Trimukhi platform is a not-for-profit organisation founded in West Bengal, India, by Sukla Bar (Indian, social worker) and Jean-Frédéric Chevallier (French, theatre director and philosopher) together with 18 families from the tribal Santhal village of Borotalpada and whose activities commenced in August 2008. It arises from the desire to create a platform from where to act in three different directions: 1) innovative social action, 2) contemporary art creation and 3) production of original thought. Art and thought need to be produced by all strata of society so there is not only a diversity of propositions but also relevance and accuracy.
In Bengali, “trimukhi” can be a triangle, a triangle with three sides, and also three faces, or three fruit seeds growing.
INNOVATIVE SOCIAL ACTION
Here, social action is not mainly focused as the human activity that consists in helping the “poor”, making him suffering little less so he would be available for the market use; it is focused as the activity that looks after the social links between different groups of people or different persons.
Obviously if one group gets stronger (financially for example) while another one falls weaker, the possibilities of links disappear: homeless people in Delhi have very few chances to build social relations. By wondering for a general access to good nutrition, health, education and financial sustainability, social work organizations try to make each group and each person able to interact with others. In fact, providing everybody with satisfactory quantity and quality of foods, hospitals, schools and banking systems doesn’t mean to install everybody into the same pattern. On the contrary, answering basic needs is a ground from where each difference can become more different. It is in this sense that the substantive “minority” and the adjective “minor” have to be understand. They are the condition of possibility to build links: one has to be “minor” to build link link with others; if one would be “majority”, he would smash the others singularities. That’s why this care for the links, this preoccupation for the possibilities of building relations between human entities, bring social work till an interesting paradox: how to contribute to make each minority more minor?
CONTEMPORARY ARTS CREATION
Art awakens personal feelings and personal feelings awaken the desire to be more singular, more unique. In this sense, it should be focused as a basic right: a possibility that everybody should access to. On the other side, an artistic gesture consists nowadays in selecting elements belonging to a huge diversity of fields. It focuses the attention on the deepness of each selected singularity as well as on the sensitive effectiveness of the links built between those elements. If the professional art practices could belong to an ampler social spectrum, these practices would be richer, more effective, more accurate and, by consequence, more enjoyable.
It is not question of giving the “opportunity” to a remote village housewife to see, once in her life and in a beautiful professional theatre hall, a Shakespeare’s play, but to work on the set-up which will facilitate the fact that her daughter and her son will have the possibility, if they want to do so, to be part of the professional artistic field and to invent other ways to build aesthetic devices. Usually, when art is produced with a social work purpose, the first one (art) results being mediocre because the main goal resides in the second one (social work): they are “poor” people on the stage so one has to see them with kindness, forgetting about the thin qualities of their performance. Such a pre-installed hierarchical relation (art at the service of social work) is only fruitful for social work. But, on the contrary, if art adopts some of the social work worries (for instance: access for all), the situation changes completely: other ways of acting, different forms of taking pictures, of writing novels can appears – with poetic quality and aesthetic effectiveness.
PRODUCTION OF ORIGINAL THOUGHT
Theoretical activity requires also from a more open social spectrum of participation: when practices change and other words have to be produced to name and to understand those changes concretely, a diversity of points of view is required. The theoretical activity is also the capacity to build own and critical thinking in order to act more freely. This power should not be reserved to few.
Part of research activity consists in sharing the research. It is by sharing that the research itself goes deeper: it is, at the same time, confronted with other views and displaced by others’ worries and interests. For example, what would be a single category before is now focused as two or three different ones. By consequence, social work worry (how to make it accessible for all?) and focus (where are the links to be build?) are already present in this research device that consists in sharing with others. Those worry and focus appeared afterwards in art as a necessity for art itself (to renew and to refresh) but they are already present in academic activities as a scientific condition of improving the own research.
A “platform” is a space from where to do, from where to act, from where to receive, from where to welcome. On a platform, a train arrives and another goes. In sport, a platform is a device from where to jump. That means a platform has a certain shape but not exactly a contain. It is a device with no contain because above all it is a set-up to do things, like a space which gives possibilities of doing and a space which gives desire to do things, to catalyse desire, to excite desire, to make desire to grow. And the platform itself is in movement too, changing all the time.
Trimukhi Platform is an intent to invent a proper and adequate platform from which to work on this social-theoretical-artistic triangle – as an invitation to go on walking into our multiple desires of living among more and more multiplicities and to feel the irrepressible joy there is in doing such a not-for-profit thing…