A SENSE OF PLACE

 

WEEK 01             

THROUGH THE ALLEYS

ARTIST  LOKI

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The first image shows a white cutout of a hand with a mehendi design.The second image shows an actual person’s foot with a mehendi design that comprises a large dot in the centre and smaller dots all around it. The next 2 images are of a box with pictures of garbage and debris and there is the hand from the earlier picture placed on the floor of the box as if the hand is navigating the box through different angles.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

It is a general truth that as much as we strive to ornament ourselves to mark ourselves off from the messiness in which we are inextricably embedded, we still have to navigate the chaos around us. The exact location of this truth is unknown. Could it be a third world country? Just any alley? Is it a shameful oasis in a wealthy neighbourhood? That it does not seem to matter should matter.

 

WEEK 03          

HELLO, GOODBYE

ARTIST SHAMS

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

shams3.jpg

 

DESCRIPTION: An A4 size paper printed, with black and white text and illustrations, which was folded into 8 parts to form a zine. The zine is laid open horizontally with 4 parts on top and 4 parts on the bottom.
The first part has the text, ‘hello,goodbye, hope to never see you again’. The second part is a black and white image, the image is not clear. The third part has the text, ‘ There are two doors - right and left -  one to enter through and one to forget. Inside you will find memories galore. Each wrapped in their own lore’. The fourth part has an illustration of 2 doors and 2 cats sitting on either side at the bottom of them. The fifth part has illustrated black chess pieces at the bottom and text on top which is,’ It’s a little dusty, a little cramped,  (i shut shop ages ago, you see)  lots of potential untapped untouched -  some are brown, some grey, some vibrant to this day some rotten and a mistake just lust -’The sixth part has the text, ‘this came from that one boy who tried to grab me.And this from another who loved this one i tried to flee and this one - who is she?these few are cute, this one girl takes my breath away. The seventh and eighth part has text, ‘but mostly its nostalgia packed into this abyss. It’s a shit place, really. there’s no ventilation and the rent is payed in blood but the company’s nice when you get the odd One (out of a 100 but okay - i had a lot of time on my hand ffs)’ and there is an illustration of a candle stand with a candle burning on the right.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

What does it mean to say that we met someone online? Does that make online a place of its own? And given the transience of encounters here, what kind of society does the online create? And with what kinds of hierachies? 

 

WEEK 05            

COUNTING PRIVILEGES

ARTIST STREET STORE DOLLS

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

LISTEN TO THIS POEM

00:00 / 00:56

 

DESCRIPTION: Typed English poem - “Counting Privileges” - in black font against a white background.  Transcript and recording of the poem is provided to the right of the image.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

This is a significant reminder of the ways in which specific locations engender different kinds of discourses and necessitate different modes of blending in and resistance. Hence, we belong to more than just the family or the state. We are products of the very furniture we sit and the places where we seek recreation. 

 

WEEK O5             

BLACKJACK WITH LABELS

ARTIST LOKI

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image shows a person’s hand holding a number of cards with different pictures on them. The first card shows two pictures. One is of a woman with an orange top and purple hair with a circle of flowers round her head and the second one is a black and white picture of a woman kneeling down with a flower in the place of her head. The pictures and the text on the rest of the cards are not clear. 

 

DESCRIPTION: The second image shows all 16 cards laid out. The description of each card is available in the dropdown to the right.

 

DESCRIPTION: The image shows all the 16 cards laid down and with 1st, 4th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 14th and 15th cards turned over. 

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Labels can take on a life of their own across geographies and histories. They provoke a rethinking of what it means to belong, to where and to what. 

 

WEEK O7             

THE SHADES OF OUR NAMES

ARTIST Z

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

LISTEN TO THIS POEM

00:00 / 03:07

IMAGE SOURCE: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/484862. The image is in the public domain

DESCRIPTION: The image is of a painting titled - ‘Static-Dynamic Gradations, by Paul Klee,  1923’ - which  is a grid of coloured squares painted with watercolours. The squares in the centre of the painting are of bright vivid colours (brown, green, orange, white and blue) and the squares that border the centre are darker shades ( dark brown, grey and black). 

 

LISTEN TO THIS LETTER

00:00 / 00:52

 

Excerpt from the artist’s note:

                                                                                                                             Week 7: See-Saw
                                                                                                                             2nd Nov

Dear Loki,

The prompt brought forth a lot of feelings that I have around my first and last names that reflect much larger social causes. I have tried to keep the writing personal and weave the story of my family and their names.

After I had done the prompt as an exercise, I kept thinking about a Paul Klee painting, called ‘Static Dynamic Gradation’ (1923), with little coloured squares clustered together, like how people with same/similar names cluster together. I wrote this poem with that painting in mind. Each little paragraph has been written as a square on its own (with its own  color/shade) but telling a story together. 

warm regards,
Z.”

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

 

DESCRIPTION: The poem titled - The Shades of Ours Names’ - is written in black font against a white background and recording is provided to the right.

Names have a life of their own and also their own distinctive universe of referentiality. It is interesting how one can reflect on the origins of one’s name and that of their loved ones without mentioning where they are from or the time period in which they lived. Each vignette exists in a square of its own, which also reflects their self-containment and all the vignettes are only united in the biography of the one who has woven them altogether. 

 

WEEK O7              

THE ROOTS THAT HOLD US

ARTIST LOKI

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image shows the face of a woman with a bindi and her hair tied into a bun. She does not have any facial feature such as eyes, nose or mouth. In the background are images of networks of branches.

 

DESCRIPTION: The image is of a sari that is tightly folded and tied with a rope.

 

DESCRIPTION: The image is a list of the following names written one below the other in sketch pen. Next to the names, the following text is written (not legible to me right now). And below the names, the following text is written Shridhar Sundaram Iyer, Subramaniam Chandrashekhar, MD Sunitha, Seher Noor Mehra, Suneeth Basavareddy Kasaaki, Pinky Omprakash Jain, Jaidrath Zaveri, Puneeth Rajkumar, Sumanth M Rao, Vinyana Rao, Saraswathi Anand, Raaga A Swaminathan, North Indian, Chopra or Gandhi, common, long not cool

From the artist’s note:

"What is in the name?

 

I wonder why we carry the names of our fathers as our last name when it is the women who actually hold our families together?

 

They ensure heirlooms are passed on, recipes are practiced and customs are followed, even for and on behalf of the male members of their family. They are the seeds and also the roots that hold us together in the common ground called family. 

 

Why are they fine with the men being the face of their love and effort? 

Why doesn’t their own name shine in all the forms, addresses, applications, certificates, awards and announcements? 

 

In memory of my paternal grandmother. If she were here, I would have a story for my last name, a different life and a lot more."

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

There is a certain ubiquity in the erasure of maternal traces in lineages. The absence of the specific identification of the erasure accentuates its ubiquity.

 

WEEK 08          

THE LAST SUPPER

ARTIST STREET STORE DOLLS

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

LISTEN TO THIS POEM

00:00 / 01:48

 

DESCRIPTION: Typed English poem - “The Last Supper” - in black font against a white background.  Transcript and recording of the poem is provided to the right of the image.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Roads are public property, but who constitutes the public?

 

WEEK 08             

MEAT THEM

ARTIST LAVENDER HIPPO

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION:  The image is of a plastic tiffin box with pictures of various items stuck on it. There is a banana leaf with rice, rotis, lentils, curries and meat on it. Around the leaf are pictures of a packet of Parle G biscuits, a packet of bidis, a McDowell’s sticker and a box of sweets. 

Excerpt from the artist’s note:

“Dear Morty Smith,

This week’s prompt gave me a ritualistic feel. The detailed warm-up/instruction reminded me of this festival that we celebrate called “Hirayar Habba” which is a festival where we honour our ancestors. This festival is celebrated by most Kannada-speaking Hindu households. We don’t come up in the caste ladder, in fact we are right at the end of it. So there is a lot of meat and spices involved. We give our ancestors whatever they loved when they were alive and this can be anything from meat, alcohol, bidis to Parle G. 

We arrange everything and do the puja. While doing the puja, we make sure that we fill the room with smoke and leave the room. The door must not be completely closed but must not be open either – this is to give the ancestors enough privacy to eat the offerings in peace and leave.

LAVENDER Hippo”

 

 

LISTEN TO THIS LETTER

00:00 / 02:57

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

A room, a single minute geometrical space that constitutes a facet of our shelter can be transformed into a sacred treasure trove of honouring the passages of our belonging. And the next day, the same room can go back to being just a banal place of occupation. 

 

WEEK 09            

CARDS OF BELONGING

ARTIST GULLA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: There is an image of the eye with a QR code across it and pieces of the QR code are disintegrating to reveal the eye. 

Excerpt from the artist’s note: 

“Dear partner, 

The use of identity cards to get through registration purposes has begun to scare me. Originally, I think they were meant to provide for us a sense of belonging. But I can’t help but feel in danger every time someone asks to link my Aadhar card, my passport, my driving license. I don’t know what they might do with that data…
Gulla,
11.11. 21

P.S. sending you two responses together cuz I couldn’t send the last week’s”

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

The grids through which we become intelligible to the state decentre us from a secured and nurturing sense of belonging.

 

WEEK 09            

PORTALS

ARTIST Z

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

LISTEN TO THIS SONG

00:00 / 04:21

 

DESCRIPTION: Typed English lyrics - “Portal” - in black font against a white background.  Transcript and the song is to the right of the image.

Excerpt from the artist’s note: 



Week 9: See- Saw
20th Nov

Dear Loki, 


The prompt for week 9 brought up several mixed up and tangled feelings – gratitude, pride, belonging, fear, frustration, distrust. This piece is an attempt at expressing all of this.

warm regards,
Z “

 

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Mother and nation are two defacto loci of belonging that shape our orientation to the world and to the way we are perceived by others. In this work, they are devoid of particularities. It does not seem to matter precisely where and to whom one was born or the distinctive histories of these dual birthgivers. While this is reminiscent of a collective social truth that transcends time and space, perhaps it is also important to reflect on the importance of specificities and how they influence our distinctive place in the world.

 

WEEK O9             

काग़ज़ | KAAGHAZ | PAPER

ARTIST KHWABIDA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

LISTEN TO THIS POEM

00:00 / 00:47

 

DESCRIPTION: Handwritten Hindustani poem in blue ink against a cream background. Pencil drawings of paper and an envelope on the right side. Transcript and recording is provided to the right of the image.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Our official documentation locks us down in specific positionalities. It territorializes us by determining where we belong but its universal language devalues the full significance of placelessness. 

 

WEEK 10            

JEALOUS GAZE

ARTIST LAVENDER HIPPO

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image comprises a hand drawn picture of two eyes with blue pupils. Underneath is the beginning of a nose that is cut off by a paper with typed font stuck on top of it. Below the paper is a fire. The write up on the paper is accessible in the transcript dropdown below.

Excerpt from the artist’s note: 

“Dear Morty Smith

… I finally decided that I will go to an art exhibition happening close to my house. I did not know what the exhibition was on. When I went there I realized that the exhibition was on Indian pride. The entire exhibition was Savarnas on full display. I did not see anything or any art representation from anyone who weren’t hindu. Needless to say this angered me and my artistic response could not have been about the art itself. Thankfully I went with a friend...I was very happy to have been with her in an art space again because we occupied them very differently

…”

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

A place of nostalgic evocation for one can be a place of bitter alienation for another. And who feels belonged and who is alienated is not individual eccentricity but is woven into the structural echelons of space and time.