Asia Scholar

India, China, Japan

India

I have grown up in India within an orthodox religious community. I went on to do my PhD on the material culture of low income families in New Delhi. My readings and writings have dealt with materiality, food and practices of social groups – work I refer to as ‘the social object’ focussing upon the sociality of material artefacts.

Japan

I have worked in Japan at Hitachi. I speak Japanese. Embedded within factories and in-house design studio settings I have imbibed manufacturing culture and corporate responses to consumption practices of populations. I have respect for the traditional culture of Japan and for the making practice that channel this culture towards material making. I have studied the making practices at both the craft and the hi-tech masspro scales to realize common threads in how making is performed at different scales.

China

I first visited China in 2005. I was appointed Guest Professor at Foshan University that year. My cousin opened his Indian restaurant in Foshan that year.

我于2005年首次访问中国。那年我被委任佛山大学客座教授。同一年里,我堂兄在佛山开了他的印度餐馆。

I took photos of the new parts of the cities. I spent hours walking through old parts of cities. On some days after lunch I would lie down and sleep  in office waiting rooms. Waiting for people to come back to work. I studied the manufacturing cities of Guangdong province.

我在城市新区进行摄影,花了好几个小时走过城市的旧区。有些天我会在午餐后躺在办公室的等候室里睡觉,等待人们回来工作中,我也研究了广东省这个制造业城市。

I did research about the history of China. I read the book “Women of the Long March”. At dinner in China I often talked about the stories of these women.

我曾研究中国的历史,阅读“长征的女人”一书(链接:http://en.people.cn/n3/2016/0907/c90782-9111869.html),在中国吃饭时,我经常会谈到这些女性的故事。

I spent some years reading about Chinese people in Africa. I followed the podcast channel “China in Africa”. I listened to 327 episodes.

我花了好几年阅读并了解在非洲的中国人,并关注了播客频道“非洲中国”,听了327集。

On 26th May, 2018, I began learning Mandarin. I can now speak some words, and can write some characters. I can sing a Christine Fan song. I have a website for this project: https://sites.google.com/view/myhanyu/home.

2018年5月26日,我开始学习普通话。我现在可以经行一些普通的谈话,可以写一些字,我还可以唱一首范伟琪的歌。我有这么一个项目的网站:https://sites.google.com/view/myhanyu/home。

 

South and South East Asia

I spent time as the regional editor for South and South East Asia on the International Project “The Encyclopedia of Asian Design” (Bloomsbury Publishers, London). I am now connected to the design and art community in every country from Pakistan to Timor Leste. I have travelled to many of these countries and participated in meetings – physically, textually on the web through facebook/ email/ LinkedIn/ Twitter/ whatsApp, in audio conversation through skype/hangouts/viber – with many people. Some of these people are contributing to the project, many others helped me find people who could contribute. Thats about 200 contributors and another 200 people who I have spoken with (badgered) and asked for help. I have a database of peers – designers, gallery curators, museum based researches, anthropologists, artists, academics, activists, theorists – and have developed this fascination for each country in this patch. I have old maps of Asia (somewhere in this blog), I have transferred this passion/this love for Asia to many students. I have read when When Asia was the World, watched 13th Warrior depict Ibn Fadlan through the persona of a corpulent Antonio Banderas and listened to Tim Macintosh-Smith narrate the travels of Ibn Battuta and ended up with looking at the world with Asian Eyes – and agreed with Eliot “That is not it, at all” (in Prufrock).