The Circle is a Problem
Performance still - The Circle is a Problem 2018
Performance still - The Circle is a Problem 2018

Freedom is a precarious word. Being free is the most essential need for human existence and yet it seems everywhere the system imposes enclosures on anyone who identifies as the other. But what about self-imposed enclosures. Between Rousseau’s social contract and the theory of enlightenment there lies a self- imposed, self-censored enclosure, often mistaken as security. In India, the most familiar with such confinement are the women from all walks of life.  Carefully stepping on this broad idea of self-imposed enclosure, I explore a sense of false security and a state of mind that is imprisoned as a result of social conditioning. In this performance, I create an enclosure to interrogate and interrupt our submission to willing confinements.

The Performance Act

Part: I

A life-size cylindrical enclosure is erected in the middle of the performance space. Concealed within the enclosure were four individuals facing North, South, East, and West. I stood outside the cylinder and invited two members of the audience to come forward to choose a side (right or left). One’s they have chosen their side, they were asked to deliver three questions with a condition. The leftist is free to deliver three questions of his free will of any subject as long as it did not address any element of the current performance. The right-winger could only deliver questions directly addressing the current performance.

Part: II

Audio joins the performance. Recorded in my voice the audio plays out a series of narrative and scientific inquiry written in combinations of prose and verses. A relationship between the black cylinder and three walls surrounding it has been established by a various object during the performance. The darkness of the cylinder manifested specific body parts – a pair of knees, an elbow, a head and a pointing hand. Having collected the written questions from both volunteers I moved towards the north end of the circle where a pair of legs emerged from a small opening in the enclosure. I asked the questions (left) tapping the knee with a hammer each time there was no answer. I take footprint of the foot dipped in scarlet Kumkum on a piece of paper and hang it on the opposite wall. I repeat the process on the west side of the enclosure where an elbow has emerged, I paint the elbow blue, just as I had painted the Knees blue. Again, there is no answer to the questions asked. I made a drawing where two elbows meet a circular point. I now move towards the south end of the cylinder where a hand emerges pointing towards the opposite wall. On this wall, there is a circular form made out black yarn has been mounted. At this time the audio narrates a scientific study of gestures in apes, specifically pointing behaviors in apes. I paint the finger blue, I pull a string of yarn out of a crocheted form and tie it down to the finger. The finger then slowly begins to pull the yarn which is unraveling the form. While the form is unraveling I make a drawing of a growing circle in response to the loss of mass.  

Part III

I now move towards the south end, which is placed facing the audience. A head emerges from the bottom center. I paint the face, I unravel the hair, and I add hair extensions all the while the audio has many questions and narrations that question the role of how human one can be. Finally, a single question is repeatedly put forward to the head: “How would you contemplate the love of a mother who has gone wild”.

Performance still - The Circle is a Problem 2018
Extract from the performance -" The Circle is a Problem" 2018
Audio used during the performance _ The Circle is a Problem