A terracotta craftsman working on his patent clay piggy banks. The product range is limited to various sizes of a single design piggy bank and God idols for various festivals.
A terracotta craftsman working on his patent clay piggy banks. The product range is limited to various sizes of a single design piggy bank and God idols for various festivals.
How colorful the life is now. This is what came to my mind the very first time those packets of colorful sand were placed in front of me. I went deeper into that thought and instantly it came to my mind what is it that makes my life so blissful. Some sort of a negative feeling has been dissipated from my life. Yes it has. My life now is what I wanted it to be – Self dependent.
Ever since in the workshop with Tahirey, we were given that material (colorful sand) to play and experiment with, I could only think of what I just mentioned.
We had to produce an artwork which talked about one of our own qualities or a part of our life which described or influenced us.
In my artwork, I portrayed me and my younger brother successfully coming out of a complex and dependant life of my house where the decisions for us were taken by the third generation elders instead of our own parents. I tried to show the problems that we faced due to the generation gap between us and our grand parents and how we conquered that and reached our goal of self driven behavior. I have carefully chosen the colors of the sand to demonstrate the state of the humans individually in that particular frame.
As seen in the picture above, I used the yellow, green and blue colors to show mine, my brother’s and my parents’ life and aspirations. Full of greenery and regardless of ‘Stop’ as symbolized by the red which is the word and feeling that comes out of my grandparents life. Always a NO for any smallest of the things
I used various sizes of the character symbolizing cylinders to portray the position of the person in the house. The longest red cylinder signifies my grandfather who always is against our thoughts and ideas – who probably has his own thinking which he expects today’s generation to follow.
The middle-sized blue and yellow cylinders symbolize my parents who although have a higher position than us in the house, have a neutral say in the decisions for us – as suggested by their colors. But the fact is that they support us and know that we need to go ahead in life and face the world.
The other two smallest green cylinders – out of which one is even smaller symbolizing my younger brother, signify the ‘Go’ or willing to move ahead in life mindset. It shows they are away and won’t listen to the NOs and the IFs and BUTs.
I tried to show that how with the constant effort, we succeeded in moving ahead in life leaving behind all the negativeness.
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.
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.
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.
Video of the photographs clicked by Philomena…
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.
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.
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.
Then I started placing the thermocol sheets on the frame with the two-way tape.
I soon finished the structure. Placed the table and chairs inside the space and the canvas and the related things outside.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.