Encircling Stories (2023), 25 x 30 cm, 196 pages, 300 copies

The pages of the photobook unveils journeys by train that spans over 8000 kilometers, traversing the heart of India from longer periodes in 2015 and 2022. This movement was not merely about covering ground; it is a testament to the distribution of visual storytelling, a journey that spans longer than the distance from India to Norway. Based on images moving through landscapes of northern-India, cities, and villages, it also uncoveres a narrative that transcends borders and cultures. At the heart of this narrative lies a factory, an extraordinary place where towels, bedsheets, and yarn are woven together into the fabric of everyday life for countless people around the world.

But this is not just any factory. It is our planet's longest factory building, stretching across the horizon like an industrial colossus. What makes it even more remarkable is that it is not solely in the hands of its consumers; it is a trade shareholder firm, with over 250,000 stakeholders who play an active role in its ongoing production. It is a testament to the interconnectedness of our global society, where the choices we make as consumers reverberate through the lives of countless others.

Though a sense of curiosity sublimation print on textiles contributes on creating a symbiotic relationship between the two mediums of photography and textile. These visual fragments are then shipped back to India, where a fellow photographer was invited to reimagine them in new cultural contexts. The resulting images offer a commentary on the intricate chain of distribution that links us all, underscoring the interconnectedness of our world.

The landscapes surrounding the several train journeys got directly affected in September 2020, when the Modi government brought in the Indian Agricultural Act 2020, wherein the government tried to privatize several aspects of the Indian agricultural marketplace. The Farmers (mainly big farmers with big landholdings) of Punjab and Haryana retaliated. The protestors blocked the main road connecting the capital New Delhi to the northern part of the country. In all this, one discourse was missing and it went un-discussed. No weight or time was given to the discourse of reforming the social structure of the villages. Where Dalits are still toiling, most of them without wages, in the farms of the protesting landlords.

This photobook has not only become about the external world; it's also about personal connections and childhood memories. Throughout my life, a local newspaper from India has found its way to my parents home in Norway. While the written language remained a barrier, the images and visual illustrations within those pages became a source of play in understanding and searching for connection.

The publication is published and distributed by Heavy Books, with support from Arts council Norway, The Norwegian Photography Fond, The Fritt Ord Foundation and FKDS (Fond for kunst og designstudenter).

Officially released during solo exhibition at MELK Galleri in november 2023.


© All rights reserved, Dev Dhunsi, 2024