Presence as Absence

Presence as Absence | Shadow casting: Study as a Poetics of Absence

A workshop on study as a dialogic and reciprocal process of collective reflection/performance by Sanchayan Ghosh

The Chennai Photo Biennale invites performers, artists and other creative practitioners, interested in interrogating study, to a performance and shadow casting workshop with artist and educator Sanchayan Ghosh.

The 'Presence as Absence' workshop is part of a long-term set of engagements by Ghosh, who has been investigating the role of study within contemporary practice and pedagogy. Emerging from the proposition that study can be “a process of critical engagement and working together” the workshop will foreground dialogical and reciprocal engagements between the workshop participants, with each bringing their own personal histories, experiences and memories, to set the context for study. The workshop will focus on two aspects of study - the representation of the body and the use of light.

Part 1 of the workshop will include theatre exercises that will let individual participants explore their cultural and social memory in reference to sound, body and gesture.

Part 2 of the workshop will work with light using the method of shadow casting on silkscreens, which engages with the relationship between urban light, photosensitive pigment, time and space.

This project by Sanchayan Ghosh has been invited by the CPB3 curatorial team as part of the upcoming biennale “Maps of Disquiet”.

About the Artist

Sanchayan Ghosh (b. 1970) born in Kolkata, is currently an Associate Professor, Department of Painting, Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan. He completed his Masters of Fine Arts, Department of Painting, Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan in 1997. 

Ghosh has been practicing site-specific art as a workshop based collective community dialogue leading to numerous forms of public engagements over the last twenty years. His interest in process based collaborative making and sharing of art lead him to interact also with different performance forms from all over India. He has also worked in different kinds of self organized initiatives in different parts of the world and explored transforming relationships of land, location, labour and practice. Ghosh lives and works in Santiniketan and Kolkata, West Bengal India. 

Ghosh has been associated with different pedagogy projects in Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan, National School of Drama(NSD), FICA( New Delhi) and Five Million Incidents of Max Mueller Bhavana, Kolkata. He has participated in Kochi Muziris Biennale and explored a community sound project “Incomplete Circles, Invisible Voices” in 2012. He also co-curated the second session of Under The Mango Tree in Santiniketan in 2020. Ghosh’s collaborative sound project (work of art) ‘Short Wave’s Transit Tales’ is commissioned by Documenta14 (the German international exhibition project, under its Radio project and was transmitted in 8 countries of 4 continents). This piece has been shown in three exhibitions in Basel, Switzerland and Berlin and Weimar, Germany. His selected solo exhibitions include Reversed Perspective:3 Conjunctures, 2014 and Sisyphus Effect, together with Experimenter, Kolkata, 2010. 


  • Workshop dates: Monday, 18 October 2021 - Sunday, 24 October 2021 

- Part 1 

  • 18 - 20 October 2021 

  • 10 AM - 5 PM

- Part 2

  • 21 - 24 October 2021

  • 11 AM - 8 PM 


  • Any multidisciplinary artist across India interested in exploring body and form can apply. 

  • The workshop is free and open for everyone above 18 years of age by application only. There will be no fee for participation. 

  • You will need to present in Chennai on the workshop dates if you are selected. Accommodation, travel and food expenses to be managed by self. 

  • Those selected will need to attend all 7 days of the workshop compulsorily.

How to participate in this workshop?

  • To apply to participate in this workshop we invite you to share your CV along with a Statement of Interest (max.200 words) on why you want to participate in this workshop. 

  • Application Form here

  • Since this workshop can only be developed with a small group there are a limited number of seats available. 

  • Deadline to apply: 5 October 2021

Please feel free to write to us if you have any questions at [email protected] 

Important note: All materials for the workshop will be provided by the organisers. Participants will be required to follow masking mandates at the venue during the period of the workshop.

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