weekend links: Filmistan, RIBOCA1, progressive crime fiction

A new commission for RIBOCA1 by Sputnik Photos, Lost Territories Archive, 2008-16 2018 (detail). Courtesy of Sputnik Photos and  artnet.

A new commission for RIBOCA1 by Sputnik Photos, Lost Territories Archive, 2008-16 2018 (detail). Courtesy of Sputnik Photos and artnet.

Filmistan is a five-acre film studio in the village of Goregoan, Mumbai, where some of India’s most successful films were produced. The studio, founded in 1943, is a rarity: not only did it outlive all its competitors, but it lived to consume the suburbs around it. The studio itself is like a city, with eight floors and several outdoor shooting areas, including a Hindu temple, a jailhouse exterior, and a village. Ethnographer William Nakabayashi looks at the layered geography of the suburb that serves as both a movie set and ancestral village. [The Believer]

In Latvia, the inaugural Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA1) will begin on June 2, featuring artists local to the Baltic region. Founder/commissioner Agniya Mirgorodskaya and curator Katerina Gregos worked together to feature contemporary art from eastern European artists. Gregos discusses the Baltic art scene, the historic and modern venues of the biennial (ranging from a biology building to an abandoned factory), and how local art can help viewers understand global problems. [artnet]

In this essay, what begins as a discussion of female writers writing female perspectives turns into a personal narrative about Rebekah Frumkin’s hospitalization and how her time in the hospital broadened her scope of writing and reading. “Defaulting to the white male perspective had been a safe way to express myself, and often resulted in accolades from older writers unaccustomed to other perspectives,” writes Frumkin. “But I no longer wanted their accolades.” The era of postwar white men has come to an end. [Lit Hub]

Because works of crime fiction usually have a happen ending, does that make them conservative? The restoration of the status quo at the end of detective novels and thrillers puts faith in a reality that is often “lawful” and government-regulated. The moral values in crime fiction are often clear; the lessons, conservative: anarchy is harmful and mischief is bad. To make this genre more progressive, writes Michael Niemann, explore how punishment and reconciliation work in crime fiction, and how societies function after the crime. [Crime Reads]

Audiobook narrators are tasked with reading out loud a story already written, and, in Grover Gardner’s case with the 11-volume The Story of Civilization, doing it for almost 1,000 hours. Roughly 50,000 audiobooks are recorded annually in the U.S, with sales across the sector growing by 20 percent last year, and the industry seems to be, according to Gardner, “recession-proof.” Here, he talks about the supportive audiobook industry, the importance of not having a distracting voice, and the power of being a voice. “You’re not just the narrator,” says Gardner. “You’re the director, you’re the scenic artist, you’re the set designer, you’re the choreographer. You’re the casting director, because you get to pick who all these people are and how they should sound.” [The Village Voice]

—Audrey Deng