Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Contemporary South Asia

Ravi Krishnaswamia composer/sound designer and first year PhD candidate in Musicology & Ethnomusicology at Brown, wrote the scores for each of the stories included in the Body, Home, World project. Learn more about the project and Ravi below.

Imagine a mandala. A digital mandala. Imagine it as a story interface that invites you to navigate stories of LGBTQ+-identifying individuals and their families. Imagine it as a living digital imprint that transforms and evolves, tracking your own transformative journey through their documentary narratives. Imagine recreating narratives that have been erased. Imagine sharing them through the digital diaspora.

Body, Home, World: South Asian LGBTQ+ Journeys is an attempt to weave a digital tapestry of documentary stories about queer spaces of color, family, and the immigrant experience. It is a recognition that in many immigrant and communities of color, the family dialogue on sexual and gender identities is fraught with tension and risk, and that the spaces for safe inquiry, consultation, and advocacy are few and far between. It is our hope that these narratives will create a sense of shared experience, an empathic stepping-in-the-shoes, and a sense of community that is respectful, inclusive, and internally diverse.

Over the course of four months, you will be invited to embark on four different journeys. Each journey has been mapped from the point of view of LGBTQ+ individuals as well as that of their family members. We hope that you will not only return to the site to watch new content, but also share these stories within your digital networks, your safe spaces, and your families. The creative team behind Body, Home, World also invites you to join us on our social networks for future updates.

On the score, Ravi shared, "I was immediately taken by the stories being told in Body, Home, World, and I’m so I happy I could contribute. Music is such a delicate and powerful element in multimedia storytelling. Thematic development can imply conceptual linkages between sections. Instrumentation can establish a sense of place. Harmony can create anticipation or arrival. Rhythm and meter can fall into step with the visuals or push against their pacing. As a composer that grew up attending Carnatic concerts, learning classical piano, and buying rock cassettes, I have always been drawn to projects that explore mixed identity. The score weaves together both western and eastern timbres. Echoes of the main ideas become part of the sonic UI of the website, foreshadowing connections between stories via the pitch and timbre relationships contrasts in site sonification." 

Ravi Krishnaswami is a composer/sound designer for media and games. He holds a B.A. in Music/English from the University of Virginia. He’s written for Super Bowl ads, AAA games, and many television networks. His research focuses on the evolution and influence of advertising music in the context of neoliberalism. When the pandemic is over he plans to return to the stage as the guitarist in The Sons & Heirs, his tribute to The Smiths & Morrissey. http://www.ravimusic.com/