Residency artists and researchers

Painting, drawing, printmaking

Devashish Sharma

Artist, Researcher

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

I will start with the sound of laughter, and see where that takes me.

I find laughter very mysterious and would like to learn more about it; why do humans laugh? Is laughter contagious – why? How do humour and laughter shape our understanding of the world?

A few months ago, I was sharing some questions about laughter with my parents, and as they listened to me, my mother wondered out aloud, What would have been the first thing that humans laughed at?’ So, I may start there, because that is quite literally a question of beginnings, a question about the origin of laughter. Also, to begin with, I would like to first understand what qualifies as laughter.

Sometimes being away from what is familiar provides a much-needed perspective on how one approaches various aspects of life; things that are often so close to us, or so intrinsically a part of who we are that they have become invisible over time.

The Saari Residence will provide a time of studious leisure, a time for retreat, allowing me to work on my project; to learn more about the nature of humour and laughter, and the potential they hold as a form of communication, while also experimenting with their social and performative qualities within my praxis. My project may take the form of social experiments, sound compositions, informal gatherings, and maybe a few writings.

I live in Pune, a city in the western part of India. Research on built environments, institutional structures, the process of institute-making, and the audiences that they engage with are a key part of my praxis. I am interested in creating and enquiring into sites for dialogue, and looking more closely at the politics of learning, questioning and imagining.

Over the past few years some of my projects have been supported by the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA), New Delhi, Goethe Institut, New Delhi, and I have also been a part of What Could/ Should Curating Do (WC/SCD), Belgrade, the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, Netherlands, and more recently, the Canary Project Space, Pune, and the Iatrus Residency, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria.