Reading in Tongues | Colomboscope


Dates: August 7 – September 4, 2021
Venue: Online
Registration: No registration required. All talks and film screenings are accessible on the Ishara website via the event links below

In anticipation of the seventh edition of Colomboscope, Ishara Art Foundation is pleased to present Reading in Tongues, a four-part virtual programme series organised in partnership with Colomboscope through the month of August 2021. The programme will include film-screenings, live conversations, talks and a listening session with Cecilia VicuñaShalim M Hussain of the Miyah Poets, Vindhya Buthpitiya and Timothy P.A. Cooper; Shahzad Bashir, and Slavs and Tatars.

‘Reading in Tongues’ is a reading room initiative that forms part of the upcoming Colomboscope festival Language is Migrant in Sri Lanka, conceived as a time-space for assembling acts of reading, storytelling, performed and sonic narratives that draw from Gloria Anzaldua’s ‘Letter to Third World Women Writers’ (1979). Artists’ publications including zines, poetry and journals will be introduced and activated by a cycle of programming, on-site / online radio transmission, literary projects and performances. The tongue is considered a living form exposing that language is never neutral, while modelling expressions of rebellion, the mutation of inheritance and a shelter for poesis to emerge. ‘Reading in Tongues’ is envisioned as a convivial junction where estranged dialects, invented language, sonic vibrations are embraced by engaged listening and performative reading.

This edition of Colomboscope, Language is Migrant, journeys from a poem-manifesto by Chilean artist and poet Cecilia Vicuña of the same title. She writes: “Words move from language to language, from culture to culture, from mouth to mouth. Our bodies are migrants; cells and bacteria are migrants too. Even galaxies migrate.” Artists compose, decipher and perform as vital travellers and storytellers of our times. Often, repairing relations by drawing material articulations from deep losses, silence and erasures while inventing language forms as bridges between communal narratives, official records and submerged histories. The festival brings together intergenerational cultural practices from across Sri Lanka, South Asia and varied international contexts fostering global dialogue. Curated by Anushka Rajendran with artistic director Natasha Ginwala, several commissioned artworks and long-term projects will mobilise acts of transmission that embrace collective synergies and refuse parochial attitudes that are on the rise while dwelling in place. 


August 7 to August 14, 2021
¿Qué es para usted la poesía? / What is Poetry to You? by Cecilia Vicuña

August 7 to August 28, 2021
Scratches on Celluloid  Directed by Timothy P.A. Cooper and Vindhya Buthpitiya. Produced by Abeera Arif-Bashir


Saturday, August 7, 2021
Reading in Tongues: Natasha Ginwala and Anushka Rajendran with Cecilia Vicuña
19:30 – 20:30 Colombo | 18:00 – 19:00 Dubai | 15:00 – 16:00 London

Saturday, August 14, 2021
Listening to Miyah Poets
19:30 – 20:30 Colombo | 18:00 – 19:00 Dubai | 15:00 – 16:00 London

Saturday, August 21, 2021
Scratches on Celluloid: Timothy P.A. Cooper and Vindhya Buthpitiya
19:30 – 20:30 Colombo | 18:00 – 19:00 Dubai | 15:00 – 16:00 London

Saturday, September 4, 2021
Hurufis and the Materiality of Language: Shahzad Bashir with Slavs and Tatars
19:30 – 20:30 Colombo | 18:00 – 19:00 Dubai | 15:00 – 16:00 London

‘Reading in Tongues’ is presented in partnership with Ishara Art Foundation.

About Colomboscope:
Colomboscope is a contemporary arts festival and creative platform for interdisciplinary dialogue that has grown steadily within the cultural landscape of Colombo since 2013. The festival has worked with a range of intergenerational artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers, social theorists and scientific researchers from Sri Lanka and internationally delivering a focused programme with each festival edition held at key historic sites in Colombo. Several of the cultural practitioners participating in Colomboscope have gone on to show their work within regional and international exhibitions thereafter. The festival organisers are committed to build a sustainable and context-responsive environment for cultural producers to continue generating path breaking, collaborative and genre defying approaches in the field.
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