b. Varanasi, India

“Whenever I hear the word cinema, I can’t help thinking hall rather than film.”
-Roland Barthes, Leaving the Movie Theater

Nandita Raman spent her childhood behind the scenes of movie theaters; her family owned the first talkies theater in Varanasi. To Raman, the magic of cinema existed not on the big screen but in exploration of the projector room, the ticket booth, the reels upon reels of film and the architecture and physicality of the single screening room itself. Ticket stubs and film strips became childhood toys and the theater, her Play House.

“Cinema Play House is a visual document: of the real, decrepit space of the single-screen cinema theater but that attempts to imagine it fictively and creatively; a portrait of the people who inhabit these shrinking spaces but that evokes them entirely in their absence; and finally a contemplation about death and passing but sans any mourning or lamentation.”
-Priyadarshini Shanker, PhD candidate in the Department of Cinema Studies at New York University, Adjunct Faculty at NYU and Columbia University

Nandita Raman is a graduate of the Bard College-International Center of Photography MFA program in New York City (2012). She works with a range of mediums including photography, video and sculpture. More conceptual than her Cinema images, her most recent body of work, Utopia, explores the possibility of indeterminacy in religion and the problems of translating an experience into language. This work was recently part of a two-person show in Vienna, Austria.

Her work has been exhibited most notably in Center for Documentary Studies, NC and Columbia University. She is a recipient of the Daylight/ CDS Project prize 2010 and the Sarai Independent Study Fellowship 2006. Raman’s work has been published in Harper’s Magazine, Conveyor Arts, The Sunday Guardian, Marg Magazine among others, and written up in the New Yorker by Vince Aletti in conjunction with the SepiaEYE group show Rectangular Squares. Raman featured in the collection of the Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame and Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Japan.