A French take on modern India

The Pompidou Centre in Paris is about to open its summer exhibition ‘Paris-Delhi- Bombay’.  Thirty Indian and 17 French artists were commissioned to make works inspired by contemporary India.

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Awe-inspiring artist Anish Kapoor at Paris’ Grand Palais

The artist Anish Kapoor is currently exhibiting at Paris’ Grand Palais as part of a yearly exhibition showcasing the works of some of the most internationally renowned artists. Like those that have exhibited before him, Kapoor was asked to turn his vision to the vast interior space of the 19th century building that was erected as part of the universal exhibition that also gave birth to Paris’s most famous monument, the Eiffel tower.

The work can be viewed either from within or outside the sculpture. It is on a truly monumental scale and puts Kapoor in that rare category of artist who is able to create work that is quite simply awe-inspiring.

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Does human perception of the world come from experience or is part of it already embedded in the mind?

A team of neuroscientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) believe that they have come up with the answer to an age-old philosphical riddle.  If a blind person were suddenly able to see, would he be able to recognize by sight the shape of an object he previously knew only by touch? The question was originally formulated in 1668 by the British politician and scientist William Molyneux in a letter to John Locke and has been discussed ever since.  The empiricists favoured the nurture idea, whilst the nativists have been more inclined to believe in an innate knowledge. John Locke himself was a firm believer that the knowledge was acquired through experience.

First broadcast on RFI in April 2011. Listen here

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Digital culture in a 19th-century monument

Earlier this month, Paris inaugurated the Gaîté Lyrique, a cultural institution dedicated to digital media. Split over four floors, including a theatre, dance studio, resource centre and video game area, it aims to investigate the relationship between art, technology and society. But if the last attempt at combining grand plans with this 19th century building ended in a monumental flop, what makes this time round any different?

First published at RFI on 13 March 2011. Listen to programme here.

British author Iain Sinclair on French influences and London Orbital

British author Iain Sinclair’s work is almost exclusively associated with London and more particularly the city’s East End. Meeting him in Paris is a bizarre experience. But eight years after it was first published in the UK, his book London Orbital is being translated into French.

The publication may surprise some of his UK readership but Sinclair says that getting the book translated and coming to Paris has allowed him “a completely new way of interrogating the book.”

First appeared on RFI 20 November 2010. Listen to interview here.

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