By Lorilynn Lomeli
Colorful posters and books ornament the walls, illustrating how the Bollywood film industry reflects the cultural shifts in globalizing India. The Visual Culture of Bollywood exhibit, currently displayed in the lower level of the Harrington Learning Commons, gives students an opportunity to view other cultures and social forms.
“The films have also become more international in their themes, reflecting influences such as manga, noir and Hong Kong martial arts cinema,” said Rohit Chopra, one of the curators of this project and a professor in the Communication Department.
Conscious American themes have also infiltrated the film industry such as the use of global brands DNKY and GAP, for example.
In order to execute this project, the curators – Helene Lafrance, Chopra and Judith Rodriguez – spent a lot of time collaborating.
Chopra remarked that they “wanted to be as representative as possible in terms of themes and various aesthetics and styles while also providing some sense of historical balance.”
Students working at the library also helped with the project by folding and distributing brochures. The Office of Global Engagement, the Communication Department, the university library and the Office of Multicultural Learning also gave support for this exhibit. Helen Otero, office manager in the Communication Department, helped manage expenses for the project.
As lofty as this project was to procure, some small challenges came along the way. It was difficult for the curators to set up the project in the library because they did not want to create noise and distract students studying.
The curators hope to foster discourse about Bollywood and South Asian culture, and the world in general. Through the use of technology and networking, the globe is becoming increasingly interconnected, allowing people to engage within foreign political, cultural, traditional, societal and economic constructs.
“Silicon Valley is often considered a key node in a global network of capital, information and culture, and is, accordingly, seen as a driver of globalization. Yet, precisely because of its privilege, it has the luxury of being indifferent to much of what goes on in the rest of the world,” Chopra said. “Or if it does engage with the world, it tends to do so on its own conditions. This exhibit, in a small way, asks us to look at other cultural and social forms on their own terms.”
The curators hope to create similar exhibits next year at Santa Clara, including global cinema, hip-hop or media cities such as Bombay, London and San Francisco.
The exhibit will be open for all viewers in the Learning Commons until June 21.
Contact Lorilynn Lomeli at firstname.lastname@example.org.