The pandemic, and the anxiety and isolation it has brought, has many of us raising several existential questions of ourselves – who am I? what does it mean to be human? How do I find meaning and purpose in this new uncertainty? While there are no single answers to these questions, we could turn to the work of philosophers, for guidance on how we might begin to answer them.

This week as part of the Staying Connected series by India Foundation for the Arts (IFA), we bring you a shot of philosophy from the world of arts and culture with a film by Amit Dutta, an experimental filmmaker and a play by Sri Neelakanteswara Natyaseva Sangha (popularly known as Ninasam), a cultural organisation located in the village of Heggodu in Sagar taluk of Shivamogga district in Karnataka.

Film: Wittgenstein Plays Chess with Duchamp, or How Not to Do Philosophy by Amit Dutta
A mixed-media animation film based on an essay by the influential philosopher Steven B Gerrard, titled Wittgenstein Plays Chess with Duchamp or How Not to Do Philosophy: Wittgenstein on Mistakes of Surface and Depth. Using cut-out animation along with archival footage, sounds and voices, this film freely interprets the essay. With this project, Amit attempts to push the boundaries of cinema by juxtaposing it with ideas from philosophy, visual art, chess, mathematics, geometry, linguistics and psychology.

Catch the premiere here before August 20, 2020, on Mubi.
Play: Antharanga by Sri Neelakanteswara Natyaseva Sangha

A Kannada adaptation of the play Interior written by Belgian playwright Maurice Maeterlinck. Directed by Sankar Venkateswaran, Antharanga revolves around the theme of conflict between life and death. Although life seems to be powerful, in the end, it is death that wins. All our lives are controlled by fate; like puppets, it hangs precariously on a thin string. The play takes the audience into the dark recesses of this world and enables insights that lie beyond comprehension.

Watch the play here.