"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. But unlike most buildings in India where new construction takes over the older ones this rather modest building seemed to have a sentimental and historical place in the minds of many people. The ruins were surrounded by construction disputes between university administration and the faculty members.
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.
The viewer had to move cautiously in the space, on the frail wooden ladder, around the rooms, installation, and objects. There were risks, some visible and others purely intangible. It was an interactive project but each aspect of its structure played with a dualistic approach. It invited attention with caution, displaying the fragility of time and interventions.
Site-specific installation, Faculty of Fine Art Baroda, India
The architectural design of the building was in the form of a honeycomb. The empty spaces in the building allowed multiple viewing points intersecting in and out through various rooms and outside the building. Each room housed a series of Installations. I carpeted the floor with jute (died black).
The hexagonal ceiling of the main hall and the back door were completely covered by using aluminium foil.
The room on the left of the central hall housed another installation. A bed was 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 doll.
The performance Interlocution
Eleven volunteers (all women) participated in the performance. These women were projected as a manifestation of one’s own multiple selves, and the dialogues (in the form of reciting poems) therefore served as a soliloquy. Each performer carried out varied repetitive acts colliding with a liner narrative.
The sound in Performance.
All three rooms had a hidden audio device installed in them. Each played the recording of Meena Kandaswamy's poem The Touch recited in my own voice. The performance started with my poetry recital. My present voice was then joined by the recorded one, reciting the same poetry. At first the sound gave an impression of an echo. The repetition of each word soon caused the sounds from each room to join and these synchronised voices started overlapping each other. This simultaneous utterance of the words grew intense at the end of the performance, creating a cacophony of fragmented words. The poetry was lost. The poetry and its meaning were reduced to a verbal texture, and chaotic untamed noise.