Alan Turing (1912-1954). Born in England to parents living in British administered India, a twenty year old Alan wrote a six-page meditation titled ‘Nature of Spirit’. Archived as among his “non-scientific” writings, the Turing Archive also holds 72 unordered pages filed under a note: “it will be difficult, in some places impossible to know exactly what the fragments are (exactly) about”. These 6 and 72 pages at the fringes of his mathematical work, become a curious and critical surface upon which to (re)inscribe a(n other) story. A piece of (speculative historical) fiction for a pioneer of (theoretical computer) science. Dreams in digital palimpsests of ethnographic, archival and choreographic layers tell tall tales of Alan’s first twenty years in colonial India and Indonesia. In a provocative (re)shaping of his mathematical mind through premodern tāntrik practices of drawing and dancing, the work offers a fragmented speculation on decolonial implications of non-dual tāntrik art-science on our present condition of binary digitality.
This work is the penultimate installment in a long-term artistic research ‘Epistolary Ancestries’, an inquiry into a personal filiation of practice, reflected through a corpus of open letters to already dead persons.
CREDITS & ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Drawings, text & video: Kiraṇ Kumār. Programming & digital visualisation: Matthias Härtig. Sound: Ulf Langheinrich (electronic score), Netai Chandra Das (voice), musicians at Istana Mangkunegaran (Carabelan), birds across India and Indonesia. Diagrams: Alan Mathison Turing, anonymous tāntrik practitioners
With support from: Library and Archives, King’s College Cambridge, Perpustakaan Rekso Pustoko, Mangkunegaran (Archiv), Akademi Seni Mangkunegaran Surakarta, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Akademie für Theatre und Digitalität, Robert Bosch Stiftung & Literarisches Colloquium Berlin, Centre For the Arts & Centre for Quantum Technologies, National University of Singapore.
This work is dedicated to the loving memory of Santha Bhaskar (1939-2022), who stimulated its beginnings in 2017.
Kiraṇ Kumār (1983) is an interdisciplinary artist, researcher and writer. His work focuses on unpacking understandings of the human body-mind through a trifold practice of dance as art, science and spi/ritual, and on proposals for change that these understandings hold for our world today. He is currently fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart. In 2021, he received a fellowship at the Academy for Theatre and Digitality in Dortmund for his research Epistolary Ancestries #9: Dear Dead Doctor. In 2020/21 he received the Performing Arts Grant for Epistolary Ancestries #9: Dear Dead Doctor, Serendipity Arts Foundation (New Delhi). The current work presented at Shedhalle is an ongoing process.