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ಇರುವು Iruvu (Presence) is a four-channel video by Vishal Kumaraswamy examining the hyperreal viability of the subaltern body, within broader themes of Caste and Race.

Using the metaphor of a never-ending voyage, the work references histories of geographic and social migration, examining the conditions of sites of physical and digital commons.

The work doubles as a search (and interrupted conclusion) for a surface of projection, upon which the aligning, orienting, assimilating impulses of caste, capital and state are lost, and an un-intercepted affect can begin to exist, where unforeseen bodies then become emergent.

Over the course of four brief acts, ಇರುವು shifts between numerous images of the subaltern male body, captured through traditional and volumetric filmmaking processes. It imagines uncontested environments where a collective assertion of presence can precipitate.

Watch each act by clicking the links under the main video player.

Text: Suriya Balakrishnan
Performers: Tyrone Isaac Stuart, Vishal Kumaraswamy
Camera / Producer: John Antony Thadicaran
Sound Design: Rahul Giri (_RHL)


Vishal Kumaraswamy is an artist and filmmaker based in Bangalore, India. He has an MA in Photography from Central Saint Martins, London, and his works have been shown at several international exhibitions including The Venice Biennale’s Research Pavilion, Athens Digital Arts Festival, CCS Bard College, Vector Festival, The Royal College of Art and furtherfield, and are distributed by VIVO Media Arts, Vancouver.

Vishal has previously been an artist in residence with the US Consulate General Mumbai, Contemporary Calgary in Alberta, SAVAC Toronto, Vital Capacities, videoclub UK and Onassis AiR. He is a recipient of the Australia Council for the Arts Transmitter Delhi X Darwin Grant and the Warehouse421 Artistic Research Grant 2021. Vishal is a 2022 Research Associate at the Centre for Contemporary Art Derry~Londonderry and is currently developing works for Contemporary Calgary, Canada.

Vishal is the founder of the international artist collective, Now You Have Authority, a collaborative practice through which he has curated exhibitions, residencies, and delivered workshops at the Tate Modern’s Tate Exchange Programme, Tanzfest Aarau and The Sluice Biennial. He also develops independent curatorial projects with a focus on contemporary South-Asian artistic practices and his most recent project was shown as part of The Wrong Biennale.

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