ESRC Digital Good Network

Anshul Roy

Anshul Roy Portrait Bnw Scaled


Anshul Roy (b. 1997) is a visual artist from Ahmedabad, India, pursuing his MFA in Art Photography from Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY. In 2020, he received a B.Tech in Bioengineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, where he became interested in the intersection of STEM and Arts and how these diverse knowledge systems could merge. Roy’s current artistic practice is inspired by Postcolonial discourses, exploring issues like cultural representation, identity, historical memory and visual ethics. He is interested in critically probing how Britishers employed photography in colonial India for “othering” and visual propaganda and how these ethnographic photos exist in our contemporary institutional archives. Roy has exhibited his work at :iidrr Gallery (Manhattan, NY), Art Gallery of Peterborough (Ontario, Canada), Light Work (Syracuse, NY), Manifest Gallery (Cincinnati, OH), Black Box Gallery (Portland, OR), Praxis Gallery (Minneapolis, MN), Photoworks (San Francisco, CA), Drewelowe Gallery (Iowa City, IA), SPE Media Festival (St. Louis, MO), Greenly Center Gallery (Bloomsburg, PA), and Full Circle Fine Art (Baltimore, MD).


Residency Focus

During my Digital Good Network Residency, I would be expanding my ongoing artivist project Rage Against the Archive. This project, comprising experimental video, new media and performance art critically probes how digital archives like the New York Public Library’s catalog, display and even sell dehumanizing ethnographic photos from the 19th-century book The People of India, that was first published by the British Colonial government after the 1857 First War of Independence in India. During this residency, I would explore how these images, which were mostly taken under duress, and represent the visual spoils of history, exist in our Networked Image Culture, completely decontextualized and losing their gravitas. With this project, I aspire to use web technologies to challenge and disrupt entrenched power structures and propose a decolonized digital archive where technology is harnessed to foster respect and care. I am also interested in exploring the conceptual parallels between modern-day facial recognition systems and ethnographic photography and plan to start working on a custom facial recognition software that would be fed a biased dataset from The People of India, and hence see the world and categorize people through a problematic colonial lens.

Studio Performance

During this residency, Anshul presented his work at the Photography in Virtual Culture conference held in The Photographer’s Gallery, London. Watch his performance below: