Centralia delves into the complex modern warfare surrounding a community of indigenous people living in central India as they strive to protect their identity and land – through this docu-fiction Basu takes us on a bewildering journey in which evidence of land grabs, forced displacement and violence are brought to the forefront of our small encounter with the story. By exposing this unsettling conflict, Basu pushes this obfuscated narrative once more using the the craft of book making; the sandblasted cover, layers of paper, pop out booklets, texture, colour and original use of text – this oscillating journey reflects on power struggles affecting the very individuals who have occupied and protected this land for generations, who are now under threat. “Through this work I am looking to find a new way to communicate the reality of modern warfare where the frontline is blurred and the conflict’s many actors all occupy opaque roles. In war, truth is the first casualty.” (Basu)
Centralia explores the unsteady relationship between reality and fiction and how our perceptions of reality and truth are manipulated. This book takes time to digest, you have to come back multiple times to even begin to understand the complexity and gravity of the situation presented to us.