Sheshadev Sagria (b.1996 Odisha, India), is based in Odisha. He has a BFA in Printmaking from GCAC Khallikote, Odisha, and MFA in printmaking from MS University Baroda.
His recent works look at his village as a site and narrate the alternative reality of marginalised bodies and their alienated condition in remote areas. The bodies of marginalised and lower caste people are always considered impure hence unhealthy and diseased. Relegated to the margins, these bodies have not only been alienated from society but also strategically erased from our memories, literature, histories, and archives. He is observing and documenting the mundane laborious work and the kinds of instruments and objects they associate to survive, which he sees as an organ of the body and narrates an alternative world of such posthuman bodies.
His medium of choice is printmaking and exploring various possibilities through installations. In addition to printmaking, he works with painting, video, sculpture, and photography. He has exhibited in a number of group shows including EMBARK III an online show at Gallery Ark, Vododara, Gujrat (2020); PUSHING PRINT Curated by Dr Bess Frimodig at Art buzz studio, New Delhi(2019); MVA II (Graphics) final show, Vadodara(2020) and participated thrice in Kochi Muziris students Biennale (2018-2019), (2016-2017), (2014- 2015).
Website and Links: https://instagram.com/sheshadev4444?igshid=NTc4MTIwNjQ2YQ==
The anthropocentric philosophy argues that human beings are central or most significant entities in the world, but the preacher of it excludes many of its own kind; the concept of human is intertwined with various forms of hierarchy, but being a resident of Hindu dominated country like India our confrontation with the idea of “Human” begins from the lens of caste system, an oldest form of stratification, which divides people into rigid hierarchical groups like upper caste(pure, more human) and lower caste(Impure, less human). Our understanding of the human is based on Manusmriti, which is an authoritative book, a written configuration of caste-divided groups occupying a place in the hierarchy, which excludes people from the idea of “the fully human” owing to their body, labour; work, disease, and unique ability as lower caste. Decentralizing the Brahminical ideology is a posthuman discourse; the core form that has strengthened the Brahminical idea of human from an ontological perspective is an archive, such as books, museums, film, art, medical data, media, and many which build contextual information in order to build reality by hiding something that is against the idea of reality.
Recently I participated in a residency that took place at Studio CAMP in Mumbai, an urban city where most of the people from my villages migrate to work as a manual labourer; during that time, one of my friends was working there in a construction site, we reconnected in that space differently by talking, sending images and visiting each other, which compelled me to believe No matter how hard we try we will always get the wrong idea of labourer, unless we are somebody who works as labourer. Our understanding of the reality of labourer identity is being shaped by different forms of information generated through research, writing, and speculation, which gives information regarding the particular living condition. Those materials act as contextual information and build a wall between onlooker and worker. During the residency, my intention was to develop an alternative narrative regarding my friend being a migrant labourer while disregarding all other information that exists on the labourer body from a humanist perspective.
Can we imagine a construction site as a lab? Where a body transforms into something else. Do construction workers possess extraordinary abilities?
In this process of finding an alternative narrative, I was an onlooker and a friend to a person who works on construction sites. Also, I became a receiver, and he became a messenger or sender, who sent photographs of the city and construction site, which compelled me to see the city the how he sees the cityscape. I visited the construction site multiple times and collected different forms of marks, light, dust, and witnessed how a wall is becoming skin, and its body leaving behind its scaffold and radiating with an invisible light; it was a radiating body after all, which organs are emitting organs on to other to become other.
My intention for the posthuman research residency is to develop the idea of an alternative narrative and make this discovered radiating body more palpable by using various ways of post-humanistic approaches. And explore the question “how we become what we become” in this world. This residency would help me to explore in-depth the archive and how it is contributing to and strengthening the idea of humanism and how it creates contextual information. I intend to develop a Diorama on the idea of my friend being Radiating body, in which I am visualizing a time frame of how it is becoming. I will develop this through a pseudo-scientific approach and create contextual information concerning the Radiating Body; a context that I had developed on Why it's radiating?
Mumbai isn’t new to heatwaves, rising temperatures, and skin-pinching sun ray, there are certain work systems that invite people to work around and under this environment; construction workers have adapted to high temperatures in the summer months, accepting this as normal living. That body that spent its entire day at a construction site could be one of the reasons why it's radiating. Bodies have no choice but to work while being directly exposed to the sun. Will that body radiate if it works in rainy or other seasons, or at night, the body might become something else? Being exposed to fumes, gases, and vapors from construction material is what makes that body radiate.