Peers 2007

31/05/2007
Peers 2007 is a continuation of the student residencies in the past at Khoj Studios.
Peers 2007
Venue: 
KHOJ Studio, New Delhi
Date: 
Thursday, 31 May 2007

4 week art laboratory for 6 artists/students shortlisted from around India. PEERS is supported by the India Foundation of the Arts, Bangalore.

Peers 2007 is a continuation of the student residencies in the past at KHOJ Studios. Every summer, five artists along with a critic work at the Khoj Studios in coordination with each other and at the same time borrowing from each other's ideas. the idea is to promote learning by sharing for these young artists.

Peers 2007 Project Book

The Peers Residency programme is aimed at providing a discursive space for emerging art students in India .

Uma Ray reflects on the inward journey of a person exploring the self-within as well the outward journey where a person comes in contact with the living realities of the world.

Prathap Modi works with massive woodcuts and plays around with the psychological mindset of the consumer in the mechanical world.

Aishwarya Sultania works with the idea of the sense and sensibilities of the heart and the mind mapping. She had attempted to transform the very thought process in to images.

Aditi Kulkarni meditates on the idea of time and space. She creates spaces that would give the viewer a different perception and experience of the two.

Shaahkar Siddique is a sound practitioner and experiments on the relationship between music and Spiro graphic movement by simulating laser images.


Artists' Self Crit

Aditi Kulkarni - " Inhale Exhale "

It’s all about space, space-time and noise!

What is noise? Does a fraction have a noise or noise itself is a fraction.

Noise we see, noise we hear noise we face.

Noise put to silence, noise put on to hide the noise

We pass through all these faces of noise every time; one of it is always dominating us at a time. The proportions Time, space and noise are inter-related; the frequency of noise is equal to the time traveled per second. This noise frequency creates space for the noise to be heard which reflects time, whether loud, middling or low or 1st person, second person or the third person, so it’s a continuous process.

Like the Einstein’s theory of relativity E= mc2 the energy lost is energy gained or likewise the Newton third law to every action has got equal and opposite reaction. All the elements are rather interdependent on each other; likewise the space without time is dead. Time traveled creates space-time. The noise depends upon the generated pace with which the time travels the designed space. The quality of space is reaction of time violence. If space = non-violence and time = violence then there must be a point when space = space=time silence is achieved and non- violence= violence! It would be a perfect proportion. So space = space-time = silence are interdependent .Any one dominates other will rise to rule.

Inhale Exhale!

This installation is about to experience the impact of noise, the proportion of space and the pace of time. I believe violence is directly proportional to space and inversely proportional to time.

The path is designed to travel from a space full of violence to a space of dominance of color, noise and distractions to a space of white noise- creating a block in you and further to a white space to find individuality, Inhale and finally a black space to Exhale the imposed noises and exits.

Aishwarya Sultania - "In and out of the Heartscape" + "Excerpts from my painting"

Excerpts from my painting

They always say ‘detail of a painting’ but I, would rather call it “excerpts from my painting” for to me, it was more ‘written’ than ‘drawn’, more ‘performed’ than ‘painted’……

Having got an opportunity to indulge in doing entirely experimental work, I found myself venturing into a diagnostic centre to make a ‘painting’ of my expressions by the process of Electroencephalogram (eeg). The performance of the various expressions generates impulse from the nerves which are then picked up by the electrodes (placed on the scalp & crown) and transmitted onto the computer screen in the form of waves which correspond to the various muscle and nerve movement. Hence, one gets a graphical representation of ones expressions, in the form of a booklet where each page is different and has my expressions ‘written’ all over it.

While working with this exciting new medium things weren’t totally in my control. They never are really and I believe that they should not even be, for then there remains little scope for accidents, discovery and growth. I performed and then waited to see the painting that I made and which partly happened by itself.

Sswussh aaahh!!

Have you ever wondered how important a pot is?? Well, most of human thoughts and ideas are generated on the pot. While on the pot, the human being is totally transported into another world, not only through thoughts but also through feelings. The transportation through thoughts as in getting an idea or thought (sswussh) and then reacting to it (aaahh!!). Transportation through feelings as in dumping (sswusshh) and then experiencing the relief (aaahh!!) that follows. The pot does not remain a mere pot. It serves multiple functions. Who can say that acting as a catalyst in the generation of ideas and thoughts and then transporting the individual into another world is any ‘small job’??!!? Soooo…… I decided to give the pot a thought so that it too can have its share of glory and finally feel the aaaahhh!!!!!!!!!!!

In and out of the heartscape

In the present times how many people provide help and support services to hear your heart out?? Why is there such a need to talk your heart out to someone else? With so much stress in everyday life, with the way the relationships are….constantly changing, one needs to have a strong heart, to learn to live, to move on. In a land where ‘deviyon ke roop badalte hain’, where the popular soaps constantly sing ‘rishton ke bhi roop badalte hain’ then why not a transformation of the heart? In an age where meaningless ‘progress’, inventions and discoveries at the cost of human ethics and values have led to so much stress, where hearts have to be run on pacemakers, why not have just another invention to de-stress, to cool, to refresh the heart from stress- an exhaust in the heart. An exhaust, which actually looks like a flower would blossom when the heart feels good and when there is stress and smoke in the heart it would transform itself back into the strong metal exhaust which will withstand stress by eliminating the smoke. I wish such a hearts cape would be…....for we have only one heart …not many.

Prathap Modi - “Hooked to virtual hallucination”

If there were dreams to sell, what would you buy?

         Title       : “Hooked to virtual hallucination”

         Medium : Mixed Media on wood, mirror, weight machine

I combine a narrative mode with naturalistic charm and a sense of melancholy which evokes ambiences reminiscent of my native place and surroundings in a society.

I like to play around with popular imageries that conditions oneself making him think the external voice is authentic rather than self-appropriations.

The virtual hallucinations idea arrived in my journey from baroda station to KHOJ studio.

Every body has a desire to view oneself as an example set by the world around him/her. Right from once physicality, psychological character, capacities we tend to leave it at the hands of others to determine.

I have attempted to bring forth the concept of creating a visual recreation of a purely internal experience-seduction through my work.

The mirror which contains your reflection mimics the message of the stereo typical weighing machine that has nothing to do with your truest being but at the same time you can see the reflections of yourself imposed on such an imagery.

“A man's true wealth is the good he does in the world. Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror. But you are eternity and you are the mirror.” - Kahlil Gibran

Shaahkar Siddiquee – Reverberation

What is reverberation .. when one sees this word in context of the understanding which humanity has had since its dawn one will see the (especially with the advent of quantum physics), that everything, every object is but nothing but a mass of atoms oscillating at very high speed. Furthermore with the concept of time this oscillation converts it self into a continuum and represents itself on an empirical level as waves and waves when vibrate in a continuum express themselves as reverberation.  Everything which i will be using in my installation will have a strong linking to this aspect. sound is a wave hence it reverberates. laser; a form of light reverberates.the design which arises as a result of this confluence of laser and sound will create wave like pattern which have a resonance like feel, yes that is also reverberation. If look closely with the knowledge which we have now, we can say that anything and everything reverberates.

To add on to this .. There is one more axiom in relation with this whole thing (of what reverberation is, the other view), in regards with the epistemology of the knowledge of quantum physics. In Hindu mythology everything is made up of waves...in fact its if one closely looks the difference between what quantum physics says and what this ancient tradition says, chances are he would not find anything dissimilar in them.

Coming back to a more personal level, we also reverberate between our emotions. we do not at any point of time are fixed at one emotion and in fact it is this aspect that makes us more like human. otherwise whats the use of being stuck in one state for a lifetime??

Essentially i will be making 4 design generators (laser resonance display) and make them react to the contours of the sound.

Uma Ray – "Journey inward - Journey outward / Cross Over / The Trail"

The Crossover -

The first thing that struck me even when I had visited the place for the first time was the location of KHOJ, the distinct dissimilarity of the people who lived and worked on either side of the KHOJ compound wall. The KHOJ boundary wall distinguished the outside world from the inside world, the difference in the kind of people who work within and outside the premises of KHOJ .

This interested me immensely and culminated to the work I wanted to do. I invited them to come over to my studio. Anything that came out aggression, enthusiasm would eventually find a way through their interaction with the space. As in my earlier works I have dealed with issues of the self in the midst of various uncertainties and the complexities within one self that prevents us from opening up to people. This also dealt with a similar concept, which availed the people to break the barricade and enter into a dialogue.

The Trails -

Trails are the little interesting aspects that make KHOJ an interesting place all together. Through this video which will be shown on loop and projected on the ceiling made of wooden planks, I have shown the inconspicuous but significant marks or personal traces that all people tend to leave behind in a space. And those themselves become a part of the space itself, its identity.

The Journey Inward – Journey Outward.

This work was conceived the first time I was here in Delhi. I used flex for a surface to narrate spontaneously the thoughts that came to me while making my journeys. It is not just a journey a mere physical movement, it is a shift that I make emotionally and mentally as well. Journey outward is only the means of realizing the journey that I make in life. Moving on, meeting people and dispersing. It has its symbolic significance and the work is the mean of sharing my views. However the work itself speaks for itself.


A report by Jayashree Venkatadurai, Critic-in-residence

Images: Matter and Persona

A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.-Oscar Wilde

It is true for the Artists as for the dreamers. As long as we dwell in our dreams the world is so unproblematic. The moment we wake up, its pathetic realities affront us. Poverty and hunger with the backdrop of globalization and urbanization; caste and gender discriminations with the backdrop of religious fundamentalism confront us. Life and death seemingly oscillate between the urge to survive and the effort to serve others.

Art becomes an empty signifier if it is not an aesthetic awakening to reality. Art does not solve problems, but makes us aware of their existence. It opens our eyes to visions and our brains to imaginations. When the artist is alive in any person, whatever his kind of work may be, he becomes inventive, searching, daring, self-expressive creature. He becomes interesting to other people. He disturbs, upsets, enlightens, and opens ways for a better understanding. Where those who are not artists are trying to close the book, he opens it and shows that there is still more writing possible. Therefore artists, apart from bearing witness to the events around them, are bound to react critically and searchingly.

Few academic institutions provide the art students the academic freedom to practice according to their own evolving styles and imagination. Many institutions do not provide the academic background that enables one to reflect about social conditions that relate to artistic expression. An institution like KHOJ workshop is commendable for it provides an opportunity to young artists to bring out their latent imaginations with complete freedom of execution. It provides a platform for young minds that are brought together from all corners of the country to stay together and share their experiences and thoughts. In the KHOJ Workshop for Peers-2007 we were six people from different parts of India.

Pratap Modi- “Hooked to virtual hallucination”

Pratap Modi my batch mate from the Printmaking Department of M.S. University Baroda engaged himself in making massive woodcuts. His work imitated the weighing machine tickets. Normally the tickets hold photograph of a popular personality and a sentence that hints at the fortune of the person who is being weighed. He made six big massive replicas of the ticket in wood cut with the photograph of the peer groups members at KHOJ manipulated in to a stencil image through the aid of Photoshop. The weight and photograph of his fellow peers were displayed on the final day as wood cut prints when he had also exhibited the blocks he used to make the prints.

Pratap’s crux of the argument is with regard to popular-commercial culture and its impact on people. His claim, to my mind, is as follows: Instead of looking at ourselves as mere reflections of consumer culture and the norms that are set by its overall agenda, we should proceed with a conscious and self motivated understanding of ourselves. The two admirable aspects I found in Pratap’s work are: the massive scale and the economical and user friendly hardboard which he deploys as him medium. All through the residency, our discussions focused on the method and theme on which he works. I appears to me that he has a need to reflect on the art works that stem from images circulated by popular culture (like that of Chuck Close’s portraits and Andy Warhol’s conceptualization) while researching a lot more on how to anchor himself on vivid conceptions.

Pratap aptly exploits the textured surface of plywood which is malleable for different types of scooping out. As against the heavy wooden planks ply is economical as well as easy for handling. Apart from using them as the printing blocks he also presented them as low relieves. Pratap hired an electric scale for the final show in which he fixed a mirror in lieu of the images of film actors and the stenciled pictures of the participants of our workshop which were at the centre of the woodcuts. The idea of using an actual electronic weighing machine and reflective acrylic sheets for lettering are ornamental devices to please the senses. The risk that most of the contemporary artworks that tease and critic the consumer culture run are that they end up being replicas of they seek to contest. There are causes for concern on that score with Pratap’s work too. Pratap had recorded on video his entire process of working which he displayed during open studio. This explained to the audience the creative process. Though his work was titled as “Hooked to virtual hallucination”, the expression was rather transparent with no mystification.

Shaahkar Siddiquee – Reverberation

Shaahkar’s works combine sound and visual. He attached a speaker in to laser beam pointers. As he played his music an array images arose from the laser beams that resonate with the music created. Shaahkar’s attempt is quite innovative and distinct in conception. Particularly, the objects with which he produced this music like empty beer bottles, water cans and scrap metal was mind blowing. He used electrodes from mobile phones, kiddy toys and electronic waste materials to evolve his project. The images produced by the laser vary in shapes. Sometimes they are spirals and some they form complex patterns.

During the open studio event, Shaahkar’s work perhaps didn’t get the secluded atmosphere it perhaps needed amidst the range of multi-media works on display. With greater conceptual elaboration and a proper setting to display, like a darkened auditorium with acoustic precision may enhance the value of the work.

Aishwarya Sultania - In and out of the Heartscape

Among all the KHOJ peers Aishwarya’s works were the most expensive. She had displayed three installations on the open day. Her concepts are pinned to her everyday life. People, places, emotions, actions, expressions all formed the subject matter of her work. Aishwarya brought in the welders, carpenters and the electricians to complete her elaborate installations.

For heart-scape she had made a welded iron heart at one corner of the room, covering it with red cellophane paper. She placed a light inside the heart like contraption. At the back of it she placed an exhaust fan. The whole room was painted with black and red wavy strokes and was filled with red heart shaped balloons stuck on to steel wires across the room. Only two could enter the room at a time. As they entered the heart the light inside the heart was switched on. The moment they left the heart the exhaust was on. This supposedly expressed the stress one undergoes within oneself when people get inside and come out of one another’s heart (may be a lover). As they leave one has to exhaust the feeling. The complexity of the material constitution of the institution is in total contrast to what appears a commonplace idea. Further, the choice of the material to represent ideas has got be appropriate. Steel welding doesn’t appear to suggest the tenderness associated with heart as sponge might. The installation appeared to lack clarity and precision in terms of the concept. What exactly is the conceptual specificity of heart? How does it relate to history of representation and the real? These questions beg answers in the face of empty homogenization of humanity.

Performance has been a way of appealing directly to a large public, as well as shocking audience into reassessing their own notions of art and its relation to culture. Aishwarya’s other project consisted of a video recording of her performance in a hospital room. She arranged the images during medical scanning while making lip and chin movements and projected them as a form of art work. This video of the artist undergoing the scanning was displayed on the screen while the scanned images were pasted in the form of a screen that had made partition between her art works. Though it was an interesting experiment, I feel it was hard for the viewers to connect to the experience. The images and accompanying sounds were unclear amidst other installations compounding the problem.

She explores with different mediums and is quiet excited in experimenting. Her project “Sswussh Aah!” was installed in the rest room. A hard board was fixed on the top of the toilet on which “Sswussh Aah!” was perforated like a sieve and shown through the light at its back. Whenever the visitor sat on the commode the noise “Sswussh Aah!” was created through a sound system. A relief from constipation perhaps points to letting imagination free, but it is hard to keep at bay a sense of the trivial. A deeper understanding of the works of artists like Ana Mendieta and Chris Burton who focus on their body-performance may enrich Aishwarya’s future works with greater insights.

Aditi A. Kulkarni - Inhale and Exhale

Aditi’s project was based on the issues of time and space. She had created multiple tiny rooms in which Television sets were installed. Each television set showed a different channel while some of them were still searching for signal. The artist’s plan was probably, to take the audience in to a roller coaster of emotions as the sound and atmosphere varied from room to room. She had pasted newspapers all around the room in order to block the noise from one room to another. The walls of the rooms were made by corrugated papers. On the open day during which the peers were showing their previous works, we could see that the entire range of Aditi’s works are persistent abstracts. It is interesting to see her travel from minimal abstractions all the way to the multi faceted installation. The use of corrugated sheets in place of the partitions, I would say, is a clever idea which is also inexpensive. The nature of this material not only solves the purpose of partition but also resists the passage of light. The artist had added beauty to it by way of doing some abstract sketches with enamel paint on the surface of the sheet and the surrounding walls. She displayed pairs of wooden boxes painted black and white, printing on the black one “inhale” and the white one “exhale”. The boxes were probably the expressions of agony of congested city space within which we are caught up between the still and moving images. One could understand considering the city in which the artist lives-Bombay!

Uma Ray – "Journey inward - Journey outward / Cross Over / The Trail"Journey inward - Journey outward

Uma Ray stuck all the bus tickets of her travels to and in Delhi to a flex board on which she also wrote her everyday thoughts and feelings. She feels it was not just a physical journey but then something that was powerful enough to make a shift in her thought process. Journey outward on the other hand was the means of realizing the journey that she had made in various walks of her life. Moving on, meeting people and dispersing and sharing her views it is absolutely a journey contrary to the previous one. The artist explains that the work is self explanatory which becomes complete through her second visit to Delhi. Through her work she attempts to figure out her subjective position that reflects on the outside world and the outside world in its authenticity visited by her. Shall we name it “Home and the World”? Well, one can understand it for the artist is from Kolkata.

Cross Over

Cross over is a community project that Uma had evolved after talking with the community around KHOJ. This way she had made use of the surroundings of KHOJ, the Khirki Village. As the peers project was on we could see the youth and the kids of the neighborhood walking in and out of the KHOJ space with ease. They interacted with the inmates and played in the campus or ran in to the office to converse with the staff. This inspired all of us to interact with the community. As a result Uma’s project turned out to be a community activity inviting the people from the KHOJ village and asking them to record their expressions as an attempt at breaking the compound wall that separates the “Organization - KHOJ” from the “Khirki Village”.

The Trail

This work attempted to look in to the traces that were left behind by the people in the residency. The artist captured in a video projection interesting moments and personalities that was projected on the roof. Largely Uma’s works engages through words. During the initial presentation at the beginning of the residency, senior artist Anita Dube rightly suggested Jenny Holzer to her. I think Uma engages with two modes of expression. One is the monologue where in she revisits her thoughts and the other the interactive mode where she aligns the same with the community around. Apart from Jenny Holzer, this reminded me of the artists Barbara Kruger and Martin Firrel. But one should also notice that these artists’ works are not simply confessional or inward philosophical journeys but also powerful reflections on violence, war, class and gender hegemonies they focused upon. The individual in them undergo a shift when they are in association with the outside world.

Jayashree Venkatadurai - Please mind the Gap

Delhi, the capital of India puts me in a state of constant unrest as if I am being under surveillance. The difference between the classes muted through the cleansing of the city still exerts a pressure by its absence. While the other metropolitan cities of India are congested with slums, Delhi appears at first sight classical exception. The contrast between the crowded working class Chandni Chowk and posh  and gorgeous South Extension, the congested Khirki Gaon and the concrete jungle like Gurgaon makes one think about the gaps in the social class produced by capitalist modernity and globalisation. As I have been a practicing artist for more than thirteen years, the city of Delhi inspired me to do an art work by myself apart from being the critic-in-residence. As I traveled by metro, the announcement before the arrival of each station “Please mind the gap” was quiet thought provoking; inspired by which I planned to do an installation. As I researched further I came to know similar attempts made when the London metro came in to existence in early 60’s inspired by the announcement “Mind the Gap”. I went around the city and collected video shots of several places of juxtapositions and contrasts. I edited the images, synchronizing it with music. I also made a map in tracing paper which reportedly looked attractive in the lounge area though it was not understood by many as the map of Delhi metro.

In Conclusion:

The KHOJ peers workshop is an absolute gift for the junior artists who crave for experimentation. It provides a platform for interaction with fellow artists as well as senior artists and critics who are part of KHOJ . The initial open day session was useful for we could present our works and interact with the artist community which is a rare opportunity. Secondly, the video presentation made by Hemant Srikumar gave lot of inspiration and ideas to proceed with. Thirdly, the availability of new media tools was a great advantage as the resourceful staffs were very supportive. I thank Pooja Sood (Director) for her interactions and cheering , V.P.Manoj, Rohini Devasher, Aastha Chauhan, Parul and Hemant Sreekumar for their support and affection. I take this opportunity also to thank India Foundation for Arts for funding and making this project possible.


As on 25th May 2007

As I wake up, make my tea and sit on the couch the moment of interaction begins right there in the KHOJ residence. As we the five peer artists and my-self the supposedly critic stay together it yields to a rich experience of sharing our thoughts with each other. We do it right from the time we wake up at the breakfast table that is carried on to the studios and continues with the dinner session. As we venture in to cooking and sharing domestic jobs apart from our travel together to the studios it feels like a unique experience living in commune. Arguments on religion and ritual based communities gave rise to the question whether the idea of ‘religion’ as a ‘major’ could accommodate the beliefs of heterogeneous ritualistic communities which are the minors in its logic and homogenized philosophy. Long discussions are carried out on the issues of art and freedom of expression.

The initial two three days were spent by thinking about what to do. The video presentation by Hemant Sreekumar on the previous KHOJ residencies gave everyone new energies. Almost everyone in the crew is keen on capturing and translating the essence of everyday life practices in the form artistic expression. This made us to take a long journey in to Chandni Chowk area under the hot sun drinking water in the Gurudwara and passing through the Light and Paper Bazaars. We took photographs in the metro, whole sale shops and shopped in the lane of glowing colourful tapes. Hunting for a spark that would give a push I could see Aishwarya and Aditi roam around with pensive mood while discussing on several budding ideas. Uma Roy had already started working on a notice board recording day today thoughts, sticking bus tickets and scribbling on top of it with marker pen. She had chosen the room that was painted with black on all four sides. The reasons she said was that it helps her to get her thoughts align internally as the place looks consuming the person in to its surface. The thought process gets lost in its journey and it travels along non-linear streams and gets out of coherence as she kept on writing. This was not only found in her work but also interestingly in discussing over a particular issue while we engaged in to conversations. She often dropped the word id-ego and referred to Vedantic philosophies. She seems to propound the idea of the existence of the self that can happen only with the help of the existence of consciousness. But the moment expressed my opinion that it is very Decartian Cogito Ergoism she seems to be deny it. I just had a feeling that with a little bit of lingering over the philosophies of the self and consciousness both in Indian philosophies like advita and Buddhism as well as that of the western philosophic thoughts proposed by Descartes,Spinoza to Kant not only her thought process can be set in to a solid philosophical ground but also there are possibilities of her enjoying their modes of approach.

On the other hand Shaakar had chosen the romantic blue walled rooms. On the very first day of his arrival he seemed to have determined what to do. He climbed on to the roof and pulled bamboos, loose steel rods and ropes. He tied them all together. Attached wine and beer bottles to it and started playing frantically. In the evening when we opened up the discussion for the day, he introduced himself as a sound practitioner. He expressed his concerns over the need to differentiate between sound and music. As he explained further he said his aim is to make even the born deaf to understand the rhythmic vibrations of the music through the laser made Spirographic display. The experimentation of Shakaar was very innovative and distinct. He seems to have grabbed the idea of the sound mechanisms and the visual manipulations resulting in the mechanization but then while theorizing the need for such experimentation he had no solid points that could stand convincingly enough. I look forward to more of an interaction with him.

Pratap Modi with an expertise in large woodcuts draws inspiration for his work from the tickets issued by the weighing machines. He plays with the pun and fun of the statements that predicts the character of the consumer. He started taking photographs of the fellow peers making them stand on to the scorching sun on top of the roof. He converted the images using photoshop and pasted them in the middle of the tickets. After this process he blows it up almost to the life size painstakingly carving it on the surface of the hardboard. The process and mechanism through which he generates sounds are very innovative and interesting. The woodcuts escape the irony of mechanical reproduction by way of replacing the portrait in the center with multiple personalities. It pulls interest when the viewer interacts with the text.

Aditi is planning to stick on to the thoughts of time and space which she had also used in her earlier works. But this time she plans to use 10 TV sets, Cable transmitter and six chambers with which she will make the audience understand the expressions of time and space. During the presentation earlier she was suggested by the audience to use the concept of time and space elaborated in the epics and Indian philosophy. Aditi later expressed that she would like to look in to them rather as elements in relation to the ontological expressions. This made me to meditate upon Foucault’s idea of Heterogeneous space where multiple things happen in one specific space be it a monument or a shopping mall, Webber’s homogenous empty time and the Diachronic times propelled by the history as against the synchronicity argued by the concept of genealogy. We indulged in a discussion where Aditi showed a lot of interest to give a reading on to the above texts.

Aishwarya as she did in her earlier work places herself in the midst of happenings around her. She plans to work with the idea of how memories are generated and the biological and verbal references of ‘heart’ as such. She has a long way to go by way of concept as well as how to go about the work.

Let us wait and see how the projects shape up……

Jayashree.V, Critic in Residence


As on 4th June 2007

Untitled image

The second fortnight began with a lot of vigor in the Peers Residency 2007. Aditi Kulkarni dipped her legs in the white paint as she performed a cake walk on the corrugated sheets in her studio. Prathap Modi is done with his massive woodcuts and he has to proceed with printing. The welders and carpenters are done with their works by now. A visit to Manisha Parekh’s studio was facilitated on Thursday, 31st May 2007. The artist engaged us in a serious discussion on current issues apart from explaining and elaborating her process of working. We went through her past catalogues and asked several questions regarding the medium and conceptual thread that runs through her abstracts. There were questions like, “What would demarcate a design from an art work?” “whether the artist makes reproductions of the same work and so on…?”

On Saturday (2nd of June), Sculptor Ram Bali offered an invitation to visit his studio. We could see some of his sculptures that remind one of the 3D skeletons made during the animation process and Kandinsky’s animal sketches. The week ended with a sweet Saturday night bash.

Few folks proceeded towards the studio on Sunday whereas some of us explored certain portions of the city in the scorching afternoon sun. Monday, an Israeli film maker Shira Richter shared her work with us. Shira showed some of her early art works pertaining to art-photography. There were questions pouring in and interesting debates around feminism. She invited everyone to her film screening in the Israeli film festival at Habitat Center the same evening. Shira’s art works are self referential looking in to the organic body that deals with motherhood.

In the afternoon we had the pleasure of interacting with Artist Atul Balla. His studio visit to cheer up the Peers and the informal sharing of his experiences are greatly benefiting. The coming week demands everyone’s progress towards the completion of the projects…

As on 7th June 2007

The works get speeding up towards the finale. Pratap made several prints working hard all through the night. Not only his prints but also his wood cuts seem to get in to a newer shape. Aishwarya is editing her videos. Aditi had set her rooms ready. She is just left with the work of installation. Shakaar is constantly missing from the scene. May be he is working outside. Uma as always tranquil and determinant looks pensive moving around other’s studios and peeping in to the editing table. The last few days were really too hot. Mostly we took rescue inside the office room.


End Of Days - 1 day before the Open Studio

Prathap Modi -Hooked to Virtual Hallucination....

Pratap engages with massive woodcuts as I have mentioned in the previous posts. Pratap thinks everyone depends on the society in the description of one’s own self. The consumer culture setting norms for a perfect man and absolute being makes us to imagine ourselves as per its standards. Instead, everyone in the society should keep proceeding with their own assessment of their authentic selves than worry how the society looks at them. I would say though Pratap’s work is amazing with its material inputs and labour spent it needs stronger base in terms of its concepts. I think he needs to look through the references of art works that spring out from popular culture and print making (like that of Chuck lose’s portraits and Andy warhol’s conceptualization) while researching a lot more on how to anchor himself on vivid conceptions.

Pratap aptly exploits the textured surface of plywood which is malleable for different types of scooping out. As against the heavy wooden planks ply is easy for handling and also economical. Apart from using them as the printing blocks he dressed them up into low relieves.  As we look in to his works in the context of other one can say beyond their innovative usage these are the pieces that can be preserved and sold unlike other’s works. The use of the mechanical weighing machine and reflective acrylic sheets are to please the aesthetical senses and are quiet ornamental. The accident that is more common among most of the contemporary artworks that tease and critic the consumer culture is that they end up being replicas of their antagonists.

Shaahkar Siddiquee – Reverberation

Shaahkar makes speakers and by way of fixing his laser reflectors on top of it they get to vibrate. An array of varying images arises from these lazer beams that resonate out of the music created. Shaahkar’s attempt is quiet innovative and distinct. The composition of objects with which he produces this music like empty beer bottles, water cans and scrap metal is quiet mind blowing. He uses electrodes from mobile parts, kiddy toys and electronic waste materials.  There are several questions that comes to ones mind and they will be answered only at the end seeing the display. What kind of the image these machines are going to produce? Can we call it an art work? How do we look in to the whole process of experimentation? Certainly it can fall under the classification of performance art that springs out of multi-disciplinary avenues.

Jayashree Venkatadurai - Please mind the Gap

Delhi, the capital of India puts me in a state of constant fear as if I am being under surveillance here 24/7. As we travel across places like Lodhi Road and Rashtrapathi Bhawan the Indo-sarascenic buildings that carry the authority of power reminds me of wild elephants. There is no single movie posters on the walls. The number of cyclers and pedestrians are much lesser compared to that of the four wheelers. The cleansing of the capital in these areas as against the other metropolitan cities makes one compare it with the cliché of someone declaring that they have taken bath simply after washing their face. Where the rest of the metropolitan towns are congested with slums and skyscrapers loomed together Delhi remains a classical exception. The contrast between Chandni Chowk and South Extension, Khirki Gaon and Gurgaon makes one think about the gaps in the social class. As I traveled by metro the announcement that comes before the arrival of each station  “Please mind the gap” was quiet thought provoking inspired by which I planned to do this work. As I researched further I came to know when the London metro came in to existence in early 60’s there had been lot of artistic attempts inspired by the announcement “Mind the Gap”. I plan to install a video projection on this theme.

Aishwarya Sultana - In and out of the Heartscape

Aishwarya makes her concepts revolve around everything she experiences in her day today life. People, places, emotions, actions, expressions and what not. All the three works she is presenting at the residency focuses on her reflections on life. She draws the attention of the viewer in to personal landscapes of her heart and body movements. She presents it in multiple modes. In and out of the Heartscape talks about the stress one undergoes within oneself. As I look more deeper in to her there are two things that comes to my mind. One, the material the artist is using and how relevant it is to the nature of the art work. Since her work heartscape is all about the organic landscape and emotions the use of steel welding and electric wires does sound little strange to the nature of the project. Instead if she had used materials like cloth and natural fibres (say Banana papers, yarn, wooden infra structures,etc) it might have given a different sensibility to it. Secondly, she may need to bestow more of her attention on is the specificity. Call it thought process or human emotions the artist tends to homogenize the expressions. While I think it would gather more meaning by acknowledging the multiplicity in class and gender.

Performance has been a way of appealing directly to a large public, as well as shocking audience into reassessing their own notions of art and its relation to culture. Her other project she doesn’t want to name is performance caught in the video. The artist brings out the images made during medical scanning and projects them as a form of art workShe explores with different mediums and is quiet excited in experimenting. Her project “Sswussh Aah!” is installed in the rest room.

Aditi A. Kulkarni - Inhale and Exhale

Aditi’s project is based on the issues of time and space. She had created multiple tiny rooms in which Television sets are to be installed. The artist plans to take the audience in to a roller coaster of moods as the sound and atmosphere vary from room to room. It is interesting to see her travel from minimal abstractions all the way to the multi faceted installation. One thing that is puzzling me is how distinctive the sounds are going to be given that the enclosures in which the TV sets are placed are tiny spaces. The use of corrugated sheets in place of the partitions I would say is a clever and simpler idea which is also economically friendly. The nature of this material not only solves the purpose of partition but also resists the passage of light. But again Aditi’s use of enamel is something that is to be paid attention to. There is a possibility of rendering and achieving similar effects through collage and mixed media which might lead her to innovative fronts giving room for much more experimentation.

Uma Ray –

1. Journey inward - Journey outward

Uma Ray displays the tickets of her previous journey to Delhi and she records her linear thought processes on to a flex board. She believes that her journey thus comes to a full circle by recording her present visit on to it. She is trying to figure out through words both her subjective position that reflects on the outside world and the outside world in its authenticity visited by her.

2. Cross Over

This I would call as a project more than a work. Uma had invited the people from the KHOJ village and asked them to record their expressions as an attempt of breaking the compound wall that separates the “Organization-Khoj” from the “Khirki Village”.

3. The Trail

This work attempts to look in to the traces of left behind in the residency. There will be a video projection on the roof that catches up certain interesting moments and personalities.

Largely Uma’s works engages through words. During the initial presentation Anita Dube suggested her to read Jenny Holzer. In my opinion she engages in two modes. One is the monologue where in she revisits her thoughts and the other the interactive mode where she aligns the same with the community around. This reminds me of the artists Barbara Kruger and Martin Firrel apart from Jenny Holzer. But one should also notice that these artists’ works are not simply confessional or inward philosophical journeys but also powerful reflections on violence, war, class and gender hegemonies they focused upon. The individual in them undergo a shift when they are in association with the outside world.The use of the transparent medium that translates the thoughts of the people across is successful for words are also sometimes just the passages through which one gets to travel. The use of acrylic sheets for the mirror too is similarly impressive for one gets to see ones reflections merged and mingled within the jungle of words. At the same time despite the remarkable effects one gets to worry about the nature of the medium. Especially hailing from Shanthinikethan (the place that has eco friendly concerns in many walk) Uma should be aware of the politics behind using the plastic and acrylic sheet as her medium. Both are biodegradable and does not allow the passage of water once it is dumped under the earth. Though one is not surprised about it considering most of contemporary art works are produced with fiber glass and flex prints it is still worthwhile to give it a thought.


Report- Aditi Kulkarni

My experience with KHOJ was great. I knew KHOJ only via its website, and was curious to be part of it. Peer’s was a good opportunity for me. KHOJ studio, I felt it’s a place to live inside out.

Initial days were like all exploring the place and project ideas with six different points of views. There was lot of energy in the studios. The discussions, which started in the studios, lasted to the hostel. The presentation of our previous work was useful further as we all got to know each other’s background and also had a dialogue with our art critic in residence Jayashree and other artists who attended the presentations. The artist studio visits to some extend were successful.

During the residence it was also an opportunity to explore Delhi. It was interesting to go around the old markets exploring different local materials, traveling on a cycle rickshaw, visiting the old Delhi lanes altogether an exciting event. It was a good platform for me to explore and experiment with fun element. We got complete freedom to work in the way we wanted which I was looking for. The enthusiasm was at its zenith as the open day approached. I did an installation for the first time on my topic of Noise, Space and Time.

The project I undertook at residency was an installation about noise, space and space-time constants depicting violence and otherwise in relation to Einstein’s theory of relativity E=mc2, where space= space-time= silence. I decided to try out my vision with installation purposely as I am from painting background and had experimented on two-dimensional and wanted to explore it into three-dimensional expression. With this installation Inhale and Exhale I wanted to create an experience of the impact of noise with the proportion of space and the pace of time. Initially while starting with the structure of installation I wanted five sections with eight slots for television sets in total where first time I worked with welders. It was a new experience for me to get the desired work done from the people. I had designed a path to travel from a space symbolizing drudgery, where four television sets with four different channels airing on them were fixed depicting the words, Obiviation, Conquest, Hegemony and Surveillance. Followed by this section was a space of dominance – symbolizing Flux and Chaos where two television sets with bar-code signal were fixed and tracked by was a space of white noise on two television sets symbolizing Block. Further the path traveled through a white space without sound –Inhale symbolizing individual space and finally a black space - Exhale the imposed noises symbolizing Silence and exit. At the end I was not satisfied with the structure but the concept worked from a thought in to an installation.

Simultaneously I was as well attracted by the exterior ambience of the Studio and was looking forward to interact with that gap. I had made varied size boxes of paper with color code White –Inhale and Black –Exhale and fixed all over the lane outside KHOJ. I wanted to capture the expression and interaction of these spaces, which exists, which we see but fail to notice. I enjoyed these spaces outside with camera, which were later used in the photo-installation. During this I actually had conversations on work of art with the migrant society outside. It was a different experience.

Altogether for me it was handling different mediums, exploring own thoughts, discussing and knowing other fellows, exposing to diverse views and situations and the treatment given by the KHOJ authorities was splendid. The best part of this residency was to experiment and the result was not botheration that is what young artists needs. Further I look forward to be part of many such KHOJ probabilities.

- Aditi Kulkarni.

Report- Pratap Modi

I Prathap Modi from M.S.U. recent passed out Masters Student from faculty of fine arts .I felt happy when I heard News about KHOJ International Artists Residency program. Which is inspiration and encouragement for me at young age within National and global wide which is prestigious residency program When I came to Delhi entered to KHOJ studio I felt very happy because rural area which having eco with birds crippling I attuned with nature music wind , the glance of grass when I entered into KHOJ I saw the working space which having huge space for working . It's a new world to me which having huge space and beautiful climate and atmosphere which inexpressible At first to all PEERS Mr. Hemant gave presentations of EARLY works done at KHOJ residency by all artists. I got inspiration and new ideas to work further at KHOJ. Next PEERS presented there own Profile / Port- Folio to PEERS and other senior most Artists came to seminar and we all together had dissuasions/ interactive with all Which I learn new things, refined, ethic, in the interaction which is another source for learning new things all these.

KHOJ took All us to Meet the Artists Studios and which is different thing I never expect learned new things in different timings/days while working in short period. KHOJ provided us Guest House for rest and refreshing which is comfort and feasible to me and remaining partners. We learned new things while cooking together and good space for relaxing at hall which having all entertainment things like T.V. , Internet, tele -commutations . Which supported us all these things all feasible? KHOJ Selected 6 PEERS one among was an Art Critic which is unique I like. KHOJ International Staff was very unique and supported and helped us without any hesitation at any time i am hearty thankful to each and everybody. My wishes are unlimited for all working staff. Every body got their own personal space to work and think at large extent with all facilities I got and utilized facilities like internet, finance As stance, materials, library, technical support, and music ,all these things helped/supported me to carryout my work by unstoppable. FINAL DAY experiences and moments I displayed my Work of Art in a different way which is nuances in the space .and learned and felt happy by looking my own work of Art and others displays I learned new things , unique in working and presenting there works in different modes ,and united at one space . At evening at glance crowd approached at our works with different people been interacted with me and my work of Art which made me happy and memorable moment in my life.

Thanking all my PEERS, working staff, KHOJ Organization.


Report- Aishwarya Sultania

I embarked on a journey to get to a destination and even though the destination seems far away ,I halt to enjoy the various other routes that I chanced upon while making this journey……

The first few days were about getting to know each other, choosing our studios and thinking about what we wanted to do. Staying together with the people from various art schools, engaging in discussions and working was great. Khoj team was extremely helpful.

To me, KHOJ meant an opportunity for experimentation….for finding……..for growth and that too without the pressure of having to produce a 'successful' work of art. This is what I set out for. I was sure that as far as medium went, I did not want to paint only (which is what I had been doing primarily).

Freedom, time, support, studio, environment, opportunity, company of the fellow artists, the in between studio visits and a library at hand…what more could one want!! J I used this time to play with diverse materials, experiment, install, create, project and to transport into different worlds.

I wanted to change the studio space into a heart scape. It was to do with feelings that one is faced with, while dealing with the constantly changing relationships, the stress in today’s time and the need and want to have a strong heart. I wanted to construct a strong heart with metal rods and then make an interactive installation. The intention was to incorporate the imagery of the strong four petal exhaust and the delicate four petal flower inside the heart. I went about painting the walls of the room, creating a web of wires around the strong heart (symbolic of the nerves). This was the first time I worked with timers(wasn’t as easy as I had imagined) and to top it all not only was I using timers but I was using it to co-ordinate music, exhaust, smoke machine lights and exit (each of which requires a different kind of trigger and functions differently)!!!! Phew…….just wasn’t an easy job. It wasn’t the kind of thing I could do all by myself. I needed the welder, the carpenter, the electrician, technical expertise to help me execute what I visualized.

It was a different experience to work with different people and to co-ordinate the various executions to get what I want. I am the kind who finds it easier to do things rather than getting it done. By the end of it I wasn’t too content with the way I managed to execute.

While working on the heart scape, a lot of ideas and thoughts were bombarding my mind and I thought of how the wavelength of the various thoughts made beautiful paintings in my head. I began to think of a way of mapping the various thoughts. Instead of making a manual pictorial representation of the thoughts I wanted to explore the possibilities of doing it medically. So, I started researching and found two things. One, that there was no process to measure the thought process or of getting representation of the wavelength of the various thoughts (because the processes measure the neuron activity or the chemical activity of the brain). The other being the process of EEG (electroencephalogram) which captures even the blink of the eye and the move of the muscle….Soooo, I decided to use this process to make a work of art using my expressions.

To me it was very interesting as it was for the 1st time that I was involving a medical process in my work. It was also exciting to perform and make a work not with brush, but with expressions. I learnt how to edit, thanks to Mr.Hemant, Parul and the facility of in house editing machine.

Towards the end of the fortnight we could see where each one of us was heading. As time passed each one of us wanted to do more and more, in that limited space. It was at this time that I thought of executing another idea in the bathroom! (4 we had run out of space, but not out of ideas J) So, I did the swuuushh aaah project in the bathroom.

In one sense all three projects had an undercurrent of the theme of living in different worlds simultaneously, whether it was ‘In and Out of the Heart scape’, entering the swuuush aaaahh zone or painting with expressions ( as if I am not just me, but ‘another me’ who does some make up and performs what ‘me’ feels), in a sort of encoded way , which may or may not be immediately felt, understood, seen and decoded. This fulfils the need to hide a bit of me and to reveal a bit of me.

On the open day the whole place was jam packed with little space left to breathe. Things did not turn out to be exactly how I had imagined them to be, the smoke machine did not function the way it was to, the light in the bathroom did not fall in the form of beams of light and the the whole place looked too crammed. . I ran short of time to make the necessary changes.

There was immense scope for improvisation but nonetheless it was a step in this direction and that too a valuable one. I think it was important for me to do and then see how things happen. Had I not done, I would not have known. So, I think that an idea in the head alone, means little, but the journey of its execution takes one to the next step.

I think it was an excellent opportunity of growth for me and in future it will continue to prove to be a good chance and platform for others who finish college and want to explore beyond the academic realm.