This paper unpacks the finesse and intricacies with which some of the pre-colonial and pre-modern sound-producing instruments were conceived and built in South Asia using indigenous technologies. The paper argues that these indigenous technologies were as sophisticated as the technology we know today from a Western modernist and colonialist understanding of it riding on ideas of control, surveillance and exploitation of nature and human resources. The paper intends to substantiate this view that these indigenous technologies had an embedded quality to them and it makes no sense today to adhere to the hierarchy of “high tech” and “low tech”. The paper suggests expanding the terms media arts and “TechArts” or technology-driven arts in the Western taxonomies, represented often by large-scale, spectacular immersive arts proliferated in European and American festivals. Given the historical examples of artistic practices using pre-modern technologies in South Asia, the paper proposes to redefine what “TechArt” means, aiming to decolonize media arts field giving due credits to tech-artists and artisans from the Global South.
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