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A Factless Autobiography
Debmalya Ray Choudhuri

Confronting tuberculosis at the young age of 17 forced me to live in isolation for a prolonged period. After a few years, the suicide of a lover put me in a similar position- a certain alienation, despair, and failure to come to terms with the trauma of loss and death. Tragedies shape the human in you.

A Factless Autobiography, based on the book by Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa, reflects my understanding of human desire, gender, identity, and the often overlooked but complicated relationship between mourning and melancholia. I try to achieve this through portraits of my encounters with strangers, vis-a-vis- images of the self, creating a playful back-and-forth between the self and the other. 

Through this game of intimate exchanges, I come closer to understanding what it is to occupy a "queer" existence, as a South Asian immigrant in the politically fragmented landscape of America.  In its experience with the gestures of the body, desire, and space, this journey strives to look beyond the presupposed zones of identity and representation to think of the anonymous, erotic, and uncertain forms of sociality- death, disappearance, and the fragmentary passage of people and places.

This is the prelude to a trilogy titled -The Weight of the Earth that questions the human condition and the nature of our identities in a rapidly changing world through continuing encounters with people living complex and vulnerable lives. 

Debmalya Ray Choudhuri (b. 1991, Kolkata) (him/them) is an Indian artist based in New York.
Their practice, rooted in a diary, engages photography, performance, and text. They discuss confronting personal trauma and mental health while addressing contemporary societal questions on the “queerness” of identity, body, and space. Over time, their form has evolved from its roots in the need to take distance from the chaos of the surroundings and get intimate, physically, and emotionally- in places where the hunt is more lyrical, delicate, and intense. 

This way, the author tries to understand how people express desire and love and uses these experiences with strangers and friends to question the complex notion of being queer in today’s broader sociopolitical realm of existence. This approach adopted by the author aims to provoke the uncomfortable questions of identity & representation, the nature of the human condition, and the specifics of image reproduction and consumption, often latent under post-colonial capitalism. These dual conversations open new perspectives on the relationship between the self and the other.

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