Searching for the Switzerland of India / Hyperallergic

Christine Rogers, “Bunny Boy (Khajjiar)” (2013) (all photographs courtesy of the artist)

Christine Rogers, “Bunny Boy (Khajjiar)” (2013) (all photographs courtesy of the artist)

NASHVILLE — Photographer and video artist Christine Rogers didn’t intend to end up in India on a Fulbright Scholarship searching for a folkloric “heaven on earth” known as theSwitzerland of India. It’s just that fate dropped her down there. And as the adage goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do, or in this instance, when in India, do as the Indians do and search for this idealized surrogate landscape — an imitation of an imitation.

In her project Switzerland of India, Rogers considers how the idea of this northern Indian landscape — which has been romanticized through tourism, marketing, Bollywood filmmaking, and the mythos of the Swiss Alps — exists as an integral aspect of the cultural imagination. Putting theory into practice, Rogers and her assistant Laura traveled throughout northern India for one year, locating these romanticized landscapes and actually talking with people there about why each has become the Switzerland of India. Of course, there is no single Switzerland of India, yet depending on whom you speak with and where, they will tell you otherwise. Rogers kept a blog while in India, and also finished the journey with an exhibition at 1 Shanthi Road Gallery in Bangalore this past June. Now back in Nashville, where she is an assistant professor at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film, Rogers is continuing to exhibit her project in the United States.

Read the full story on Hyperallergic: http://hyperallergic.com/84296/where-romance-is-created-remembered-and-idealized/