uncode

celebrating diversities, embodying resistances

the projects

Nighiyaan Chaawan.jpg

Nighiyaan Chhawan (Warm Shadows)

Aakash Chhabra

Weaving personal family archives, reenacted rituals and stories of his mother's girlhood the filmmaker grew up listening to as bedtime fables, the film is about a secret that must be kept hidden, despite the yearning to break free.

 

Otlo.jpg

Otlo (Bench)

Prachee Bajania

A film about a group of middle-aged women who meet regularly to share stories, woes and daydreams. Set in Dhrangadhra, a small town in central Gujarat, the film will document their journeys and camaraderie as they navigate everyday patriarchy.

 

Pari.jpg

Pari

Priya Sen

The film seeks to recall, three years after a series of events in the life of Pari and her lover, a violent rupture that allowed in a “life” held by desire and not duty.

Sound of Peace.jpg

Sound of Peace

Rafina Khatun

The story of Gulnaz, a radio jockey in Ahmedabad, collecting sounds from her city that bears burdens from the past, even as she tries to break boundaries that cannot easily be crossed.

 

The Marked Self.jpg

The Marked Self

Rajkumari Ahirwar, Ruchika Negi

Grassroots Dalit women activists and educators working on gender based violence in Meharoni, Uttar Pradesh, explore how they negotiate their caste experiences within personal and everyday domains of living.

Home-No-Home.jpg

Home-No-Home

Raqeeb Raza, Manvendra Singh Thakur

A project at the cross-sections of performance and visual art that aspires to open up many meanings and questions around the idea of home and belonging from a lens of queerness.

 

the commissioning brief

We are the evolving outcomes of hard won battles, of new and persistent struggles. Our powerful articulations – as women, queer and trans persons, inhabiting a spectrum of identities and realities, are driven not just by our own longings, but of all those who fought before us, speaking up against the control over our bodies, lives and autonomies. In the face of structural patriarchy, casteism, misogyny, heteronormativity, islamophobia and ableism that perpetuate rigid and toxic notions of beauty, colour, shape, size, attire, labour, livelihood, faith, desire and voice, we assert ourselves, though not without being shamed and penalised.

 

The insidious rituals of patriarchy, continue to produce us, label us, code us, limit us. That efficient, well-oiled web that connects our seemingly unrelated oppressive experiences across community and geography, operating meticulously through systems of law, state and governance, economy, culture and education, extending up to and beyond the home, the workplace and familial and intimate relationships. Its power is manifest in the real and notional entitlement that male bodies, especially upper caste male bodies, have over all others. In the midst of patronising platitudes, sexual, casteist and communal violence - in the name of love, honour, hate, policing, shame, development and correction continues to surge. Rapists, mobs, trolls are publicly celebrated and rewarded, even as marital rape retains legal sanction. The bodies of women who dare to speak up are up for auction, communities are othered and being systematically broken down. The locking up inside and outside of homes during the pandemic that has already compromised and destroyed countless lives and livelihoods has unleased new forms of trauma. The rights of trans persons to self-definition remain subject to dehumanising bureaucratic scrutiny and medicalisation. The Supreme Court judgement upholding our constitutional claims to sexual and bodily autonomy, choice and dignity stands as confirmation of the rights that belong to us, but they need assertion in an empowering context - that struggle remains the larger one.

There are inequalities, dissonances and hostilities to counter and negotiate, both within and outside, those that inform our most private moments to those that regulate our public and social selves. Labour to leisure, everything is controlled, our voices, knowledge and experiences, overlooked and dismissed. The rights to speak up, define ourselves, to love and live freely are also questions of employment, healthcare, freedom of expression, education, houses, water, safe spaces, citizenship and the disproportionate burdens communities bear. How do we assert our selves, choices, identities, dreams and minds, be comfortable with the limits and rebellions of our abilities and disabilities, the freedom to walk, run or stay still, how do we contend with, live with families that look away, inflict pain, other us, because we refuse to conform to gendered codes and strive to be free, to be complete, to be ourselves? Why must our rights, desires, histories and names be crimes? How do we respond to and heal from the attacks on our bodies and minds – individual and community?

The last two decades have been of anger, rage and resistance against stubborn cultures of violence, oppression and exclusion. People have been pulled back enough, silenced enough and shouted down enough. Everyday mutinies against dominant mores are producing new ways of looking, imagining, being, loving, living and forming relationships and alliances that are empowering and hopeful. This has sparked artistic engagements and expressions that vigorously expose and oppose prejudice, inequality and violence, while encouraging affirmative perspectives, conversations and imaginations.

 

It is this hope, agency, turmoil, intricacy and passion that we intend these films to capture and bring alive, with nuance and depth. We seek films inspired by peoples’ lived experiences and their readings of their worlds, their aspirations, fears, pains, triumphs, fantasies, vulnerabilities, transgressions and tales of love, courage, resilience and solidarity. Stories that reflect, question, compel, disrupt and transcend popular visual vocabulary and contest dominant and claustrophobic polarities and stereotypes, contributing to the expanding political and artistic discourse around individual and collective lives, memories, histories, complexities and possibilities. To be seen. To be heard. To count.

Rough Edges