Ansuman Biswas was born in Calcutta and trained in the UK. He has an international practice encompassing music, film, live art, installation, writing and theatre. He is interested in hybridity and interdisciplinarity – often working between science, art and industry, for instance, or between music, dance and visual art.
Over the last few years his work has included directing Shakespeare in America, translating Tagore’s poetry from the Bengali, designing underwater sculptures in the Red Sea, living with wandering minstrels in India, being employed as an ornamental hermit in the English countryside, touring with Björk, spending two days blindfolded in an unknown place, travelling with shamans in the Gobi Desert, playing with Oasis, collaborating with neuroscientists in Arizona, living for a week with absolutely nothing but what spectators chose to give him, co-ordinating grassroots activists in Soweto, being sealed in a box for ten days with no food or light, making a musical in a maximum security prison, re-designing Maidstone High Street, being a soloist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, bathing strangers, running seminars on democracy for monks in a Burmese monastery, making a radio telescope sing and dance, being locked in a Gothic Tower alone for forty days and nights, and even flying on a real magic carpet in Star City, Moscow.
His work as a musician spans many genres, from free improvisation to pop, from jazz to classical musics from around the world. He has worked as a composer at the National Theatre and the Royal Opera House and in London’s West End and has been commissioned by the Sonic Arts Network, the National Theatre, the Royal Ballet, the English National Opera and Guangdong Modern Dance Company in China. He has worked with the BBC, Channel Four and MTV and as a percussionist alongside Courtney Pine, Evan Parker, Butch Morris, The London Improvisers Orchestra, John Renbourn, Jerry Dammers, The Specials, Robert Cray, Fun-Da-Mental, Asian Dub Foundation, Talvin Singh, Nitin Sawhney, Bjork, Oasis, Cornershop, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic, etc. He is also an experienced teacher of music in schools colleges, universities, orchestras, public workshops and in individual lessons.
As a visual artist he has shown work at Tate Modern, The South London Gallery, The Whitechapel Gallery, the ICA, the Edinburgh Festival, and has had residencies at the National Institute of Medical Research (London), at the Headlands Centre (San Francisco), at Portsmouth Cathedral, at the Guangdong Modern Dance Company (China), at The National Review of Live Art, (Glasgow), and at NICA (Networking Initiatives in Culture and the Arts, Yangon, Myanmar).
Ansuman runs projects at the Tagore Centre UK, promoting the work of the Nobel Prize winning Bengali polymath Rabindranath Tagore. He is the Chair of Studio Upstairs, a charity nurturing mental health through the arts. He is also a trustee of Arts Catalyst, the science-art agency. He has had a leading role in developing new models of interdisciplinary collaboration at Hewlett-Packard's research lab in Bangalore and has been part of a pioneering study group for the European Space Agency on Cultural Utilization of the International Space Station.
Underpinning all this diversity is the discipline of vipassana meditation which has informed his commitment to the primacy of listening and the fluidity of identity.