Mahamultipedia: A Sanskrit Epic Vessel on Digital Waters
Bulbul Tiwari received her MA and PhD in South Asian Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago, focusing on Indian visual and performative cultural history. She sees herself primarily as a media scholar who, from time to time, likes to cast off the strictures of specialized academic scholarship in favor of an oscillating dance between “the world, the text, and its critic”—in Edward Said's words and touch the worlds beyond academia. At such heady moments Bulbul has written and directed plays, made films, and designed websites. All her works demonstrate her interest in myths, narratology and technology, particularly in South Asia.
Bulbul's digital, multimedia dissertation explores Indian visual culture of the last two thousand years; it traverses ritual, classical dance-drama, folk theatre, sculpture, film and television narratives and creates a new version of the Hindu epic, The Mahabharata. Maha Multipedia: The Mahabharata reworked in mixed media for a nine night performance is meditation on narrative and form, as well as the search for individual identity in the haystack of history. It was the first entirely digital dissertation at the University of Chicago and only the third of its kind in the US. Bulbul is currently working on turning this project into a wiki and online digital archive.
While at the University of Chicago, she taught courses on Indian film, film style and interpretation, Indian intellectual history, Hinduism and Writing. Earlier, she completed an AB at Harvard University in Comparative Literature and also learnt filmmaking. She has worked in the film industries of New York and Mumbai in various capacities. In 2002 Bulbul produced and shot her own documentary about the lives of Indian truck drivers, Carriers. The film was screened at festivals around the world before it ended up on European TV. She hopes her next cinematic project will feature the Pacific Ocean and giant Silicon Valley robots.