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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One thought on “MEMORY LAB: Closing first movement…

  1. Hi Surabhi, this post is a good detailed description of the event/ experience/ process. It may also help to reflect upon the following:

    – How do you feel about what happened?
    – What did you learn from this experience?
    – If you were to do this again, what would you like to change and why?
    – What else could you do / have done?

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