Jesal Kapadia is an artist from Mumbai, based in New York City and Cambridge, MA.
Employing mediums such as the book, the archive and the photograph, as well as experimental film, video and performance, her work explores the potential forms of non-capitalist subjectivities. Her interests lie in an ethical praxis of being-in-common, and the cultivation of an awareness of art that is place-based, diversified, multiple, small-scale, collective and autonomous.
In her work, Jesal has long been concerned with the imaginative and affective dimensions of migration that exceed purely economic analysis – how globalization and modernization feels, rather than mere statistics. Her art tends to have a connection to a prior moment of non-globalization, generating a sense of affinity for time and space that is pre-colonial, or post-capitalist, in nature. She looks for poems, songs, images, writings, food, languages and voices that contain traces of an invisible order that constantly shifts upon becoming visible. Emphasizing a form that refuses to be captured but continues to flow into other forms, becoming pidgin, she has created works that are specific to cities, in particular Chandigarh, Dubai, Mumbai, New York City and most recently Gangtok.
Since 2001, Jesal has collectively edited art for Rethinking Marxism (a journal of economics, culture and society) as well as organized and participated in events with members of 16beaver group (an artist community in downtown New York that functions as an open platform for discussion, critique and collaboration). Over the last ten years she has taught and developed a number of courses and seminars at various schools, most extensively at the International Center for Photography, the New School for Public Engagement and Rhode Island School of Design, as well as Cooper Union and Cuny Staten Island. Her work in different classrooms and with the two collectives has further enabled her explorations into the fragile but dynamic exchange between art and organizing, art and social change, and art and pedagogy. Since 2012, Jesal has collaborated with members of Cambridge-based Wednesday Discussion Group and WRise, activating dialogues on the question of patriarchy and violence in our contemporary society.
He work has been shown at various museums including the New Museum, the Queens Museum, the Carpenter Center, Recent screenings, installations and lecture-performances include the series ‘Global Revolt: Cinematic Ammunition’ at Anthology Film Archives as part of Flaherty NYC, ‘Working in and out of the Archive’ with Pad.ma at Gallery TPW in Toronto, ‘Memories Cant Wait’ symposium at ICP-Bard program in New York City, ‘Stranger Economies’ conference at the University of Washington, Seattle, ‘And And And’ platform at Documenta 13 in Kassel, ‘Fiat: Experiments in Financial Semantics’ at the Neiman Gallery in Columbia University, ‘Prolonged Engagement’ at EFA Project Space in New York and ‘Art and Revolution’ at the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit. Recent writings and publications include ‘Shifter’ issue #19 and #20, and ‘Tidal Journal’ issue #4 with Occupy Theory. Her current work is focused on reflections and struggles on the mountain and the resurgent idea of ‘satyagraha’, led by the community-based activists in Gangtok, Sikkim, and the members of ACT (Affected Citizens of Teesta river) in the north east part of India, where they conducted a year-long hunger strike protesting the construction of hydroelectric dams proposed for the Himalayan region.