Thinking Spaces 2020-21: Dhruv Jani (Studio Oleomingus)

This Thinking Spaces talk, with guest Dhruv Jani, took place on March 26, 2021.

In this talk, entitled “The Concentric Fictions of a Generous History: Hypertext and Other Annotations to Memory,” Dhruv Jani attempts to weave together a sprawling argument about interactive fiction that spans across the legacy of colonialism, the bureaucratic tyranny of citizenship, and the relationship of individual identity and collective histories – into contemporary political protest and the role of hypertext in the enunciation of dissent. More specifically, this talk examines Interactive Fiction as an extension of folk-theatre where it may be possible to imagine the performance of disembodied and democratic identities without the burden of nationhood. Jani also argues why hypertext might be a precursor to a fundamental change in how bodies, sites, and territories are demarcated and how histories are recorded, making forms of hypertext (including videogames) a powerful but sparsely understood site for public discourse, protest, and reconciliation.

Dhruv Jani is the Founder of a game & arts studio called Oleomingus. Studio Oleomingus practices at the intersection of post-colonial writing, speculative architecture, and interactive fiction. They use games to study colonial power structures and the histories they occlude, as well as how hypertext might be used to pollute a single reductive record of the past or of a people.

The work of Studio Oleomingus is supported by the Serendipity Arts Foundation, Humble Bundle Inc. and The Irregular Corporation, and we are recipients of the AMAZE Humble Award 2020. Dhruv Jani has also been a resident at Khoj International Artists Association, and the recipient of an Arts Practice Grant from the India Foundation for the Arts. They have created and exhibited games at V&A London, G|39 Gallery in Cardiff, Somerset House London, Phoenix gallery Leicester, Jawahar Kala Kendra Jaipur, VideoGame Art Gallery Chicago, TENT Biennale – Kolkata, Eye Myth – Mumbai, Shenzhen New Media Arts Festival, WordPlay at Ontario, Overkill Festival, Netherlands, PAX EGX 2020 and Mild Rumpus 2018 & 2020 at the Game Developers Conference San Francisco.

This event was co-presented with the Canada India Research Centre for Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) and the Music Students’ Association’s 15th Annual Music Symposium.