Interdisciplinary Visual Artist, London, UK
SUBASH THEBE & HIS PROJECTS
Subash Thebe is a sound artist, filmmaker, composer, performer and a painter.
Subash has MA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins (2016) where he received UAL Vice-Chancellors International Scholarship, BA in Fine Art from Middlesex University (2011), and Intermediate in Fine Art from Lalit Kala Campus, Kathmandu.
Thebe works with sound, film, music, performance, painting, and podcasts, exploring the relation between art and social change. He records the sound and images of his public engagements to later incorporate them in his works. His works are inspired by science fiction, future scenarios of struggle, resistance, climate change, and indigeneity.
For more information and latest projects visit his official website: https://subashthebe.com/
“Every time I get a new mission, it’s my mother who’s more excited than me, she would go through every line of my mission schedule, ask me about troubleshooting mechanisms, what would I do in so and so situation? Why would I do it and on and on.
She would even demand me to send updates and esp images every two days as if she is a chief mission controller. She would prepare foods I like most, freeze it, vacuum pack it and label it.
This time I would be gone for much longer and I could see sadness behind her excited face for she knows only too well about not hearing from dear ones lost in mission.”
. . Memories of the future.
Parallax featuring Bhagat Subba, first premiered at Serendipity Arts Festival; Look Stranger, Goa Dec. 2019, imagines indigenous narrative in futuristic scenario, where indigenous language, values and sense of belonging not only serve as cultural entity but also inspire scientific endeavours. It imagines a future where indigenous folk tales and shamanic chants will have totally different function with totally different purpose.
This work uses one of the few remaining indigenous scripts in practice today in Nepal. This Yakthung script belongs to my Limbu – also known as Yakthung – indigenous community from eastern Nepal, and the voice is an early 1991 recording from the first music album in Limbu language by Bhagat Subba. It was illegal to record and distribute indigenous music before 1989. Subba often mentions that he was denied to sing in his Limbu language in the national Radio Nepal when he passed his voice test in 1977.
This work also uses sound and images (especially of Sagittarius A*) from NASA’ s archive.
This work is based on the idea of how words are contextualized to serve certain power structures despite its intended meaning. The word democracy, basically meaning the rule of the people, is one of the most used terms in political history, its presence though is contested even in states that claim to be democratic. More importantly or rather unfortunately, this contextualizing of the term democracy by Western nation-states to strengthen their hegemony in natural resource rich countries around the world is openly practiced.
This piece uses interviews and sound files from news outlets and tv documentaries, remixed with additional music.
Sound work at Project Radio,2017 10:56
Kafala was a performance art done at the gates of Embassy of Qatar, London in 2013.
Kafala is a visa sponsorship system in gulf states including Qatar, “where a worker’s visa and legal status is tied to her employer. This system creates a profound power imbalance between employers and workers and imposes tight restrictions on migrant workers’ rights.” (HRW, 2014)
Thousands of Nepalese migrant workers leave for UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia every year. After 2013 shocking revelation of migrant workers’ death in Qatar, there was a huge outcry from all international communities against poor treatment and slavey like conditions of workers in the Middle East.
Although Qatar recently abolished the exit visa requirement in January 2020, which was a part of the Kafala system, it still has all other parts of the system leaving workers vulnerable to exploitation.
Antariksa is a Nepalese podcast about science, social issues and speculative fiction. It explores contemporary issues of Nepal and abroad, by interviewing guests on respective field and speculating possible and not so possible future. This podcast is a collaborative project with sound engineer Bishwo Shahi and writer Prakash Sunuwar. I produce and host the episodes.
Internet access in Nepal grew from mere 9% to 45% in the last seven years, followed by rapid rise of blogs, vlogs and sensational news media. Although the mainstream radio stations are still widely popular, podcast is slowly gaining momentum in Nepal. As an artist who uses sound, storytelling, science and sci-fi, I find this podcast project as a very interesting medium.
From disappearing languages to science of satellites, and re-imagining future cities, this project emphasises narratives and speculation from the perspective of indigenous and marginalised communities.
For more details please visit- antariksa.space