Art News & Views

Workshop @ Facebook

by Koeli Mukherjee Ghose

The expression 'new media' refers to a variety of know-how involving technology that has transpired globally during the later part of the 20th century, moving into the new millennium.

Creative professionals who have an Internet connection are responsive to the social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as blogs and video sharing sites such as YouTube.

In the last twenty years new media has made cellular communications very sophisticated through applications that connect with the Internet and other technologies. As new media is constantly evolving to connect to as many different platforms and people as possible, one of its most defining characteristics is interactivity.

With this notion of interactivity play and innovation the first project call for Workshop @ Facebook came in the month of April 2010 with attention to the theme Collection.

Participants had to upload their creative expressions but stringently by the 18th, 19th and 20th of every month.

The brief that was provided for the orientation of participants is as follows:


Entertainment & Arts - Fine Arts


A theme is presented each month, and members are invited to explore the theme in any way possible- the more innovative, the better.

It may be in any medium you are comfortable, or even uncomfortable, with. The possibilities are endless.

The emphasis is on play and innovation.

The outcome, eventually, will be fresher, newer ways of seeing, and the chance of interaction.

Upload your inputs on the 18th, 19th and 20th only, please. Put up two images on the Workshop album. Happy workshopping!

Privacy Type:

Open: All content is public.”

The idea of Workshop was contemplated upon and fashioned by Manjari Chakravorty and Amritah Sen, both artists presently engrossed in their own creative practices as their individualistic idiom of expressions have consolidated over the past years. The idea of collaborative work between a group of creative people for larger participation and viewership, evolved over phone conversations between the two.

Amritah came to Santiniketan ten years after Manjari completed her studies there. The inclination for collaboration such as this perhaps lies in the commitment to keep alive the creative urgency. It is apposite to bring the experiential understanding of the sensibility, of building a creative circuit, that plays strongly in the minds of friends and fellows from the art school.

Manjari Chakravorty, Sumitro Basak, Amritah Sen, Rashmee Paul Choutue, Vandana Kothari, Mallika Ganguli, Koeli Mukherjee Ghose, Atreyee Chatterjee, Payal, Arunima Choudhuri, Priya Ravish Mehra, Cynthia Mc'clure Thomasset, Mandira Chatterji, Parameshwar Raju and Esha Biswas responded by uploading images of their works pertaining to what their creative engagement with the idea of collections.

In the following sequences the participation grew in number as the network visibility spread.

Committing to the date for uploading brought in a sense of excitement within the participating group as the engagement of seeing each other's work and registering reactions on the Facebook was impromptu, warm and open.

To convey the experience I wish to share the communication (un- edited) as an aftermath or a matter of reflection from some of the participants from the Project titled - Collections.


As our first Workshop project winds up, this question begs an answer- why do we collect what we do? Going by the mind- boggling variety of responses, the reasons are in all likelihood very different, and worth pondering. We shall come back to this theme a few months from now, only, it will be dealing with what we have derived from our collections, and whether that can spawn some further creativity. Until then, enjoy the next month's project. Remember - all entries are to be uploaded ONLY ON THE 20th, 21st and 22nd of each month. Also, all participants are requested to clear the group album, leaving two of your best images for the record. Happy Work shopping!

Cynthia Mc Clure

I just read this, glad to know the guidelines for your just leave two photos up...I wonder if everyone has read this?

You ask why we collect what we do...for me, stamps collecting (only used stamps of mail) comes from a love of real letters and letter writing. I lived in France for 3 years and wrote more than 500 letters a year, and received just as many, or more, in return. I always ripped the stamps off and saved them, but never did anything with them.

Then over a year ago, I had a dream that I was in an art gallery, and I saw these beautiful stamp paintings, using watercolour and pen and ink...and left the gallery in the dream to go outside and cry, so terribly upset that these were not MY paintings and MY the next day I got a piece of paper and did my first stamp all came from a dream.

Your group is such a great idea...I am happy to participate and curious to hear what you come up with next.


The theme for our next project, for the month of May is - Blue.

Let's see how widely we can take up the topic. Please upload your works within 18-21st May 2010, and not before or after that. This is for keeping the freshness and surprises of the project intact!

Meanwhile, Rashmee (di) is working hard to set up a co...mmunity page for this 'workshop' so that each of us can upload our works in individual albums. My suggestion is, also have a back-up in your own profile and send a link here (as many of you have already done, and I didn't do it! :( , and if Rashmee di can come up with a better option, nothing like it! Please do participate in the discussion that Manjari-di has started.

Brat Payal

Hello everyone! I am compelled to participate in this workshop simply because my jobless mind needs work and first of all ...Thank U! This group is the stimulus as well as outlet...

Now ...why do I collect what I do...are we simply compulsive hoarders...of art, books, ideas, pictures, toys, clothes, shoes etc etc?? Personally, it is the problem of less, a compensating factor for the skills I wasn't born with or did not develop. I think to a certain degree one needs the "eye", the perspective to accept and identify the missing pieces of the puzzle... :)


This has been a very satisfying experience - almost towards a situation like jamming for music.

I have been shifting - first from Kolkata to Hyderabad and then to two more apartments in the last 6 years - the amount of objects and things - a mindboggling collection for domesticity, that has to be thrown out at the time of exit is an exercise by itself.

I can find place for the crystals, books, rockery, clothes, our paintings - but the accumulation of expressions in the course of living a life, in response to the love and hate - needed a space to show up.


As Koeli said, there are many things we collect along the way, “expressions in the course of living a life”. Most of it I take great satisfaction in throwing away- more so of late- in an effort to reduce detritus- and not just material ones. Some things I keep, and gather more of the same type- these are simply because of their appearance, the way they feel in my hand and the way they look when kept together. Clearly, this is something not associated with memories (although some are- like Baba's Threptin tin) but with something more to do with shape, form, and colour. And the possibility that these might be translated into something else- a sculpture, a painting, a paper assemblage. In fact, my boxes series, where I use a whole bunch of colours, and contrasting textures, in a jumbled and chaotic way, stems from this entire experience of collecting stuff.

Mallika Ganguly

I do not collect consciously but yes I find myself with more of certain objects than others and yes, it does occur to my mind that this could form the base of a collection. I am not a compulsive hoarder but yes I do tend to cling on to certain objects because of association. And of course there is the accumulation of approximate 30 years of conscious living.


The theme Collections made me conscious that I don't collect anything at all. So I had to peep into the safer area, that is my private world. In fact, my diaries and my finished layout copies are the only things (except few books) which I preserve with care.

But even then, this experience was quite extraordinary, as I never went through my older sketchbooks this thoroughly.

My old school teacher and my mentor Gautam da (Gautam Choudhury) asked me what did I find out from this project - (yes, he went through the whole thing) - and I said, "all I realised, that I'm an entirely selfish person, its me and only me!” :D

CR Srinivas

Somebody once asked me, "Do you collect anything"? I said no... and then she asked... Do you have more than 2 of anything? I said... yes...She said... You have a COLLECTION...

Sometimes collections like spiritual objects gives us peace, sometimes accomplishments...
sometimes we collect so we can reach 11 or 21 or 51..sometimes it is 108... but I do wish one can be like Elizabeth Taylor's male version who collected spouses :)

I am cr… Live in San Diego... and I am not artistic at all... I think I was created to be a patron saint of the non-artists.

One of the first appearances of new media was cyber chats and this form of exclusive communication between two people or within a chat room was recognized by the common people during the latter-20th century. Chatting online in the internet quickly developed from a mostly text-based tool, webcams infused computers induced audio visual possibilities, by which, the people during chatting sessions could see each other. The indistinctness of exposure availed by the people engaged in online chatting brought in reconstruction of their personal narratives that emerged from their life and experiences, and at times not disclosing real identity.

In present times the notion of an exclusive online identity that was first introduced in chat rooms has extended to take in visual recreation, through popular web services, wherein group members can create their own 3D image and interact with other members in an utterly virtual world.

Blogs have extended the ideas of the levels of interactive possibilities due to the new media. The freedom of expression enjoyed by the bloggers or 'resident journalists' to post any text, photos or videos so that other Internet users could view, read and  interact, is perceived as a breakthrough in global communications.

The issue of locating social networks and blog groups which focused on specific matters of interest was resolved by sites such as Facebook, My Space, Twitter, which enabled people to stay abreast of one's own network of friends and organizations via one website. These Social networking sites are compatible with blogs, cell phones, and other new media applications, enabling people to send and receive updated information to and from a select group of users instantaneously.

The Workshop @ Facebook has completed nine projects with over 200 group members currently. While the thinkers Amritah and Manjari are again in a state of contemplation to imbibe the Workshop with new dimensions, the participating group is craving for creative brainstorming. The projects encompassed themes conceptualized by Amritah and Manjari spanning notions of Collections, Blue, Junks, Journaling, W theme, Fear, Improving an image (of a chocolate pastry) and Light.


Image Courtesy: Sumana Biswas | Brat Payal | Anirban Mitra


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