"Interlocution" Performance still, Baroda, India 2010
The Old Building
The project “Interlocution” set the foundation for my understanding of space and time. In 2009, during the time of this project, the old building in the Faculty of Fine arts Baroda, where the first foundation of the art school was laid in the year 1950, now lay as an abandoned ruin and was cast of as an off-limit area.
The “Old building” as it had earned its nick name always remained an object fascination since my first year of graduation. It suited me best to take the building as a central subject, a vessel to carry my six years journey in the art school ahead. I also enjoyed the unlikely seclusion inside the building from other students and visitors, I had discovered a perfect private space to create my degree show at the Faculty of Fine Arts Baroda.
A Space for a sketch
I gained an access to the first floor of the building as a site to experiment various possibilities. Its beautifully ornamental spiral staircases leading to the first floor had long been detached and lay rotten in pieces on the ground floor. The only way to access the first floor was by using a fragile wooden ladder that was fixed on the outside of the building leading to the first floor porch. The interior of the first floor, was choked with broken beams, rotten furniture, construction debris dust, snakes, insects and overgrown vegetation. The central room still looked beautiful with its high hexagonal ceiling made out of timber.
It took a lengthy legal documents from various authorities to allow viewers to enter for a day. They had to move cautiously in the space, by using the only access the frail wooden ladder. There were risks, some visible and others purely intangible. Each aspect of its structure played a role in exploration of the work itself. It invited attention with caution, displaying the fragility of time and interventions and ultimately suited or heightened the sense of fragility of the social fabric i was weaving in the process.
Site-specific installation, Faculty of Fine Art Baroda, India
Touch - a book of poem by Meena Kandaswamy, exposing the cast system focusing on the plight of UN-touchable. Untouchables , a large section of society that sits at the bottom of the pit of Indian cast system. But there is a lot more that remain untouchable in post-independent India who at the turn of the last century boosted that cast system have been annihilated via the constitution of republic of India, that women had the same rights as men, that we were and remain a nation of multi-lingual, multi-religion, multi cultural democracy. And yet as if that piece of paper that laid down how this newly independent nation should exercise it's conscience had become untouchable, as in at the bottom of the pit.
I used Meena's text as binding agent to pull together action, objects, emotions, words, sounds and people who encountered a small time with me.
The architectural design of the building was in the form of a honeycomb. The lack of doors and windows fixture allowed multiple viewing points in one room to other. Each room housed a series of Installations. In order to create a visual harmony I carpeted the floor with jute (died black).
The hexagonal ceiling of the main hall and the back door were completely covered by using aluminum foil.
The room on the left of the central hall housed a bed surrounded by one thousand six inches needles hanging from the ceiling.
The room on the right to the central hall had a three gauze covered cubes of diminishing size set inside one another like a Russian dolls.
The performance Interlocution
Eleven women participated in the performance. They were divided in groups and were placed in the engagement with installation in each room. They engaged in a repetitive act assigned to them.
The sound in Performance.
All three rooms had a hidden audio devices installed in them. Each played the recording of a text from Meena Kandaswamy's book Touch but in an incremental order. The performance started with my poetry recital. I started the performance by reciting the poems. After first few pages of the poem, my live voice was joined by the recorded voice playing in another room, and in another room and so on. The sound was timed in such a way that at first it sound gave an impression of an echo, but when sounds for all the room joined in one by one these synchronized voices started overlapping each other. This simultaneous utterance of the words grew intense creating a cacophony of fragmented words. The poetry was lost. The poetry and its meaning were reduced to a verbal texture, and chaotic untamed noises.