8 online sessions
25 September and 17 October 2020

Imagined and Produced by
Pickle Factory Dance Foundation
Goethe Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Kolkata

Curated by
Vikram Iyengar, Sharvari Sastry, Christophe Knoch
Co-presented with
Offbeat CCU

8 curated conversations and presentations addressing the live performance experience as an art and part of the human act of assembly. 

In the wake of the COVID19 pandemic, all gatherings have come to a grinding halt. Human-to-human contact has suddenly become dangerous, spaces and occasions that bring us together are now looked upon with suspicion, and un-camouflaged faces are a rare sight. In losing the ability to gather, we have also realised how vital it is for us to assemble together, and to have public spaces that encourage and welcome this most human of desires. 

The performing arts sector across the world is among the worst hit.  The tactile, visceral, sensorial bedrock of human-to-human contact in real time, place and space is fundamental to the live performance experience. As we reckon with these new realities, we are faced with an incredible opportunity to revisit our pasts and reshape our futures by addressing fundamental questions about the human experience and the creative magic of being together.

This is where CONTAGION: Performance, Space, Community steps in, with a conviction that the live performance experience is vital for the health of a society and that performance spaces and experiences should be re-imagined as a celebration of that vitality.



25 September – 17 October 2020​

Session 1:
Come Together Right Now!

Friday, 25 September 2020
7 to 8.30pm IST

What does it mean to participate in and create a collective presence?
What are those special ephemeral experiences that occur only when people come together as doers and watchers in the same time and space?

with Malavika Banerjee (India), Nusrat Chowdhury (Bangladesh), Ratna Pathak Shah (India), Shona McCarthy (Scotland)

Session 2:
Going Live

Friday, 26 September 2020
7 to 8.30pm IST

How does performance connect the social, the political, and the human?
Why do we need it?

with Firenza Guidi (Wales), Nina Tecklenburg (Germany), Samik Bandopadhyay (India)

Session 3:
Plague, Pandemics, Performance

Friday, 2 October 2020
7 to 8.30pm IST

How has our collective consciousness been framed by the plagues past?
Can thinking with performance reframe the way we conceive of collectivities and contagion?

with Daminee Basu (India), Jhuma Basak (India)

Session 4:
Custom Made

Saturday, 3 October 2020
7 to 8.30pm IST

How have arts practices shaped, supported or subverted social consciousness and community structures?
What new customs do we need to imagine to come together again?

with Joshua Pether (Australia), Kapila Venu (India), Sunil Shanbag (India)

Session 5:
The Desire to be Infected

Friday, 9 October 2020
7 to 8.30pm IST

Can we reframe the notion of infection as incidents of creative transmission?Can the pathologies they groom, host and send out into the world inspire us to imagine different ways of being?

with Agata Siniarska (Poland), Mandeep Raikhy (India)

Session 6:
Community Catalysts

Saturday, 10 October 2020
7 to 8.30pm IST

How have performance spaces and activity become nodes for cultural, economic, and sociopolitical conversation and action?

with Ahmed Soura (Burkina Faso), Pamela Lopez (Chile), Shilppika Bordoloi (India), Sudhanva Deshpande (India)

Session 7:
Lockdown Learnings

Friday, 16 October 2020
7 to 8.30pm IST

What can and should our venues be to serve the artists, audiences and formats of tomorrow without invalidating, forgetting and replacing those of yesterday?

with key persons from repurposed venues in Calcutta: Anubha Fatehpuria and Vinay Sharma (Padatik Theatre), Meghdut RoyChowdhury and Nishit Arora (Offbeat CCU)

Session 8:
The Pickle Plan: Recipes for the Future

Saturday, 17 October 2020
7 to 8.30pm IST

How can artistic and social concerns intersect, innovate and inspire to create a thriving and socially engaged arts and community centre?
How do we build these reciprocal relationships to form a sound foundation for the Pickle Factory venue?    

with Bishakha Datta (India), Dakxin Bajrange (India), Nachiket Mor (India), Paromita Chakravarti (India), Sameera Iyengar (India)


Contagion: Performance, Space, Community
is imagined and produced by
Pickle Factory Dance Foundation, Calcutta in partnership with Goethe Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Kolkata.
The project is co-presented with Offbeat CCU

Project Partners: Goethe Institut, Bangladesh; Australian Consulate, Kolkata; Wales Arts International
Curators: Vikram Iyengar, Sharvari Sastry, Christophe Knoch 
Project Management: Kunal Chakraborty
Creatives: Sharanya Chattopadhyay
PR and Communications: Kritika Dey
Social Media: Sangram Mukhopadhyay and Srestha Das Chowdhury
Production: Dana Roy and Rebecca Johns
Documentation: Sohini Banerjee and Aopala Banerjee
Administration: Jayati Chakraborty and Sharmistha Sarker


Agniva Ray, Analina Sanyal, Ankita Banerjee, Christine Devaney, DAG Museums, Daniel Sim, Deep Ghosh, Dianne Tauro, Dipti Rao, East Bengal Ultras TV, Friso Maecker, Hema Rance, Koninika Roy, Lindsey Colbourne, Mahmud Alam, Malavika Banerjee, Meghdut RoyChowdhury, Madhura Aphale, Mukta Pai, Nicola Morgan, Nimi Ravindran, Nishit Arora, Nora Fleruy, Pallavi Khare, Parmesh Shahani, Ramanjit Kaur, Rashmi Dhanwani, Ruchira Das, Saleem Gondal, Sameera Iyengar, Sanchayita Bhattacharya, Shiva Pathak, Sreetoma Purkayastha, Subhagata Singha (Rivu), Sudeshna Banerjee, Sudipta Ghosh, Sumit Roy, Sumona Chakravarty, Toshal Gandhi, Yadhukrishnan TM