Shaunak Sen is a filmmaker, video artist and film scholar based in Delhi. Cities of Sleep (2016), his first feature length documentary film, has shown at various major international film festivals. He has shown in and co-curated various art exhibition contexts in India, Switzerland and Berlin. Shaunak was the recipient of the Charles Wallace Fellowship (2018), Pro Helvetia Residency (2016), Digital and Social Media Fellowship at Sarai-CSDS (2014), and the Films Division of India Documentary Fellowship (2013). He was the visiting scholar and part of the ERC Urban Ecologies Project at the Department of Geography, Cambridge University (2018). He is also a film researcher and his academic writing has been published in various journals including Bioscope and Widescreen.
The fact of our aerobic lives has become uncannily explicit in recent years in the city of New Delhi. Instead of being an invisible lamina, air has become a palpable, tactile, manifest medium that winds through writ petitions, political rhetoric, technology markets, advertisements, policy and the sensorium of the city at large. Delhi provides a slow-burn existential vignette of life in the Anthropocene – where our very ‘backgrounds’, ‘givens’, ‘life-supports’ appear fragile. Yet, our ways of thinking of contemporary Delhi remain resolutely humanist. Approaching this condition through what has, in the discipline of Geography, been described as the ‘more-than-human’ lens, might allow us to not overwrite the range of beings that inhabit the Delhi air. Bird Consultancies: Thinking of air with Black Kites and Dragonflies proposes looking closely at two inhabitants-of-the-air – the black-kite and the dragonfly to think through the city. This might allow us to arrive at a different understanding of the ‘air-commons’, where both human and nonhuman practices are at stake. The project will stage conversations and talk-based installations with experts under the guise of ‘animal consultancies’.