Gallery 2 – Identity with the sense of historicty!

In the memory lab gallery of the second movement, we shared stories of collective history, with a personal twist. These stories highlighted the influences that have been drawn from the ancestral reigns and recorded by the voices of the families. The underlying forces of history flew within these stories in a timeless way.

I worked on this project with my memory of my grandfather telling us the stories of his past experiences while we used to sit leisurely in the verandah and how I used to paint while listening to him and slowly joined the rest who were listening, leaving my canvas.

I was able to recall one of his experiences which was related to the 1984 riots between the Sikhs and the Hindus. He told us that after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984, the prime minister of India then, there was a retaliatory violence all over the country. Everywhere the Sikhs and the Hindus murdered each other. That time, he gave shelter to four/five of his Sikh friends in our house and for a week looked after their food and clothing before transferring them to a safer place.

Remembering his memory, I developed my artwork where I intended to portray how at the times of these conflicts, there must be chaos and violence outside the house to the contradictory calmness and fear inside the house. I incorporated my images of my grandfather’s story onto my canvas. Thus, I used the canvas as my archival object.

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After knowing what I had to portray and make the people feel, it was a little difficult for me to figure out how should I execute what I was thinking. A couple of days went by. And suddenly, while discussing my concept with someone, it popped in my head, why shouldn’t I create a house? A human-scale space which can be thought of a house. That would be the best way to make the viewer feel what my grandfather must have felt then. Bingo! 

I immediately started to think over the constructional elements and the materials that I would use for creating the house-like space. Initially I had thought of using mount-board sheets but as soon as I went to the market for purchasing them, my eyes rolled over the thermocol sheets. I don’t remember what went wrong in my head when I purchased a huge bundle of thermocol. Maybe the size carried me away. I never thought initially how trouble-some it would be to work with thermocol. Apart from that, I didn’t even think how the structure will be made to stand thermocol….the lightest material. 

After discussing the structure with a couple of my friends, I decided to create a wooden-frame skeleton and then covering the frame with thermocol sheets.

On the day of the exhibition, I started working on the wooden framing on site. within a span of 3 hours, I was able to complete the structure.

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 Then I started placing the thermocol sheets on the frame with the two-way tape.

 

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I soon finished the structure. Placed the table and chairs inside the space and the canvas and the related things outside.

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My idea was to project the video of the events that took place back in 1984 on the backside of the house and on the opposite side, that is on the entrance side, I placed the canvas outside and let people enter inside after gazing at the image. 

Although the idea sounds complete, it did not work out. When the visitors came in to visit the exhibition, they could not relate to the outside and the inside. Apart from that, they were unable to point that the video was a part of my artwork. The first day of the exhibition turned out to be pathetic for me. As my idea was not being conveyed to the viewers, the thermocol pieces were repeatedly falling off their places and I didn’t even work on the element of light inside the house. It never occurred to me that as the exhibition was to be held in the evening, light would be important. I gave up for the day and had made it a point that the next day  I will definitely fix everything and make my presentation better.

On the next day, I went a couple of hours earlier to the gallery as I was prepared to see my structure naked. I was ready to make the changes that I had thought of initially.

First of all, I turned my piece at an angle of 180 degrees, so that the entrance of the house was at the same side as that of the projection. I then put all the thermocol sheets in place by binding them together with the packing tape so that they stay intact and do not fall off. I placed the canvas inside the house and added certain other elements to give it a homely feel, like the eatables and the tea pots. I lit the house by adding candles to the place. And last, but not the least, I had already changed the sound of the video which was now different and in contrast to the sound inside the house unlike the day before. Everything fell in place the second day.

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The viewers could now clearly see what I wanted them to see. They could connect the inside and the outside. They could feel the coziness of the house an the happenings outside the house.

One of the visitors added a different meaning to my concept. As the structure of Jaaga was made up of waste materials and mild steel framing, the floor trembled while anyone walked on it. So, the viewer felt that the shaking of the  floor was the violence outside and one could feel the tremors inside which added to the fear.

While working in the memory lab for this project, I went through and experienced all the steps of execution of any idea very deeply. The project was interesting and stressful at the same time which made it more challenging. I dealt with a comparatively new material this time – thermocol, and now I very well know where to use it and how to use it. 

I was able to notice advancement within myself in terms of new ideas. Finally, the exhibition ended well because I was able to achieve what I wanted to

 

 

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MEMORY LAB: Closing first movement…

The ‘MEMORY’ Lab! The name of the lab directly relates to the term ‘memory’. A lab where memories take a physical form, a form of an image and where sound plays the role of the teacher which tries to incorporate the depth of the image of the memory in the viewers’ soul…

My experience in the memory lab has been quite innovative. A thought that struck me here was incorporating sound in my works. Although sound was a mandatory part of the lab but it opened an all new definition for me of refining spaces and pieces and forms by adding to the feel of the element. I discovered that sound can do wonders at dead places and dead scenes. It can revive the idea and concept of a design.

Working in  the memory lab until now has been quite beneficial. I would definitely like to point out one way in which it has been beneficial for me. For this, I would like to be grateful to my classmates who have worked very well for their projects and set a level to look upon. It was wonderful to see at once, how the imaginations and memories together had taken up a shape of the various types of images. The works gave me some sort of inspiration to keep up my medium and go on with representation.

As I have made a point to work in a 3D medium, I had a lot of scope to think and innovate. This lab has brought out in me what I was looking forward to study and develop further – ideation, concept development, creativity. The lab compels one to think hard about their memories (it is funny and strange but true). It is quite difficult to re-collect all the memories in mind in an orderly fashion and decide the appropriate memory for display in some form. The discussions that we have in class regarding the topics that are assigned for the presentation of your next memory and the discussions with the other classmates and their works, help a great deal to work on the memory that one feels apt to be displayed.

Since the day we have started with the memory lab, I have been trying to figure out how the memories play a role, any role in present life. The movies and documentaries that we watched in class, like Citizen Kane, etc. have brought out very interesting role of memories of discovering someone or something only on the basis of descriptions, some facts and interviews with people who are supposedly close to the subject. The other fact that I realised while fiddling with my memories was that…whatever I am today is the result of whatever has happened in the past. No one can ever tell a person to be or not to be what they are and even if you are one of the persons who have influenced someone’s personality, you are definitely in a memory of that person. This realization helped me to produce a project work at the lab.

The exercise was to dis-aggregate your memories in a way that they portray ‘Who you Are’ and form a story. I thought of myself as ‘who I am’ – thoughtful, friendly, boastful, ambitious, loving, rebellious and stubborn. Then I looked back and thought of when can I recall the incidents where I can portray these qualities of my own self. It was then when I recalled and realised that the incidents I was thinking about are actually the ones that have made me what I am! It thus became easier for me to form a story out of the chunks of memories in my mind. Again, as I wanted to use a non 2D medium, I ended up working in a new style – ‘performance’. I enjoyed editing the sound track for this performance and using symbolism for various attributes of the performance. For example, I used a frame where I showed that I was painting myself, which was a symbol for “Who Am I?” I edited the sound track in a way such that the dialogues that I wanted to use in the scenes for other people were recorded and my dialogues were produced live. The story overall came out well but I was dissatisfied with the presentation. If at all I would have had a little more time, I would have been able to present it well. Probably I will have to learn ‘Time Management’ at Srishti as well.

The project that followed this one was to reflect your own self on an object close to your memory. The outcome of this project was supposed to be physical in existence for everyone as this was going to be the part of the Srishti Gallery. 

I again had to think hard for getting memories in order in my head and suddenly ‘reflection’ with its true meaning reflected in my mind. All I could remember was the infinite number of reflections formed by the parallel placement of mirrors to each other that I gazed upon in a trial/changing room when I went shopping for clothes. It was so difficult to concentrate on one and to figure out which is my right and which is the left and in which reflection. I finally decided to work on this memory for the gallery and just to make the reflections a little more interesting, I thought of placing the mirrors at the sides of a prism-like structure rather than a cuboidal (the usual). The concept of my work was finally finalised.

 

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I, now was thinking of how should I produce the structure.I, first got the model made in the cuboidal form to figure out the cost and execution of the original structure. After I figured out the material requirement and cost estimation (Labor charge was nullified against my own hard work), I went to the wooden workshop to ask David, the workshop assistant, for guidance for making the structure. To my surprise and horror, David showed me a structure which was exactly what I was going to produce apart from the entrance to the inside. I immediately rushed to the concerned authorities for taking permissions of transporting the structure from its current place to the gallery venue. ///it took me four-five hours for taking permissions, waiting for people and getting the structure transported from its original place to the venue. Mixed emotions is what I was filled with. For giving the viewer a changing room feel, I had to install hooks and garments on the inside of the space that I had created. I thus went around the market for buying some suction hooks and a couple of T-shirts. As this reflection was closely linked to cloth, I decided to take the feedbacks of the visitors on the object linked to my memory – a garment. I thus used a T-shirt for recording the experiences of the viewer inside the space and their feed backs.

 

The setup

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There were a range of feed backs that I received from the viewers on representation of my memory. All of them found the idea interesting. One suggestion that I took into consideration was to increase the wardrobe options. I had one very interesting conversation with Geetu, the ADP coordinator. When I told her ‘trial room’ she misunderstood it for the court trial room and she discussed the whole thing with me thinking the concept to be how the trial room reflects different aspects or natures of a person. It was only when she asked me that “Why and when did you have to go to the trial room”, then I discovered something is fishy and I told her, “Of course we go to the ‘changing room’ for trying on different garments to buy them”. Ultimately we ended up laughing and discovering a new interpretation of the work that was installed.

 

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So far, I have been loving being a part of the memory lab. I like the way discussions are carried out, the way works of all the students are presented and discussed upon and the way the work does not feel like a burden. I love visiting various places at Bangalore for exploring and appreciating the scope of art, design and technology.

I had visited NGMA (National Gallery of Modern Art), Bangalore for looking at the artwork. A couple of paintings caught my attention which are described as ‘punctum’ by Rholand Barthes’s interpretation of Camera Lucida’s text. A painting titled ‘RADHIKA’ made in wash & tempera on paper by M.A.R. Chughtai portrayed two opposite gender human figures surrounded by nature. Feeling of love and romance was clearly reflected in the art work. The painting expressed calmness and togetherness. The woman’s expressions clearly depicted feelings of loyalty, shyness and trustworthiness.A sort of contentment was felt in the piece of art.

Another painting titled, ‘SHELTER’ which was made in oil colors on canvas by Ramkinkar Baij met my eye. Expressions full of worry, longing and anxiety were clearly seen in this work. One character clearly portrayed ‘thoughtfulness’ and ‘care’ at one angle and fear at the other. This fear must be about thinking the consequences of being late.

It was a beautiful afternoon that was occupied by art and calmness.

I happened to be a part of another event at Galleryske at Langford Town. It was a screening of a 1927 silent film named ‘A Throw of Dice’. The interesting part about the screening was the live music which was created  by Jatin Vidyarthi. The background music was as interesting as the content of the film. The Indo-classical fusion was beautifully complementing the theme of the movie. I personally liked the ambience of the place where the  film was screened, under open sky with the shelter of a tree foliage. Again the evening happened to be amazingly beautiful and I once again realised the influence of music.

 

The Galleryske

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What is cloth!

In our monday course days, we are undertaking the “Artistic Practices” classes where we are developing our creativity via various different techniques. The first being, producing 30 sketches every week.

This idea of a sketchbook, is way too different from that of the normal sketchbook. This sketchbook does not include the usual sketches but all the confusions, interests and inspirations of an individual. The main idea behind this sketch book is to revive the thought process of own self when looking at it any time later. 

The second thing that we are working on is, picking up a material and working with it – in groups as well as individually! One material is worked on for three weeks for studying it to some extent.

These first three weeks have been allotted to ‘Cloth’, as  a material where for the first two weeks we have worked in groups.

We mainly identified cloth as a shell, where shell has a broader meaning of shelter engulfing or protecting everything that is within it.

We, as a group used calico, a continuous piece of calico to question the identity of a person. The concept of our artwork was to show imprisonment of a human. We were meant to show that how man is imprisoned within the boundaries of the society, of his emotions and of any other individual. How his clothes define who is he and determine the way a person has to act in life – emotionally, socially and personally. For portraying the same, we chose to use a single piece of cloth to cover each member of the group continuously in cloth with three different types of garments and expressions. For example, we had thought of covering one person in a lungi, a bear chest and a covered face, the other a chinese face, cape and under pant and so on the third one.

What we finally ended up doing was covering the first person completely and showing his bear chest, lungi and covered face. The concept now shifted to what gives an identity to the individual? The answer that came out was a person’s thinking/mentality, rest everything is a means of hiding what you actually are.

We further evolved with different concepts with the same piece of art work, the first one being, cloth can redefine the physique or characteristic of a girl and a boy. This was clear when the bear-chest garment was worn by me. The other concept that we derived from the art work was, anyone can disguise themselves and deceive others merely by hiding their own identity by means of different styling. The figure appearing out of the dark wearing the art work and covering his face was disguised as phantom.

What I learned from this activity as a group is the development of a concept. We used cloth with its basic property but now, as an individual, I would like to work with cloth structurally. Cloth is a material that flows, can be stiff and soft and can be engineered for getting required strength. I am yet to explore these aspects of cloth and am looking forward for working with it to get the desired output.Image

 

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