Through the ages, philosophers have sought to lend their own meaning to the word “imagination”. Implicit to all was the fundamental function that imagination plays: the invisible alchemy of the mind that can envision — and represent — possibilities beyond what is actually present.
Today, two years after the beginning of the global pandemic — when a microbe put mankind in peril – it is, perhaps, time for a fresh look at the redemptive role of imagination in a world in crisis.
It is against this backdrop that the Centre of International Modern Art (CIMA), Kolkata, and Ashoka University have come together once more, with a symposium titled “Imaginations; Rural, Urban, Global”.
The two-day virtual conference, which is a collateral event of CIMA Awards 2022, will be held on February 6 & 7, 2022.
CIMA, designed under the guidance of renowned art galleries in London and New York, opened in 1993 and quickly became one of the premier art galleries in India. With 11,000sqft state-of-the-art gallery space in Kolkata, a comprehensive database and evaluation and publication facilities, CIMA has curated and organised over a hundred exhibitions that have won critical and popular acclaim in India and abroad. CIMA also holds interdisciplinary interactions and seminars with the participation of scholars, artists, directors and performers of international repute.
Ashoka University is a pioneer in its focus on providing a liberal education on a par with the best in the world. It is a leader among private universities in India for arts, science and mathematics. With a strong emphasis on foundational knowledge, thorough academic research based on rigorous pedagogy and hands-on experience with real-world challenges, the campus in Sonepat, Haryana, draws students from 30 states in India and 27 other countries.
Over the two days, the speakers at the symposium will discuss and debate a host of topics, including art and crisis, creative challenges in the face of ideological warfare, the impact of artificial intelligence, and extension of the frontiers of imagination through the virtual world.
Also on the cards are topics such as merging boundaries in cinema, the fine arts, music and performance, contemporary role of museums and universities in the 21st century and container and the content: the form and content debate translated into architecture.
n the aftermath of the pandemic, the symposium also hopes to dwell at length on the impetus to futuristic ideas, throwing fresh light on human, scientific and technological encounters explored in a unique way.
“Draw back the curtains and open the windows wide,” said Oscar Wilde.
The idea is to delve into multiple strands of thought so that imagination can take wing and fly, and humankind can get the freedom to turn their minds towards infinity.
Chancellor, Ashoka University