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Pallavi Paul's Burn the Diaries

English Translation

Burn the Diaries (2014″“2019) is inspired by the personnel file of former Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent Noor Inayat Khan, who vanished during World War II while serving as a spy for the British government. Khan’s body was never recovered, and her flawed file is laced with contradictions and missing gaps concerning her disappearance and suspicious death, with several versions of the story recounted.

Pallavi Paul takes and subverts Khan’s story as part of a larger inquiry into the role of official archives in producing transparent evidence. Her investigation takes the form of a monumental 110-foot silk scroll inscribed with multiple accounts of Khan’s death in Morse code. The artist originally planned for several people to read the scroll as a performance, raising important questions about collective responsibility and the mapping of underground truths.

Read the transcript of Pallavi Paul’s Burn the Diaries here.

Image Credit
Pallavi Paul (b.1986, New Delhi India; lives and works in New Delhi); Burn the Diaries; 2014; inkjet print on paper scroll; 73 ft. (22.2 m); photograph by Thierry Bal; image courtesy of the artist