Who, how, why: Shubigi Rao on filmmaking


WhenSaturday, 25 May 2024
From1.00pm – 3.00pm
Where Tāmaki Makaurau


In this session, artist Shubigi Rao discusses the practical, ethical and sociopolitical considerations of her work as a solo female filmmaker and invites participants to step back and think through their own practice with these dimensions in mind. This will range from the logistical aspects of production (the benefits, the challenges, the loopholes) to the moral considerations that arise when telling stories that have historically been deliberately unheard, undocumented, and fetishised.

This workshop is limited to 15 practitioners. We recommend that those attending also come along to her talk in the morning as well with Vera Mey, Hallucinating Time.

This is presented alongside Shubigi's exhibition, Pulp III: A Short Biography of the Banished Book, presented in Aotearoa by Te Tuhi in association with Te Wai Ngutu Kākā Gallery. Pulp III takes the form of a book, film and paper maze to explore the precarity and persistence of endangered languages, the futures of knowledge, public and alternative libraries, and the cosmopolitanism of regional print communities that have blossomed and waned in historic centres of print.

Set in the historic cities of print of Venice and Singapore, her film, Talking Leaves, explores the tales of those at the frontlines of saving books and libraries, by ways of personal confidences and poetic reflections, documentary and mytho-poetic languages. Her book, Pulp III: An Intimate Inventory of the Banished Book, chronicles her long-term artistic research process and conceptual reframing of the book and the library.

Commissioned for the Singapore Pavilion at the 59th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, and curated by Ute Meta Bauer, Pulp III marks the midpoint of Shubigi Rao’s evocative 10-year project, Pulp, which explores the history of book destruction and those who persist in its margins to protect the futures of knowledge.

Pulp III: A Short Biography of the Banished Book is a lyrical manuscript that charts the breadth of human cultural endeavour through shared stories of humanity and communities of print.


Artist and writer Shubigi Rao makes layered installations of books, etchings, drawings, pseudo-scientific machines, metaphysical puzzles, video, ideological board games, garbage, and archives, and has been exhibited and collected in Singapore and internationally. Her interests include archaeology, neuroscience, libraries, archival systems, histories and lies, literature and violence, ecologies and natural history.

Since 2014 she has been visiting public and private collections, libraries and archives globally for Pulp: A Short Biography of the Banished Book, a decade-long film, book and visual art project about the history of book destruction. As an artist in residence at CCA, Gillman Barracks, Singapore, she released her first book from the project in January 2016. It was shortlisted for the biennial Singapore Literature Prize 2018 (non-fiction).

The second book from the series won the Singapore Literature Prize (nonfiction) in 2020. The first instalment of the project, Written in the Margins, won the Juror's Choice Award at the APB Signature Art Prize 2018.