Visuality, Cityscapes, Public History: Ways of thinking Contemporary Kerala


This project aims to use the visual as a way of studying Kerala’s contemporary public history. It looks at a range of material, from posters, billboards, statuary, wall writing (including campaign material, and other kinds of wall art, including graffiti and painting), the use of flags, and public notices, amongst others. Kerala is awash with visual information, both in terms of images, words, and material objects. These can be found on streets, walls, shop fronts, traffic islands, inside paddy fields, backs of autos, buses, and trucks or in less obviously visible spaces as outside, or immediately inside places of work or worship. These vary from advertising, political posters and signage, shop front artwork, to notices to people regarding appropriate sartorial modes to be used in a place of work, or who is permitted in a place of worship. These individually and collectively provide us with a semiotic system to study aesthetic, commercial and political issues. G. Arunima is the Principal Investigator of this project.