Reading List, October 2022
Our monthly stories are productions looking to connect people to the magic of stories.
We create supplementary reading lists as a way to give you an insight into the inspirations and thinking behind our monthly stories. These reading lists take you behind the story, revealing the process of its making.
Rasa → Śṛṅgāraḥ (शृङ्गारः): Romance, Love, attractiveness. Presiding deity: Vishnu. Colour: light green, Adbhutam (अद्भुतं): Wonder, amazement. Presiding deity: Brahma. Colour: yellow
Archetype → Creator
The call of creativity; it’s what makes you secretly believe in worlds that don’t exist. It’s the call that rises within you, despite reality, despite improbability or even impossibility, and even despite you. It’s the voice that tells you that it isn’t only because it wasn’t believed in. The urge to create is the call to take part in the play of life embedded in our DNA through the course of evolution and time. It’s what reveals to you a world that no one else can see but so close to the grasp of your hands only; a world that doesn't exist until you decide that it must be.
This is the first of a story series exploring human desire. This story is told as seen by Paul— a character modelled after the creator archetype used in our storytelling. The core desire of this archetype is to colour the world with their imagination brought to reality. The desire to create is one of the most primeval in us humans, deeply connected to the longing to leave a mark on our world, and contribute some sense of order to it—whether as beauty, ease or other means. This story explores that desire and how a creator, even when put in a completely different reality, will always reencounter this call to create as an inherent part of their way of making sense of this world.
The setting of the story was inspired by many ideas, individuals and events that you can find through this reading list.
2020, Dianne Chisholm. Biophilia, Creative Involution, and the Ecological Future of Queer Desire: Ecophilia is part sexual fetishism part activism; it’s allowing yourself to feel sensations connecting to the earth’s raw, pervasive sweetness; a celebration of that deeply biophilic connection to all life.
2018, Introduction to Sanskrit Chanda. M. Howladar Ph. D, Department of Sanskrit, Sidho-Kanho-Birsha University, Purulia, West Bengal: Any composition with a musical sound is called Chanda. Chanda has been one of the Vedāṅgas since the Vedic period. Vedic verses are composed in several Chandas. The number of main Vedic Chandas is seven and corresponds to the seven colours in white light with the seven wavelengths. The study of Chandas is elemental to eastern ideas of rhythm.
2021, Simon Blackfoot, Colombo: This personal memoir of discovering a popular idea of divinity from a new culture exposes how people from different parts of the world can relate to the same ideas through experience.
2020, Investigating, identity; the body in art. The Metropolitan Museum of Arts, New York: Many artists explore their creativity through representations of the body and by using their own bodies in the process. This is because the human body is central to how we understand facets of identity such as gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity. This story by the MoMA unpacks the body as a loaded creative muse.
2017, Daniel Kunitz. How art has depicted the ideal male body through history, Artsy: The ideal depiction of the male body has been linked to showing class and wealth as much to physical beauty per se. This story captures the evolution of depicting male beauty.
The Hindu solar deity is often connected to the ideas of prosperity, masculine beauty and abundance. Surya is worshiped in several countries in South Asia from India to Sri Lanka through their agrarian histories.
The duality between light and dark has always inspired creators in the artistic representations of good and evil. The beauty of light and shadows has been extensively used in literature, art and theatre as a potent symbol for opposite poles of morality. But, this symbolism is also the root of very problematic concepts connected to race and hierarchy.
Exotica—a musical genre stemming from the fantasy of the exotic islands— reveals the ideas of faraway paradise in the world during the 1940 and onward. The general use of the word ‘exotic’ also bears this idea now.
Western artists' depiction of the eastern world came to be identified as an ‘ism’ of its own as Orientalism in art history, literature and cultural studies.
2008, Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Woody Allen. Warner Bros. Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer: A story of two American women, Vicky and Cristina, who spend a summer in Barcelona, where they meet an artist, Juan Antonio, who is attracted to both of them while still enamoured of his mentally and emotionally unstable ex-wife María. The story depicts how people are often enamoured by new places and cultures to the point of blindness.
2005, Saraswatī. Pradeep Kumar Gan Dr. Sanjeeb Kumar Mohanty. Odisha Magazine: This short paper introduces Saraswatī—the goddess of the arts and learning according to Hindu beliefs.
Saraswati means ‘she of the stream, the flowing movement’, and is a natural name for a river; but it also means eloquence and the power of speech, as also a movement of inspiration. This account of the Indian saint Aurobindo’s vision of Saraswatī allows us to see a personal vision of the goddess as seen by a devotee.
2021, Public Works. Public Works Publishing, Colombo: Laki Senanayake was an artist like no other. This personal memoir of Laki was written on the day of his passing; it captures what it meant to live a creative life, the Laki way; wild, genius and practical.
The Nobel laureate and Chile’s all-time literary great Pablo Neruda spent some time in Sri Lanka working for the consulate in the late 1920s. He made friends with Colombo’s artistic circles and spent most of his time here finding inspiration for his literary works in the natural abundance of the island. However, his memory is tarnished by a confession of a rape recorded in Neruda’s personal memoirs; there are many layers to this story; 1. Understanding Neruda’s life in Ceylon 2. A personal account of a lover of Neruda’s poetry trying to make peace with his act of rape in Ceylon 3. A fictional story of Neruda’s half-Sri-Lankan daughter born from the rape and, 4. The sad and more likely story of what happened to Neruda’s victim Thangamma
>> Read the previous reading list