Peers 2006

31/05/2006
PEERS is a 4-week residency programme for recent graduates from art...
peer06
Venue: 
KHOJ Studios, New Delhi
Date: 
Wednesday, 31 May 2006 - Thursday, 15 June 2006

PEERS is a 4-week residency programme for recent graduates from art colleges across India initiated with support from the India Foundation for the Arts (IFA), which provides an opportunity for exchange and dialogue. The PEERS Program hopes to create a regular forum for experimentation, development, and critique within an alternative educational framework. PEERS 2006 brought together a diverse group of students from across the country onto a common platform that worked to provide an opportunity for open knowledge sharing within the group and the community.

PEERS Student Residency 2006

As a forum that aims to actively push the envelope of contemporary art practice mediated through practices that foreground qualities of experimentation, invention, research and critical debate, KHOJ positions PEERS as a model for practice as research within the ambit of the visual arts. The PEERS Program hopes to create a regular forum for experimentation, development, and critique within an alternative educational framework.

KHOJ provides an opportunity for a diverse group of artists to test their work within a setting that is part public, part private. The Residency practices an investigative approach that is more open-ended and enigmatic. It celebrates a diverse scene of artists all responding in different ways to each other and to the site/building. This rather more speculative approach to the production of art results in a distinct educational experience which, foregrounds improvisation, reworking, trying out alternatives, and allowing room for mistakes.

Beginning with Atul Mahajan (Baroda), whose interactive works are incomplete without the viewer's participation..., Atanu Pramanik (Santiniketan) who trained as a Printmaker but has begun moving into the realm of installation and mixed media, Lalit Bhartiya (Delhi) a sculptor from Jamia Millia Islamia, who works with metal rods, twisted into ribbed human forms..., Surabhi Saraf (Ahmedabad) ...a painter whose background in classical Hindustani music and kathak led naturally into audio-video installation works with a strong sense of performance...and Thara Thomas (Bangalore) whose interest of the shifting boundary between public and private... has led into an exploration of the relevance of art in public spaces, PEERS 2007 brought together a diverse group of students from across the country onto a common platform that worked to provide an opportunity for open knowledge sharing within the group and the community.


Critic's Essay: Bhooma Padmanabhan

In a forum such of PEERS it is the blending of people of diverse backgrounds, views and ideologies, to network and interact, that allows for critical debate, experimentation and practice. This diversity was represented by the artists at PEERS 2006, Atanu, Thara, Surabhi, Atul and Lalit, and me, the critic-in-residence. Each of us as individuals came with distinct ideologies and worldviews, but came to be a part of the collective experience that PEERS is.

The Peers workshop is a platform for equal amount of creativity and self-analysis. It is the time when the young art students are given their first glimpse at both the sides of the coin, with regard to art practice and the wider sphere of the art market. The forum itself is like a stepping stone that assists students to make the transmission into the professional world. It is designed to expose and introduce the peers to a diverse audience and varied responses to art.

PEERS is also the time for the artists and critic to re-look at their practice with a more critical eye and to gain extra focus. It is about greater exposure to and awareness of the workings of the art world. KHOJ also puts the peers in direct contact with a large number of practicing contemporary artists, critics, curators and other professionals. It is this inter-disciplinary environment that gives this forum a wider spectrum for analysis. Interaction with such a varied and experienced group gives the peers much needed guidance and confidence. (The advantage of this type of interaction was felt by all of us. The regular dialogue with Pooja and Anita were particularly interesting, as it gave us all a lot to think about and greater clarity of thought. The encouragement by all the artists helped us get rid of our hesitancy in trying something new and taught us to just go for it). The forum also provides for multi-directional mode of communication.

The other crucial facet to PEERS is the networking of students from across the country. Each art college is known for their emphasis on a particular aspect of art and each has its strengths and weaknesses, and its distinct ideology. The conscious blending of students from these various colleges has allowed for great balance in the Peers group. The effect of this was particularly felt during our long hours of discussions. Each artist’s mind is greatly conditioned by their respective colleges, its ideology and positioning, and the Peers program in this manner was a challenge directed at each of the peers, to re-look at their own individual stance.

Another aspect which I felt was most important, and perhaps not discussed in detail during the time of the residency, is the artists’ view of the art gallery and of the booming art scenario. The popular artist’s mindset, especially among young artists, places “creativity and artistic freedom” on one side of the scale and the art gallery and market on the other. This feeling was rather strongly felt among all the peers, as we were witnessing a dramatic new current in the art scenario, where art students works were being picked up for huge sums of money by big art galleries/investor. The academics saw in this the death of creativity among these young artists, who were “producing” works as per the gallery demands. What PEERS successfully did was to show us the positive side of such an art trend; that working with a gallery didn’t necessarily mean compromising on one’s creative freedom, and how this gave the opportunity for young artists to showcase their works to a wider audience (this is with particular reference with our discussions with Bharti and Subodh).

PEERS: the triple E

Experimentation, exploration and exchange, which were the key words that described this residency, were also the focal point of much of the discussion and practical enquiry. What do we mean by Experimentation? Who defines the boundaries which we explore? When does Exchange become Collaboration?

Experimentation is a constant in every artist’s practice, for what is art which does not strive for change? However is change alone experimentation? Each artist’s take on the term added a different facet to our understanding and art practice. Each of the Peers came with certain ideas for their work, of what style they wanted to work with, what material, medium etc. This idea came to be molded, reflected upon, altered and negotiated with by the end of the four weeks. Experimentation became the process which defined the works. The KHOJ workshop wasn’t just a space which allowed experimentation- that would be a rather shallow definition of it. It was a space that provided greater exposure, wider possibilities and the appropriate climate for the process of experimentation. I would compare the workshop to a pit-stop in a race, where the artist is, in a short time, given the necessary tools and exposure, to keep going in the race ahead. One of the visitors who viewed our blog gave an appropriate definition of experimentation in the arts. In art, unlike in science, experimentation doesn’t really have an end or a conclusion (this holds good to not just visual arts). It does not look for answers through experimentation but looks at experimentation as a process in itself. 

 

Looking beyond the Visual in Art: Exploration and Exchange

 PEERS is also opportunity for young artists to engage with their art from a wider perspective without isolating it within the confines of the visual arts discipline. The multi-disciplinary group of professionals that the peers get to meet enables them to look beyond the boundaries of visual arts and engage with questions of a multi-disciplinary nature. A city like Delhi with its buzzing cultural scenario allowed for greater interaction and exchange, even outside the confines of the studio space and the designed PEERS program. The peers ventured out and met professionals from theatre, performance artists, and musicians, who contributed to each of their works inversely.

“KHOJ positions PEERS as a model for practice as research within the ambit of the visual arts”. But the enquiries and exploration wasn’t restricted to the visual arts alone. Even before the KHOJ experience each of them had developed a distinctive approach to their work, with certain concerns, styles and even mediums. Collaborative works, working in public spaces, interactive instillations, and experimentation with performance/music were areas into which they had already ventured. Each of them consciously chose to extend their earlier explorations for this forum. In today’s visually stimulating world of multiple realities, where the image takes center stage, these artists (especially as seen in the works of Surabhi, Thara and Atul) extended their experimentation beyond merely the visual, and attempted to create a wider sensory experience. This is a critical direction that their works took in this forum and has to be recognized as the most significant feature of PEERS 2006.

Two heads are better than one- exchange of ideas, technical know-how and critical questions contributed a great deal to the works of all the artists. The exchange probably didn’t manifest as a collaborative work but the exchange of knowledge allowed for the artists to try new mediums of expressions despite no prior experience. Each artist became a critic in their own right, and initiated some very energetic debates. This exchange created a wonderful support group among the peers- an experience that many young artists would really benefit from.

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In Process:

When talking about the artists and their works I cannot but look at each as a part of a larger practice. Speaking of their work as an isolated project would be highly misleading and un-true. It is this that has forced me to give a brief introductory paragraph on their earlier practice, as their works here was a partial continuation of their earlier journey.

One of the most significant experiences for us all was the process of research, experimentation and production. The process might not be manifested in full in the final work but it is this that has shaped the artists’ practice. To emphasize the importance of the process in their PEERS experience I decided to make it a part of the final Open Day. A video-loop with images of the artists-in-process played the whole time much like a work in itself. The PEERS 2006 blog was also projected as a backdrop, thus making the everyday process very much a part of the final presentation.

Surabhi Saraf

Kanoria Centre for Arts, Ahmadabad

Surabhi’s work started right from the time she stepped into the KHOJ studios. The distinct and native sounds heard in the studio space and the visual maze-like feel of the studio appealed to her artistic sensibility- both as a visual artist and as a dancer-musician. Right from her early work one can clearly see both these sensibilities working in tandem, where the visual was often juxtaposed with audio. A dancer, with a sound knowledge of music, she past works laid great emphasis on the performative aspect, and this trend continues in her present work. Like she would like to say, it is the “multi-sensory” experience that she like present to her audience, not just a visual imagery.

Even before coming to KHOJ she was pondering with the idea of working with “sonic-art” (a term I was introduced to in this process) and the aesthetics of ambient music. This led her to start exploring into ‘sounds’ (not music) that enhanced the feel of the space, and heightened the visual experience of the space. Acoustic comes to play a significant part in her experimentation with sound and space.

The work emanates from her room (the room sort of like a nerve-center) and runs across the entire studio space, up and down, in and out of the archways. The setup is highly technical, with multiple speakers, amplifiers, sound mixers and live recording mikes. These gadgets are themselves like an installation creating a stage for her performance. Much of her work came together as a result of continues practice with the mixing equipments and composing the primary track.

The final work is a “performance”- live and spontaneous. Performance not in the conventional sense, where there is a ‘body’ performing, but her mixing the sounds was in itself the main act. The performance is heard and seen. Modulating, distorting, and re-mixing the native and mechanical sounds (the creaky old fan being the predominant feature) in the studio she put together compositions. This set the rhythm to her work. The final performance involved her mixing ‘live’ in front of the viewers, using ‘live’ recordings of the creaky fan along with these recorded compositions.

Through this work Surabhi created an ambience, where the sounds flowing across the space sensitizes the viewer of his/her surroundings. The work is conceived as a ‘virtual web’ of sounds, crisscrossing one-another across the studio spaces. As one moves about the space their experience of the space constantly changes and is determined by their position in space. To further enhance this experience was the web of wires (of the amplifiers itself) that ran across the walls and video projections. (The sound of the creaky fan was accompanied by, (a) a video projection of a rotating fan on the corridor wall, (b) a video projection of the sound waves on the actual fan). The audio and the visual mutually reinforced each other and enhance the final experience.

Surabhi’s working method is vigorous, as she combines practical experimentation with theoretical know-how. Her final work though ‘live and spontaneous’ was born out of days of practice and one cant ignore the process in the making of her work. Although the concept didn’t materialize and communicate quite as effectively as conceived, it was aided her with great pointers for her next work. In this project which she later named NOMONOSOUND she takes her first steps into experimenting with “sonic art” and she hopes to continue further from here.

Atul Mahajan

M.S. University of Baroda

Atul’s interest in space, and more specifically “air”, came about during his college days in Baroda. As a sculpture student his first enquiries began as he searched for newer materials for his sculpture. In his attempt at breaking away from the conventions of sculpture-making he started working with latex/rubber and therefore inflatable rubber “sculptures”. The impermanence of inflated rubber sculptures, opposed to the permanence of wood or stone, was an aspect he particularly enjoyed.

Although he had worked on several such works earlier he found the environment of KHOJ very appropriate for further experimentation along the same lines. Practically speaking, this was a chance for him to work on a larger scale as he had always wanted to (galleries weren’t particular about buying large works!!).

His work plays a dual role- as food for critical thought and as entertainment. There is a cheeky sense of humour in his works (especially with regard to his earlier works) which he consciously presents to the viewer. Atul is particular that his work has to provoke a response from the viewer- surprise, laughter or just shock, and this is exactly what his ‘sculptures’ do at first glance. However as one looks more closely they will notice the critical statement he makes or the question he puts forth to the audience.

The final work is something like a performance of shadow puppets, serpentine forms that come to life as the viewer steps in, casting a shadow on the surface of the coffin-like box. Connected to air pillows these forms spring up as the viewer walks around the work. They are alive only for the brief period when the viewer is present, thus making the viewer the most integral element in his work. The humour in the work wasn’t lost on anybody, it was provocative and mischievous.

Through this work Atuls enquires about the ‘space’- not only the space that a body occupies, but the space it displaces. The intangibility of space is given a form- the form of the shadows. Atul also reads this work at a deeper level, where he looks beyond the veil of humour. His interpretation turns the whole coffin, the forms inside and their shadows into metaphors, for death, the body and the soul.

Atul’s experimentation was through art practice itself. He challenged himself by trying new materials and attempting to present a large-scale work. He also came to acknowledge that pushing the envelopes and breaking boundaries shouldn’t be confused with setting personal limitations. Experimentations such as this were after all stepping stones and not the final goal.

Thara Thomas

Srishti School of Art & Design, Bangalore

Coming from a rapidly developing city such as Bangalore, Thara had already extended her personal critical enquiry into the public realm. In her search for alternative spaces for art practice she had already ventured into working in public spaces and with the residents of these spaces. This had led her to looking at already existing art in public spaces, such as signage. Signage is a constant in every urban space, and determines the way the space is conceived.

This was her point of departure for her work here. She arrived with no preconceived idea as to what she wanted to do and went about searching for inspiration from the city. Much of her energy went into the initial travel across the city, into the old and new, as she captured on video images that told her story. Her major concern was that her work had to have relevance to this city, and her experience if it. It was also her (dis)location and the new relationship between the city and her self that initiated this project. When she viewed the city spaces she saw an order or structure through the use of signage. The signage to her is a mechanism for social conditioning- the road signs, traffic lights, the row of reflectors on the road. They determine the nature of viewing a space.

The work finally came together as a video-installation, which brought her experience of the city and the people into her studio. Her public experience into a private space. To extend the idea beyond the 2D video screen the work extends into an installation. The thread pillars recreate the feel of the crowded streets, where one has to maneuver carefully for space of their own. As the video runs in the background a line of DOTS, like the signal on an air strip or the reflectors on the road, appear and disappear in front. The dot-dot-dot-dot sets the mechanical visual rhythm to the video- the monotony beneath everyday life. Thara uses the protagonist in this video to lead the eyes of the viewer over the screen. In one transitory moment, when the protagonist’s eye looks right at the viewers, the thin screen between the reality of the viewer and that of the video completely shatters. This completely subverts the viewer-object binary; the gaze is turned back upon the viewer himself/herself.

To Thara this is an experiment with the image itself, where the image isn’t used to replicate reality but to reinforce the viewer’s experience of their reality. Though the video communicated with great strength, the installation didn’t materialize and function as envisioned. To Thara this was a reminder that installation with all its possibilities is a complex medium as any other and needs a greater deal of thought.

Atanu Pramanik

Kala Bhavan, Shantiniketan

As a graphic artist Atanu found great enjoyment and excitement in experimenting with new surfaces and techniques. His journey into working with found objects and three-dimensional surfaces started in his college days, where he took to etching and printing on surfaces of sculptures and unconventional surfaces. At KHOJ he chose to extend his earlier practice and work with a found object- a rocking chair.

Through his work he set about translating his discomfort with his present situation in life, at cross-roads with difficult decisions to make. His state of confusion during this period of transition from a student to a professional is manifest in his work. He also pours into the work his experience of dislocation, as he finds himself suddenly in the large buzzing metro after being accustomed to the quite environs of Shantiniketan. This found-object sculpture/installation manifests his extreme dissatisfaction with his own life, where he finds no comfort and cannot capture what he desires. The bed of nails draped on the easy-chair frame and on the floor unmistakably portrays this discomfort. The multi-colored apples which are strewn just out of reach are metaphors of his unfulfilled desires.

To Atanu the process is of great significance and finds working on different materials highly challenging adventurous. Usually an artist of very few words, this forum prompted and encouraged him to be more articulate about his work. The highly personal nature of his work however didn’t allow for exchange to happen beyond the material level.

Lalit Bharthia

Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi

Lalit was the ‘late-comer’ to the PEERS, joining us after the first week, but blended right in. A student of sculpture, his interest lay primarily in material and technique. His works, prior to PEERS, were part-sculpture part-installations. Through his works he articulates his strong views on the contemporary social conditions.

As an urban Indian, and particularly a Delhite, Lalit expresses obvious concern over rising population, increasing urbanization and skyrocketing land prices in urban India. His work here is built around his hypothetical perception of the future of Delhi where public space becomes extremely scarce, to such an extant that personal vehicles have no place in public roads! He consciously chooses to portray the ‘life of the scooter’, (not a car) finding it an apt analogy for the middle class population. The scooter is transformed into household decorative furniture, a showpiece, completely loosing its original identity. He completely transforms the very look of the scooter, welding-on flowers to its surface and giving it a glass top. The scooter stands on a ‘No Parking’ sign, which reads like a subtext to the main story.

Lalit poses a question, a thought to ponder over, rather than providing the answers. The scooter is presented as a bizarre piece of art, displaced from its original space. Aesthetically what could have been dismissed as baroque, this became the most interesting aspect in his work, as this provided the vital contrast necessary to recognize the underlying questions.

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How transparent the meanings were in each of their works or how successful their experimentations were, are not questions I am trying to find exact answers to. Some of their ideas did not communicate as desired and the final work was far from what it was conceived to be. However this only reinforced the point that the work is a result of the process of experimentation, and not an end. The successes and disasters during the making of the work are the critical aspects that mould the artist’s practice. Some might feel that I might have over-read their works, or even misread it, but I have chosen to read into the whole PEERS experience and not the final works alone. To all the peers this wasn’t just isolated experiments in art, but a collective experience.

To each of us PEERS was a platform where criticism and encouragement came hand in hand and pushed us to take a chance, to experiment, to explore beyond conventional boundaries. This period of transition in an artist’s life, from being a student to being a professional, can be rather confusing; PEERS however has made us realize the actual possibilities that are open to us at this crossroads and has aided us to understand and make the right choices.

Bhooma Padmanabhan

Critic-In-Residence

PEERS 2006


Artists Statements

My prior experience with KHOJ was only as a volunteer from my college, the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, for the KHOJ international workshop 2002 in Bangalore. My experience in that space, as a student of art, working and helping the artists who were doing experiments with all sorts of materials with a great deal of rigor, was thoroughly inspiring. I tried to understand how artists dealt with new spaces and worked within limited time frames, yet coming out with amazing works. Well, that was also my first experience of interaction with the artists who made sensible works.

KHOJ, as we know, was an initial brave step towards the idea of alternative art spaces in India. It is a great platform to start as a beginner and a space for experimentation. The project I was working on right before I started the residency was on signage and spaces and I was hoping to, in fact, find a thread that would take the same project forward. But I was not sure of what was expected of me since my portfolio was all about my concern for art in public spaces. More than anything else, Peers 2006, was a grand opportunity to get away from Bangalore and explore a new city and also meet new set of people involved in arts practices.

My first week at KHOJ was very exciting. Interaction with the inmates and gallery hopping were just a beginning. Artist’s studio visits at Bharti Kher’s and Subodh Gupta’s and “No Escape” with Anita Dube and Atul Balla, were very interesting and informative. These triggered questions on issues ranging from “collaboration and hiring manual labour” to how far does public art refer to public spaces and the marketing of art. The group made regular visits to the Habitat Center, attended all the film screenings at Alliance Francaise and all this only added to the excitement.As far as my work was concerned, the visit to Old Delhi with a video camera started the process which culminated in a video installation by the end of two weeks. A general outlook on Delhi, the prominent factors such as history and the contemporary in your face and the like weren’t the only aspects that interested me. The comparison factor between old Delhi and New Delhi is the generalized sense of order and chaos from the references. The chaos that one come across in old Delhi, I felt, was only due to the extreme order that prevailed in there. Since it’s a purely business area, the term “order” if looked at closely, becomes a synonym for the seeming chaos of the streets in old Delhi. The visual meanings and the layers of interpretations that tag along when you overlooked a widely generalized aspect also interested me. The undeniable mechanical image of the place fascinated me.

But these scattered thoughts did not solidify into any concrete imagery or concept for a while. It was all about trying to figure out something that made sense to myself and what was practical in the given time period. Also since I was not familiar with the spaces or people I wasn’t sure of working on a public art project. Certain shots while viewing the footage of Old Delhi triggered a few ideas and I sort of decided on the medium before the work started., I had used this medium as a tool for the documentation for my previous works, here I had a chance to experiment and use the medium effectively. I worked with some footage of Old Delhi. Also whenever I had a chance, I randomly shot with the handicam around the place, light sources, hands, spaces, streets, Bhooma interviewing peers, Surabhi singing and the peers at work. Some of those images sort of built a narrative mind map. The frames pointed out the questioning or understanding the state of viewing and being viewed, thereby finding a thread to look at the general perception of something\anything, in relation to the term conditioning, here social conditioning.

My interpretation of this line of thought started with finding a suitable element that could be identified as a reference to a simple mechanical act. The recurring dots … transferred onto a transparent screen, inserted into a physical space, a street, where a kid spots the non-real screen and starts following the movement of the dots and tries to co-ordinate movements of his eyes and of the dots. The audience watching the video mimics the eye movement of the character there by, reversing the roles of the viewed and the viewer themselves. But then it falls into random snippets which align themselves with a visual experience of movements. Although mundane, their subjectiveness alters the very intention.

The video was complemented by an installation using screens built with threads tied on to hollow pipes, hanging from the ceiling and reflecting dots on the wall referring to passive subtle conditioning. The intention was to allow people to walk through the erratic movements of the screens to reach the space where the video can be viewed closely.(Dots→make a line→directions, Traffic signals→ social condtioning→order and so on)On the opening day, despite the last minute jitters and all the running around and getting things installed, the space filled with people anxious to see what we did at KHOJ. The work was appreciated and critiqued and run through a wider spectrum of interpretations than expected along with a lot of feed back for a next step (guess, that makes me a happy artist).One advice that was very relevant was” being an artist one needs to learn to edit out thoughts and ideas for the work to be crisp, focused and to the point.”

Throughout during the residency, no one was lenient to each other when it came to critiquing each others ideas and questioning the way of working. At the same time, they were not reluctant when it came to helping each other. Discussing the ideas with the peers now and then helped sort out technical issues and making practical decisions and to gain a wider perspective on ways of working.

The all-nighters during the editing of the video in the peak of summer were a bit unbearable. But that became a secondary concern once we all started getting involved in our works. Visit to the whole sale markets for materials, expensive auto rides, trying and testing the extent of my spoken Hindi with the locals and trying to fit in saying I KNOW HINDI, IT’S JUST THAT I’m NOT USED TO SPEAKIN IT, getting frustrated to see no one believed you, occasional inputs from the KHOJ Library and the sparks of inspiration being around enthusiastic people like Pooja, Rohini, Astha, Hemanth, Rahul and Manoj sir kept me going.

Future plans: definitely unknown. But through the showcase of work, if not anything else, I ‘m more confident of showing my work to people. Currently I’m reworking the video and the installation I did at KHOJ, trying to work with space more effectively and hopefully I will be able to exhibit …again soon.

Thank you for the opportunity.

Thara

15-08-2006 2006

Bangalore

 

Atul Mahajan (MSU Baroda)

I knew about KHOJ from a very long time. My senior had informed me that they arranged the residency workshop for which they invited very selective that I would get a chance to go to KHOJ and soon enough I was selected for the peer's residency 2006.

After I went there, we were told a lot about KHOJ. Amongst these, I heard about the art laboratory there and was extremely thrilled as I realized I had come to a place where l'd have plenty of freedom to work. I thoroughly enjoyed myself during the workshop, I liked the library at KHOJ as well. I enjoyed talking to many senior artists there.

I found the one months time at the workshop very little. Perhaps, others there didn't feel the same, but going to a new place, understanding new things takes time for me. It was my first experience at such a workshop and was extremely enjoyable and In the future, if KHOJ ever invites me to such a workshop again, I'll consider myself lucky.

In recent days there is crowd of various workshops everywhere in which an artist can earn 15 to 30,000. In such work shop artists exhibit their work which undoubtedly goes under the collection of workshop organiser but now it seem that the concept of maximum profit through workshop as entered and real purpose of workshop is lousing its value even artist participating in workshop often do not aware about the organiser and purpose of workshop.

But in KHOJ I realized that this sense of profit does not exist and an environment which I found in KHOJ workshop was really helpful in exploring new things and concepts.

I see metaphysics as a garden a kind of organism form which ideas grow the basic concept behind my work the relation between absence and symbolic presence. The basic idea that came to my mind was the notion of soul and its presence in the human mind in different times and cultural spaces and I wanted to bring visibility to this idea with my formal experimentation with light and shadow.

If we talk about the presence of soul we can find in every ancient philosophy they have given importance to this notion and as an Indian we can find the notion of soul plays an important role in the Indian psyche as for as my work is interactive based the viewer plays a major role in bringing out my work live the material presence of my work is very simple a coffin like box with light projection form inside and few form of rubber material connected with air pillow which are laid in the floor whenever a person enter the room and walk on the air pillow the form start appearing in the light screen creating a shadow in the coffin like box which creates an illusion of the presence of something which is not directly visible whenever a person peep inside the box form appears in the screen and the shadow varies according to the wait and movement of person, as the person leaves the room the shadow form also disappears, I am not particularly interested in following the viewer. That part of the satisfaction of my work is the conflict between the abstract and invisible notion of the soul .....

 

Atanu Pramanik (Kala Bhavan Santiniketan)

This new city as Delhi motivated me to make the art product from the found objects. The nature of the urban area is not quite well-known to me; - Delhi the capital of this country actually confused me. –I faced some difficulties to regulate here in the beginning, as I had no experience to live in a busy &in addition to a highly developed city; since I came from a small town& did my studies at Santiniketan which is not a city too. I have just finished my M.F.A. exam, so it is the time of relaxation; but the question ‘what will be my next step’- the indefinite future is unsettling me in every time-this inside has come out through my work. The easy chair which generally symbolizes as the object of relaxation-can’t award me any stability as I am in trouble. I used pins to establish my self expression. The compositions in etching are as the part of my work are the reflection of my personal experiences with this new feeling. No doubt this work is totally a face of myself.

My work began the moment I entered KHOJ. The first thought that came to my mind, after choosing my studio, was how could I use this space to create a piece of work using minimum external materials...like the dusty old fan, which I happened to notice, because of its creaking sound, resonating to the good acoustics of the room. I started walking about the room, humming a song...there were three prominent sounds; the percussive creaking of the fan. the crushing sound of the dust by my shoes on the floor, and the echoing sound of me, humming. Without thinking much I started recording it using my little mp3 player and modulating the sounds a little bit by changing my walking and humming pattern. The recording, sounded okay, though I didn't know how to go further. I put it aside and did a little bit of research on sound art, listening to artists experimenting with, mechanical, natural, electronic sounds etc and creating various acoustic environments, also urging me to create my own...lot of ideas started popping up. I could see possibilities within each. Next few days I spent dealing with these pop ups, making me more and more confused about which one to work on. So I thought I will try few of these ideas out and see which one works. But it was not practically possible to conceptualize and execute all of them in so little a time. The presentation and the discussion that followed with Anita Dube, Subodh Gupta, Bharti Kher and Pooja Sood, was very encouraging and gave me a lot of confidence, we spoke about the performance aspect of the work, but still maintaining the ambient nature, which was one idea I was clear about developing further.

I made a visit to the old city of Delhi looking for sonorous materials giving a good resonating sound but nothing worked, but was kind of fascinated by the way the whole city looked wrapped up in an entangling mesh of cables, striking me with the idea to create a virtual web using sound. I decided to re record the sounds of the fan and amplify it through different speakers placed at different positions and levels in the building, therefore giving me the possibility of modulating the acoustic space through channel pannings and levels.

The best way to start was to try it out I thought! I had my first trial after two days. got two sets of stereo speakers, two amplifiers, and a microphone.

I played the amplified sounds of the fan through them...Still that wasn't the effect I wanted to create, because it was getting monotonously boring after a point. then I thought probably I could play by modulating, distorting, and mixing the tracks to form a composition, to work out the details and technicalities of the execution, Hemant introduced me to his friend Brin, who is a sound engineer, giving me quick lessons on the software Abelton live, which provided me with the interface for the performance.

As I have generally faced and am sure lot of my fellow artists would have faced the situation answering questions about your own work. Being at KHOJ, gave me a sort of a freedom and a lot of confidence to work with a framework of my own, without any limitations and always ready to entertain fresh ideas, KHOJ just made it easier on my mind to work things out. My work, though not fully interactive, involves the audience playing an important role in terms of planning the movement. The most exciting part the work might be the uncertainty and a certain spontaneity of the final production, but in actuality most of it was planned leaving only a ten percent scope for improvisation.

The idea of a 'loop' was improvised in the work in combination with repetitive and self evolving ever changing elements.

The show. the most awaited day. Went off as in a fraction of a second.Once it was set up, things went off so smooth that i couldn't just believe it! Thanks to everyone at KHOJ for their cooperation and help. I got a very warm response from the discussion the next day!!