New World Summit—Kochi
14 December 2012 – 9 January 2013
For the third edition of the New World Summit a triangular open air parliament was built on the grounds of Aspinwall House, the main venue of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale art manifestation and an old colonial complex, combining a villa with warehouses run by an English trading company. Within the triangular construction, 45 large-scale hand-painted panels depicting flags of banned organizations were organized by color. Half of them depict flags of banned organizations in India, the other half organizations from abroad, thus placing India’s policies of political exclusion in an international context in which occupation plays a central role.
The structure was inaugurated on December 14, 2012. Two weeks later, on December 28, the parliament of the New World Summit was raided by the special branch of the Kochi City Police, with approval of the home department and state intelligence. The panels they thought objectionable were painted over by staff of the Kochi Biennale Foundation with black and grey paints and the wall text announcing the planned summit was removed. On January 9, 2013, this painterly gesture of the special intelligence was supplemented with a charge against three members of the New World Summit, among which its founder, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act Section 10 (4). This is the very same act that is used to ban the organizations that the New World Summit aimed to host. From this point onward the Kochi-Muziris Biennale team, due to the presence on its board of senior government advisors, proved unable to defend the summit which they had commissioned.
As a residue of the performative intervention of the authorities the installation remained open to the public until the end of the Biennale.