Espírito Kashi is an avant-garde media project being run by it’s founder Rajat Nayyar, currently enrolled with the department of Anthropology at Tallinn University (Estonia), who is exploring emergent visual technologies and participatory methods in anthropology. His ethnographic films and web based community projects have been presented during EASA Milan 2016 and AAA Washington DC 2017 amongst others.
He has organised and directed massive ‘folklore documentation drives’ in rural Bihar and introduced the concept of Folklore 2.0, which is now being realised in the form of Interactive Cultural Landscapes for Gram Panchayats of India. This being a digital home for the community, they can interact with and through this to the world, at the same time engage with their own cultural heritage using new media/mobile technology. Seeing everyday life as a performance, through an embodied (performing) camera, and then screening the film within the context of that everyday life, intervenes in actually existing contexts – to have a social and political effect. The aim of his project is not just to enact social relations.
He graduated from the Young India Fellowship, a liberal arts program run by Ashoka University, in 2014. Rajat also works as a digital ethnographer with Indi.com. In the past, he has worked in Brazil with an NGO that advocates for the rights of artisanal cheese makers and travelled across Minas Gerais. Rajat has worked as an assistant director with Aarti Chabria for her debut feature ‘Mumbai Varanasi Express’ starring Darshan Zariwala. For his MA thesis, he follows the dying pilgrims who are brought to the holy city of Varanasi for their last vital breath, ensuring Moksha (Permanent Liberation). This ethnographic study contributes to the anthropology of dying spaces.
Rajat continues to celebrate his relationship with the camera. For him, its an extension of his body.