The Other in the Space of An-Other

(A Brief-Scape from  152 pages of written work)

[ Supervisors: Annette Arlander, Leena Rouhianen, Ray Langenbach, Tero Nauha.]

[Examiners: Roi Vaara & Lea Kantonen.]

Theatre academy, University of the Arts, Helsinki, Finland.

2015 – Master of Arts Degree Programme in Live Arts and Performance Studies


The written part of my thesis begins with a background of my geographical otherness of ‘hills people’ (essentially the tribes) and ‘plains people.’ The thesis discusses the basic features of my relationship with the Finnish society; as one of the reasons to investigate the question of Otherness in my work. The thesis discusses three artworks which I produced in two sections.

The first section includes the previous works as preliminaries, which connects to the question of the other.

The second section includes three artworks, produced during the studies in MA Degree Programme in Live Arts and Performance Studies at the Theatre Academy, and my artistic thesis work. Additionally the thesis includes few independent works as a link to my artistic work and the aftermath. The basis of the thesis paper looks into the inquiry of the ongoing tensions which surround the romanticizing of the Other.

The inquiry of problematics of community network and the link between political and social status among the locals and outsiders is reflected through the artistic works and discussions at the public, gallery, academic and alternative localities.

The thesis in relation to the artistic works explores with an inquiry on the ideals which privilege unity over difference, immediacy over mediation, empathy over recognition of one’s understanding of the other.

                                                       Body of the Thesis work

First part concentrates on the background where I introduce my geographical otherness. Brief expression of historical and political limbs that bind the map of my birthplace. Features in relation to the Finnish society where I encountered the difference in the dynamics of culture.

Second part concerns the theoreticians whom I referred during my studies. Ethnographic methodology (Dwight Conquergood); Issues in performance ( Marwin Carlsson); Twice-behaved behavior (Richard Schechner) and Inter-cultural performance (Guillermo Gómez-Peña).

Third part introduces some of the performance artists working with similar issues; socio-political and trans-cultural otherness  (Joseph Beuys, Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Coco Fusco’s collaboration, Tania Bruguera).

Fourth part in two sections:

Transitory phase – community performance & trans-cultural otherness.

Artistic work (based on the MA degree) and Independent works supporting the question of Otherness.

Fifth part includes the transcription of audio-visual materials. Discussion forum and an interview of a Finnish expat/immigrant, under the banner of the topic of Otherness.

Sixth part sums up with reflective notes on my works with the support of philosophical insights from references related to the question of Otherness. Some of the think tangs and philosophers I discussed are: Jacques Rancière, Jean Francois Staszak, Julia Kristeva, Rudi Viskar and mainly Emanuel Levinas.

Excerpt from the Conclusion:

[…] I made an effort to emphasize the upper case in the depiction of the “Other”, corresponding with the upper case in the space of An-Other. The Other here is more definite, having no alternative, while the space of An-Other is not definite. In this case, it appears to represent ‘them’ since it stands in the similar representation in uppercase. I dissected another into An-Other in order to examine the equal reciprocation when we see ourselves in the position of the Other. To me An-Other appears to be waiting for acceptance and it has to adopt the means to be integrated. But in the process of integration, the characterization never diminishes. Hence in its negation, An-Other maintains its depiction in the upper case…[…]

I attempted to sum up by questioning the unchanging nature of the otherness. Through my thesis work I explore that the task to finding the other in me, while encountering the community frames and by being in the trans-cultural sit; the Other always remains the other. I look forward to the future when I can implement further, on the space of the Other. There is much more to explore regarding the problematics of border-boundary, issues of adaptation and paper works, which acknowledge one’s identity.

Excerpts from an independent manuscript “Manifestation” which I included in my thesis – in the interrogative note:

[… Unconditional journey has been the track of scribing within this biological tool  “my left hand”. This left hand will not go for conclusion as the pastel shades will maintain the performance of the embodied readers. The chapters unfolded without any patterned indication, contents appeared within the flow of words and in this way the whole attempt was to distort the usualness. In the process of distortion still there has been some link or mapping of assumptions. The faculty of senses made an attempt to relay numerous phases of occurrence. Just like the irregular patterns of ocean waves, there has been moments where provocation and mild fluidity of thinking sculpture is in rotundity. When the whole distance of these pages will be covered through perusing, one can see the glimpse of spoken sculpture. When there will be an urge to pass on the manifestation from one to the Other, one can feel the presence of social sculpture. The shifts taken by ‘I’, ‘We’, ‘One’ and the ‘Other’, have been exploring beyond the personified context. It seems we are psychologically playing the role of prey and predator. Whether we are the Other in the space of another, or the other way around? Why are we vulnerable to each other’s being, space and presence?…]

Excerpts from the Examiner’s Evaluation Report

Roi Vaara:

[…] Suvadeep Das is not alone with his experiences. The subject matter Suvadeep Das is working with is one of the hottest topics in Europa right now as the inflow of masses of refugees enter western countries. That is now in everybody’s concern. How to manage the actual current affair is splitting up the people for and against in all ends. In this respect the work Suvadeep Das is dealing with is of vast importance and relevance. […]

Suvadeep Das can analyse performance and the act of performance. He can articulate his choreographic/dramatic and aesthetic approaches and choices and he can demonstrate his critical thinking and creative commitment to preparing a performance. He can find personal solutions regarding various aspects of a production. Suvadeep Das acts constructively and interactively in leading the artistic team and working as a member of it.

(29.11.2015  Budapest)

Lea Kantonen:

The MA thesis of Suvadeep Das examines the possibilities of trans-cultural encounters between an artist immigrated from India and culturally and ethnically mixed audience in Finland. Trans-cultural communication has become a burning issue in Finland as well as elsewhere in European Union, and issue of the artistic research of Das is timely. It is based on the artist’s lived experience of himself as an “other” both in India, his country of origin, and in Finland, his country of residence. […]

[…] However for me there was a very interesting question presented by Das himself: how long time do we Finnish people need for accepting the non-white people in our country and becoming part of our life? The excuse that Finland is a relatively young state cannot be accepted as a standard way to explain away our failure to receive immigrants in a more friendly way. […]

(30.11.2015 )

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