Memories…A collaborative work on childhood memories!

Finally, we headed towards the final movement of the memory lab.

This final movement gave us a platform to choose and present any memory that somewhere pricked us. The only challenge that was incorporated within this movement unlike the others was – a collaborative work. Yes, we had this opportunity to know, explore and work with the art students of the University of Rhode Island where we had to collaborate our ideas and memory and produce work.

Well, for me the most exciting part of the collaboration was the introductory session where all the students from Srishti spoke to all the students from URI individually. The session was chaotic yet boastful at the same time. This was because we had to speak to each student individually for 5-10 minutes and decide the partner with whom we will be working with. The enthralling part of this meet was to connect with one person from the opposite end in just a few minutes.

After talking to them and knowing a bit about them, I decided to work with one of the students there. Both of us then teamed up with my peer and friend here at Srishti and commenced working on the collaboration.

Me and my friend were initially thinking of working with memories and technology. While we chatted and gained a little more knowledge about the type of work that the URI students were doing, we discovered that this memory collaboration was a part of their photography assignment.

Both of us here started brainstorming to come up with a concept that could engulf the memories of all three of us. After having discussions and exchanging a couple of e-mails, we three froze the topic for working on for this movement – childhood memories. The aspect that we chose to work on within childhood memories was ‘fun, sports and games’.

Both of us here at Srishti, had made it a point that if the work was a collaboration, it should look like one. For the same reason, we went about clubbing the memories of the three of us and producing an artwork. Philomena – our URI partner, had decided to work with the memory associated with her childhood toys. Likewise, my peer here derived her inspiration from the winning and participation in sports events at school and state level and my memory was inspired from a small game that me and my cousins had set up as a part of a ‘fun fair’ when I was a kid. My memory inspired me to think of the overall concept of our work – to peep through the memories. Peeping for the reason that whenever we trace back a memory or think about an event of the past, we never have a clear and complete picture about that event instantly. We always think about specific aspects of that memory. I intended to use the form of my memory as peepholes for viewing the memories of the past of my peer’s and Philomena’s.

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We froze our idea of installation with the memories in the form of photo frames and digital flip book being peeped through the peep holes.

Well, it was fun to work as a group and create the installation. We managed to get the photographs from Philomena in time which were to be complied as a flip book to set up for the exhibition.

The day of the exhibition arrived. We installed our works exactly the way we had ideated. Well, after the work was installed in the gallery space, I encountered and concluded certain things about our work.

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First of all, I liked my idea of peeping through the memories but felt that the structure that we had created could not justify the action of peeping. If at all the holes would have been smaller and lesser (opened), the action of peeping could have been achieved. It would have made the viewer more curious and inquisitive to peep into the memories.

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Video of the photographs clicked by Philomena…

https://vimeo.com/home/myvideos

 

Secondly, I was not quite happy with the presentation. I felt that if at all the set up behind the holes could have been rendered a little more old visually, the whole setup could have worked out well. Certain elements like the trophies and the laptop didn’t add the touch and feeling of being old.

Lastly, I felt that if at all we would have got some quality time to discuss our collaboration with the URI students, things must have been better.

As this is the last segment of the memory lab, I discovered quite a few things about working with memories.

I discovered that memory is just a trigger or an inspiration of work. It is never possible to recreate the same memory the way it was. 

I genuinely felt the lack and need of research in my works. I now am determined to work further with a prior research towards any kind of work.

 

 

 

 

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Research through Artistic Practices: An Insight!

‘Research through Artistic Practices’ – while working through this course, I was completely unaware of the fact that I was learning to research through certain artistic practices. I only thought of it as a medium of exploring different materials to find the interest of one’s own self. Frankly speaking, when our faculty, Rakhi, used to ask us to go beyond and explore, I hardly understood the exact meaning of what she was trying to tell until our last class, where bingo! I knew exactly what we were doing in this course. Suddenly each and every word that Rakhi spoke throughout the course, rang like a bell in my head, made absolute sense to me and I now know, what we had been doing could reach to a greater level but I then only felt, ‘I wish I could discover this earlier’.

Quite a few things happened in the last class and the week before, that suddenly triggered in me the idea behind Research through Artistic Practices.

First of all, I realized the importance of concept in any work. This was partly because of Rakhi’s teachings and partly because of a friend’s words that I came across while in a serious conversation with her. The line that I remember is, “Without a concept, your work would just add on to the heap of products in the market. A strong concept leads to form the identity of the product and the individual”.

Secondly, while discussing the text of Michel Foucault in class namely “What is an Author?, our discussion reached to a point where Rakhi was talking about tracing back the history of the works we were doing currently. She talked about researching through whatever has been done. While listening to her carefully, I gazed at her and suddenly my mind started wandering around and telling again and again, “Ok! It is fine that we know the history, it is good to discover how things have been worked on in the past and the extent to which the work has been carried forward. Ok! Fine it is that we research through all this. But…But…why do we need to look into the history at all?“…although now I was hearing Rakhi, my mind was simply occupied with this thought and spoke again and again…”Why is it that important? What if we do not see anything in the past? How did the first artists on earth start working without having anything in hand to look at?”

Now, after serious conflict between my listening and thinking muscles, I could not resist but asked this question to Rakhi – after all, why is it necessary at all to trace back history.

What Rakhi told me imbibed in me the importance of the artistic history in terms of tracing back its cultural importance and having an identity of the work itself.

A couple of Rakhi’s words galvanized me, “If I look at any piece of art and could link it to something that brings out the identity of it or shows something about its cultural background, only then I can term it as ‘work’ otherwise it just a hobby inspired activity“.

The last class of Research through Artistic Practices inspired me to work in a particular direction by giving in 100 per cent importance to it and by researching through the artworks and works that have been done until now.

Well, after this class, whatever I was developing in clay felt so dis-satisfactory. I had started working on a model of a chair that was designed by me in under graduation. I remember, when I told Rakhi what I was doing, she had asked me about the details of its history of research. That time, I couldn’t understand what exactly she was asking for. But now as I have understood it well, I have started researching on the extent of work done in clay in furniture and architecture architecture.

Although it feels pointless at the moment for developing that chair, but I have decide that I will complete it and after my research, go on developing a different work with an all new insight. This would instill in me the sense of self-satisfaction and I will be able to spot the difference in the quality of work and the impression of it on my audience.

As I have worked in clay before elementarily, it was not very difficult for me to handle the material but what I came across now and found interesting was the freedom of expression through form with this material. Clay is the best material to express through form.

The stop motion animation film, ‘Food’ by Jan Svanmajer, shown to us during a class, redefined for me one, the extent of using clay as a form and two, conceptualization. 

I feel that I have learned a big lesson towards the end of this course which is actually beneficial.

 

Initial Clay exploration

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