 will extend to 60 days, aligning with the city and region’s calendar. Chennai Photo Biennale aims to position Chennai as a contemporary art destination by aligning the biennale with other prominent festivals happening around the same period and attract significant audiences who criss-cross the city to attend the established music and dance season that has won Chennai the UNESCO Creative-City tag.
The four members of the curatorial team for CPB 2020 are as follows: Arko Datto (Kolkata, India), Boaz Levin (Berlin, Germany), Bhooma Padmanabhan (Chennai, India) and Kerstin Meincke (Essen, Germany).
CPB2020 looks forward to strengthening cross-cultural dialogue and has chosen a four-member curatorial team in line with the same. This young and dynamic team will work collaboratively to bring together their independent professional experiences as well as areas of interest in photographic practice to curate the next edition.
Arko Datto aims to use photography to question what it means to be a photographer in the digital age while simultaneously playing the role of observer and commentator on critical issues. He pursues narratives on seemingly disparate topics – forced migration, techno-fascism, surveillance in the digital panopticon, disappearing islands, nocturnal realms and psychosomatic stress of captive animals to name a few. Although every narrative he explores is separate and different from the next, together they form threads of inquiry into the existential dilemmas of our times.
By incorporating and developing diverse visual languages, narratives and styles, he wants to push the boundaries of both still and moving images. He was on his way to a doctorate in theoretical sciences before he decided to change course. Apart from working on his visual projects, he also enjoys curating the works of others and has been associated with Kochi Biennale, Obscura Photography Festival and Chennai Photo Biennale in this regard. He is currently represented by East Wing Gallery.
Bhooma Padmanabhan is a curator, researcher and arts programme manager. She completed her BA in Fine Arts from Stella Maris College, Chennai, and MFA in Art History, from the Faculty of Fine Arts, MS University of Baroda. She worked with the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) and Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, from 2007 to 2017. She currently lives and works in Chennai.
She has curated several exhibitions featuring emerging talents, and actively worked with artists to create platforms for public art, art education and resource sharing. Important curations include FICA Homepage 2014 and 2016 editions; ID/entity, 2010 (co-curated with Vidya Shivadas and Julia Villasenor), and Urgent: 10ml of Contemporary Needed, 2008. She was part of the curatorial team that brought the seminal exhibition Our Beautiful Daughters by Yoko Ono to India, 2012. Her curatorial work with photography and lens-based art are A Million Mutinies Later: India at 70, 2017 (co-curated with Anshika Varma and Iona Ferguson under mentorship of Prashant Panjiar, for Nazar Foundation); Invisible Cities, 2014; and Apna Ghar, 2012 (co-curated with Vidya Shivadas). Bhooma was part of the Kochi Biennale’s Students Biennale 2018 Education team that worked towards identifying existing frameworks of learning, and imagining new directions in pedagogical practices in art colleges in India.
Boaz Levin (French b. 1989, Jerusalem) is an artist, writer, and curator. Together with Hito Steyerl and Vera Tollmann, he co-founded the Research Center for Proxy Politics. Levin has presented his work internationally, most recently at the CCA, Tel Aviv; Human Resources, Los Angeles; and Fidmarseille, Marseille. Last Person Shooter, directed together with Adam Kaplan, was awarded the Ostrovsky Family Fund Award (2015).
Regarding Spectatorship, a curatorial research project with Marianna Liosi, was shown at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin, in 2015–16. Since October 2016, Levin has been a PhD candidate as part of the Cultures of Critique research training group at Leuphana University, Lueneburg. In 2017, Levin co-curated the Biennale fu?r aktuelle Fotografie,
Mannheim-Ludwigshafen-Heidelberg. Recent publications include: Proxy Politics: Power and Subversion in a Networked Age, co-edited with Vera Tollmann, Archive Books, 2017; Alles, Tobias Zielony, Etude Books, 2019; Rules for Extractor, (exhibition catalogue for MINE, Simon Denny), co-edited with Sian Scott Clash, MONA 2019.
Kerstin Meincke is a curator, researcher and lecturer focusing on photography and media arts in transcultural contexts. She teaches at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, where she is a member of the DFG research project “The Anachronic and the Present: Aesthetic perception and artistic concepts of temporality in the Black Atlantic” (since 2016). She is collaborating in the DFG network “Entangled Histories of Art and Migration: Forms, Visibilities, Agents” (since 2018) and has been part of the Research Group “Art Production and Art Theory in the Age of Global Migration” since 2014. Her curatorial projects include: “Global Players” (Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie, Ludwigshafen, 2017) and “Voyage Retour” in Lagos, Nigeria (conceived for Museum Folkwang, Essen, 2013). Furthermore, she curated the Wüstenrot Foundation’s Awards for Documentary Photography and was a curatorial assistant for the German Pavilion in Venice (both 2015).
Recent publications: “A Side Note on Europe: Germaine Krull’s Chandigarh Portfolio (1972)” (Photo Researcher No. 31/2019, pp. 227-37), “Currency Affairs. Photography and Productivity” (Art History and Fetishism Abroad. Global Shiftings in Media and Methods, ed. Gabriele Genge / Angela Stercken, Bielefeld: transcript 2014, pp. 93-112), “Global Players. How can we reflect the entanglement of photography, economy, and migration?“ (exh. Cat. Farewell Photography. Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie (ed. Florian Ebner, Christin Müller, Cologne: König, 2017, pp. 208-29), and “Connecting to what? Otobong Nkanga’s alternative mapping at Museum Folkwang” (artist publication Tracing Confessions. Otobong Nkanga, ed. Museum Folkwang, Essen, 2016).