Oh dear. My poor little brain is addled enough trying to do simultaneous note-taking and updating of the blog: I really couldn't stomach the level of postmodern theory Mriganka Madhukaillya and Sonal Jain
were throwing at me.
Mriganka: We were quite disillusioned with the disease of representation and misrepresentation, images of the conflict [in Assam, Northeastern India]. We were intrigued by the idea of cinematic consciousness which was introduced by Deleuze. Which is to introduce the world from different representations. What is important is what is missing, what is present. What is missing from what we see. And the nature of time: physical time, biological time.
They spoke about video works, created using optical devices in spaces, called 25_75 after the popular archery/lottery game of Northeastern India, their Kashmiri work Nishan (mentioned in their previous presentation), displayed on a 40-foot screen with ambient sound and sound showers, breaking notions of single-channel work.
Mriganka: People’s dreams always collide with the national notions of time, the national notions of borders. And so an outburst of situations are happening... World time dominating local time.
Sonal: Making these works is very therapeutic, and exploring the relationship of trauma with sound, perception, memory.
In a state of conflict, forgetting becomes a devie to cope with trauma. Out of these unstable histories emerge organic, dusty spaces.
But perhaps the most fascinating piece they looked at was Trespassers will (not) be prosecuted. It deals with a forest where it's taboo even to remove a leaf - spirits will haunt you.
Sonal: The forest itself is an archive of sounds. The forest is also an experience of time. Because since time immemorial, nothing has eben taken away from here. Around here most of the forests are pine. But here there is not even a pine tree. So this is primary forest.
They ended up exploring the very notion of sound, figuring out if it was actually taboo to take away recordings of sound (photos were, somehow). Seems that according to the Vedic tradition, sound is non-matter or ‘guna’, residing in vayu or space - not a material thing.
Interestingly enough, silence is stillness - not the absence of sound but the potential for becoming a sound. 3 stages of sound were defined:
1) fundamental silence
2) original vibration
3) audible phenomena
Mriganka: How do we create this forest, export this forest without breaking a taboo? And this notion that every movement we make we is either trrritorialising or de-territorialising.
They've ended up creating soundscapes of speakers, sensitive to human movement, which they've brought to Berlin, Rome, New York. They've even created visuals: maps compiled from the infinite data of the forest.
The last bit of their presentation was about Periferry - their floating art residency ship, covered in the last presentation - but with a slightly different focus. A little more theory: the ship as the ultimate heterotopia, How in the space of flows, arrival becomes illusive, virtually indistinguishable from departure.
Not long ago, a storm tried to dislodge them from the harbour: all participants, all invitees had to work together, regardless of profession, to moor the ferry again.
An image they find meaning in, that is useful - but they didn't explain why. At least, not in language I understood.