Pallavi Paul, Ph.D.
Cinema Studies, Artist
Berlin / New Delhi
from September to December 2023
Born in 1987 in New Delhi
Studied Film Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University
PneumaThrough the last two years of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the “breath” has moved from being a recessed biological function to a palpable collective act. While this time of contagion has produced a unique alertness to the breath, it is also impossible to think of any other moment in the history of our shared world without thinking of this most fundamental act of claiming life. To breathe is to avow the élan vital. The time of the breath, then, is a sensorial, spiritual, political, scientific, and historical time. This short and felt interval also poses a unique challenge for the act of filming. How does one produce an image of something that is present but invisible? The chasm between sensation and representation becomes instantly perceptible. The unrepresentability of the breath swells further as it weaves across various bodies, landscapes, and stories. The split second of the breath is also a splitting of the osmotic edges of cinema. In a climate in which images and the people they encounter are heaving, film frames and edits straddle a delicate boundary between inspiration (breathing in) and expiration (breathing out). To produce a breathable cinematic time is now layered with echoes of life, imagination, disappearance, and death.
My project tries to establish aesthetic and theoretical transmissions with this altered timescape.
Paul, Pallavi. “The Work of Freedom in a World of Images.” In “Documentary Now”, edited by Ravi Vasudevan, special issue, Marg 70, no. 1 (2018): 100–103.
—. “Mediatised Contagion: Some Propositions on Pandemic Media.” BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies 13, no. 1 (2022): 12–18.
—. “Objects as Exhibits: Performances of the Forensic.” In Acts of Media: Law and Media in Contemporary India, edited by Siddharth Narrain, 218–237. New Delhi: SAGE, 2022.