Simulating the “city of joy”: state choreography and the re-appropriation of public spaces in Kolkata
Videos of what seems like enforced and orchestrated solidarity, performed by celebrities from the film industry in Kolkata, each scene blending into another, each upper-class urban home-space resembling the other, each envisioning a brighter future, rendering the same song in multiple voices, with metaphors of cities smiling again, circulated through social media are problematic in the erasures of particularities, “of the presence of the poor, of crime, of dirt, of work”. While the nature of public spaces and performances of the public gathering is evolving amidst a pandemic, this paper, probing primarily into the state-sponsored strategic public performances in COVID-affected Kolkata, argues that the simulation and performance of state-envisioned “joy” by a postcolonial neoliberal city to mimic the imagined global city, to embody “the ageographia, the surveillance and control, the simulation without end” has frightfully familiar echoes of coloniality and hegemonic control.
Ageographia, state choreography, simulation, colonial mimicry, neoliberal Kolkata
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Film and Theatre
Sukanya Chakrabarti. "Simulating the “city of joy”: state choreography and the re-appropriation of public spaces in Kolkata" Urban Geography (2022): 886-894. https://doi.org/10.1080/02723638.2022.2044660