Thinking Outside the Box: Other Paradigms for Artists

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Sandeep Bhagwati, Composer, Researcher, Poet, Theater-maker, Installation Artist, Conductor and Canada Research Chair (since 2006) of Inter-X Art at Concordia University, Montréal (where he founded the matralab)

For his presentation at TransCultural Exchange’s International Conference on Opportunities in the Arts, entitled ‘Working Differently to Create Change,’ Sandeep Bhagwati shared reflections on 20 years of curating and making “inter-x” – inter-cultural, inter-disciplinary, and/or inter-media – performance art, detailing the outlines of a methodology for inter-x artmaking. In his abstract, he paraphrased Tolstoy to described the challenge of making such art as follows: “All mono-traditional art projects are mono-traditional in a similar way; all poly-traditional art projects are poly-traditional in their very unique way.” For example, he noted, “instead of creating tight time structures, inter-x artists and curators must leave room for mutual discovery; instead of working with aspiring artists, they may want to work with accomplished masters; instead of focusing solely on the making, they may need some theory negotiations first.” In the current situation – where biographies and institutional interests converge to foster a multitude of inter-x art projects that are, Bhagwati said, “too often conceived in arranged encounters driven more by market considerations than by artistic necessity” – he argued for “a well-considered approach that would increase the likelihood of true mutual inspiration.”