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CONNECTING WITH THE NON-HUMAN

THEME10_1

WEEK 04           

EPHEMERAL

ARTIST MISFIT MEDUSA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image shows pieces of a puzzle put together to form the body of a fish with bubbles all across the image. 

From the artist’s note:

“Dear Gulla,
….
When I think of water and bubbles, I smile. It brings back memories of the first time I sat in a bathtub and ate a Ferrero Rocher ice-cream all by myself. Sigh. But as I look towards interpreting it, I find that I am reminded of how short-lived these experiences have been.

Love, M. | S. “

 

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

To the fish, the bubbles and the bath are life itself. This is radically different for the human for whom the bubble bath is a form of luxury. While experiences might be transient, the relative permanence of class privilege is not quite as ephemeral. 

THEME10_2

WEEK 06          

NO LONGER DRIFTING

ARTIST  STREET STORE DOLLS

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

  • Transcription
    Week 1 Hi Jessi Amawasa, Have you thought about body wash? What a weird invention, right? Someone looked at the shampoo bottle and thought what if I put it on my entire body. But of course, they were scared of uncontrollable body hair and had to come up with something entirely different. If you have to find a product that clearly distinguishes between the upper and lower middle class, body wash would be that product. Cars used to be that product before, the ones that segregated the middle classes. Now even the lower strata have cars for either their business or help them earn money as transport providers. Being one of 3 siblings in a lower-middle-class home meant all the three had to share the same soap till it got over and we got a new one. Usually, the soap stays for 15 days depending on the brand. The long-lasting one as televised and promised was the lifebuoy soaps that lasted a month. The first time I encountered body wash was in a hotel room in Chennai. Tired from the journey I hit the bed and woke up to get to an event venue. I don't travel much so I tend to forget things, I had packed my toothbrush and everything but forgot the soap. I step into the bathroom to find these weird two bottles of liquid. I thought they were the same thing and maybe they kept two bottles for two days of the stay I had booked for. So the first day, I had used the shampoo to bathe myself, and only the next day I figured out that it was body wash. As I was following last week's warm-up exercise(of finding things in my house), my hand stumbled on a bottle of body wash that I had kept from a recent hospital visit. It is so funny that this small bottle of body wash is asked to wash the dirt of two people(patient+attender). I went out and brought a sop to use in the hospital. Since my wife didn't use the body wash either, she packed it home, because she paid for it. That's something my mom does in restaurants, carries the Peppermint Coated Fennel Saunf in tissues. And just like the Saunf in your mouth, you never know how much body wash is too much body wash. So I always end up using lesser, always thinking that anything which washes my body should come for more than 15 days. I don't know about you, but I have always imagined the lives of rich people and what would it look like. Would it be worlds away? Would it be more bright, since lower-middle-class homes can rarely see the horizon and so the sun rarely finds the need to visit them? My wife on the other hand comes from a family that wants to call itself middle class for the sake of humility but is not. Since my family has come a long way from sharing soaps and towels, I am beginning to understand body wash. Finally figured how much is good enough. Yet, there is this unexplainable guilt of spending too much money that could be fixed with a Lifeboy Soap. Does this make any sense?

 

LISTEN TO THIS POEM

00:00 / 02:03

 

DESCRIPTION: Typed English poem - “No longer drifting” - in black font against a white background.  Transcript and recording of the poem is provided to the right of the image.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Intricate truths of our times are sometimes hidden in plain sight in the bodies of animals. 

THEME10_3

WEEK 06            

FEEDING FRIENDS

ARTIST SHAMS

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The black page is thick, but unevenly so, just like it is when you shut your eyes. Upon trying to figure out the right way to hold it, something soft brushes your hand. You follow the softness. The lines and lines of wool go around and on top of each other, seemingly endlessly. When you zoom out, bushing your hand against the right page, you find a palm - a hand - a friend

 

DESCRIPTION: Handwritten note in black ink on white paper. The text on it reads as common vampire bats, after a good meal, share food with others who have not been as successful in their hunt. This isn’t limited to kin, but to friends as well.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

The bat has gained an unkindly reputation globally and yet it exemplifies some of the most cherished values for which we as humans aspire. 

THEME10_4

WEEK 06             

I AM FRAGILE

ARTIST JEISI AMAWASA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

From the artist’s note:

“Hello!

Like most people post 2020, bats remind me of COVID-19, the fragility of life and the transparent structure that holds everything that is dear to us together. However, in the midst of our own fragile lifetimes, have we once bothered to ask ‘how is that bat?’. Is it as lonely, fragile, tender? Does it have dreams and wishes? And when you hug a bat too hard as to give it wings, do you tear the wings away?

Love Jeisi Amawasa”

 

DESCRIPTION: Two hands are holding a piece of paper on either side. In the centre of the paper is a drawing of a bat’s face with a sad expression and sharp teeth that protrude from its jaws. Below the image is the text ‘I am fragile. Please hold me tender and sweet.’ Beneath this is a small hand-drawn picture of a heart.  

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Pandemics remind us of the great chain of being between animals and humans; the circularity of the chain captures the indispensable mutual dependability of all of all beings.

THEME10_5

WEEK 06            

ALL BORN MAD

ARTIST LAVENDER HIPPO

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The video displays a woman performing various movements while the lines from the transcript are being recited in the background in a female voice. The woman's face is never revealed and she usually has her back to the screen. Even when she faces the camera her face is concealed, often with her hands and sometimes by looking away from the camera.
Transcript of the audio is below.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Animals remind us that there are several modes of logic and rationalities in the world and, as humans, we constitute only a spectrum in this vast universe. There is no obligation to be logical, no incumbency for principles to be adhered to.

THEME10_6
  • Transcription
    Week 1 Hi Jessi Amawasa, Have you thought about body wash? What a weird invention, right? Someone looked at the shampoo bottle and thought what if I put it on my entire body. But of course, they were scared of uncontrollable body hair and had to come up with something entirely different. If you have to find a product that clearly distinguishes between the upper and lower middle class, body wash would be that product. Cars used to be that product before, the ones that segregated the middle classes. Now even the lower strata have cars for either their business or help them earn money as transport providers. Being one of 3 siblings in a lower-middle-class home meant all the three had to share the same soap till it got over and we got a new one. Usually, the soap stays for 15 days depending on the brand. The long-lasting one as televised and promised was the lifebuoy soaps that lasted a month. The first time I encountered body wash was in a hotel room in Chennai. Tired from the journey I hit the bed and woke up to get to an event venue. I don't travel much so I tend to forget things, I had packed my toothbrush and everything but forgot the soap. I step into the bathroom to find these weird two bottles of liquid. I thought they were the same thing and maybe they kept two bottles for two days of the stay I had booked for. So the first day, I had used the shampoo to bathe myself, and only the next day I figured out that it was body wash. As I was following last week's warm-up exercise(of finding things in my house), my hand stumbled on a bottle of body wash that I had kept from a recent hospital visit. It is so funny that this small bottle of body wash is asked to wash the dirt of two people(patient+attender). I went out and brought a sop to use in the hospital. Since my wife didn't use the body wash either, she packed it home, because she paid for it. That's something my mom does in restaurants, carries the Peppermint Coated Fennel Saunf in tissues. And just like the Saunf in your mouth, you never know how much body wash is too much body wash. So I always end up using lesser, always thinking that anything which washes my body should come for more than 15 days. I don't know about you, but I have always imagined the lives of rich people and what would it look like. Would it be worlds away? Would it be more bright, since lower-middle-class homes can rarely see the horizon and so the sun rarely finds the need to visit them? My wife on the other hand comes from a family that wants to call itself middle class for the sake of humility but is not. Since my family has come a long way from sharing soaps and towels, I am beginning to understand body wash. Finally figured how much is good enough. Yet, there is this unexplainable guilt of spending too much money that could be fixed with a Lifeboy Soap. Does this make any sense?

WEEK 06             

NEAR HUMAN INTELLIGENCE

ARTIST KHWABIDA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

  • Transcription
    Week 1 Hi Jessi Amawasa, Have you thought about body wash? What a weird invention, right? Someone looked at the shampoo bottle and thought what if I put it on my entire body. But of course, they were scared of uncontrollable body hair and had to come up with something entirely different. If you have to find a product that clearly distinguishes between the upper and lower middle class, body wash would be that product. Cars used to be that product before, the ones that segregated the middle classes. Now even the lower strata have cars for either their business or help them earn money as transport providers. Being one of 3 siblings in a lower-middle-class home meant all the three had to share the same soap till it got over and we got a new one. Usually, the soap stays for 15 days depending on the brand. The long-lasting one as televised and promised was the lifebuoy soaps that lasted a month. The first time I encountered body wash was in a hotel room in Chennai. Tired from the journey I hit the bed and woke up to get to an event venue. I don't travel much so I tend to forget things, I had packed my toothbrush and everything but forgot the soap. I step into the bathroom to find these weird two bottles of liquid. I thought they were the same thing and maybe they kept two bottles for two days of the stay I had booked for. So the first day, I had used the shampoo to bathe myself, and only the next day I figured out that it was body wash. As I was following last week's warm-up exercise(of finding things in my house), my hand stumbled on a bottle of body wash that I had kept from a recent hospital visit. It is so funny that this small bottle of body wash is asked to wash the dirt of two people(patient+attender). I went out and brought a sop to use in the hospital. Since my wife didn't use the body wash either, she packed it home, because she paid for it. That's something my mom does in restaurants, carries the Peppermint Coated Fennel Saunf in tissues. And just like the Saunf in your mouth, you never know how much body wash is too much body wash. So I always end up using lesser, always thinking that anything which washes my body should come for more than 15 days. I don't know about you, but I have always imagined the lives of rich people and what would it look like. Would it be worlds away? Would it be more bright, since lower-middle-class homes can rarely see the horizon and so the sun rarely finds the need to visit them? My wife on the other hand comes from a family that wants to call itself middle class for the sake of humility but is not. Since my family has come a long way from sharing soaps and towels, I am beginning to understand body wash. Finally figured how much is good enough. Yet, there is this unexplainable guilt of spending too much money that could be fixed with a Lifeboy Soap. Does this make any sense?

 

LISTEN TO THIS POEM

00:00 / 02:03

 

DESCRIPTION: Handwritten Hindustani poem in blue ink against a purple background. Transcript and recording is provided to the right of the image.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Animals set standards to which humans will eternally strive and never succeed. Could it possibly be that to never succeed in this strife is the hallmark of being human? 

THEME10_7

WEEK 07             

UP TO YOU

ARTIST JEISI AMAWASA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image has a red background with the picture of a piece of paper that has ‘Do Not Eat’ written over it. Red strips are crisscrossed over the paper. Below the image is the text ‘Titled: Meat Containing Morals/Morality Contained by Meat’ (2021). 

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Every bite of flesh is a gulp of meaning about the eater, the eaten and the context of eating.

THEME10_8

WEEK 08            

LIKE COWS

ARTIST GULLA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: A cow hand drawn with red ink against a cream background. ‘I really do like cows’ is written on the top of the page in black ink

 

DESCRIPTION: A cow sitting on a busy road. The image around the cow is coloured in a flat bright red color, the cow is circled with a neon heart.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

How do fragments of embodiment like blood and fat remind us of powerful symbols of identity that shape the national imagination of our times?

THEME10_9

WEEK 08          

BLOOD ORANGE

ARTIST MISFIT MEDUSA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image shows the painting of a slice of orange against a white background with a blood splatter all over the orange and the background. The following text is written across the image: eyes closed, face stiff with dirt, mouth hanging open, silence bone blood body hundredfold hard labour infection of the soul just penetrating hunger

From the artist’s note:

“Dear L,

I cannot believe that we are already at week 8 of the project!

This week’s prompt has been quite something. To think of food in relation with the themes of the project. I see no separation between one’s identity and what they consume. A lot of my relationship with food has either been disruptive or confusing. While I am tempted to only see it subjectively and individually, I cannot ignore how entrenched it is in politics and ideology. I think of food, I think of hunger, I think of the farmer protests and suicides. I am reminded of my privilege and its gory reality. I think of food and I see myself as a glutton – most of us as hungry, selfish friends – consuming endlessly. I think of those who have been and who continue to be killed in the name of what should and should not be considered as food. 

I think of food and the more I think of it, the less hungry I am. I think of food and I want to throw up.

PS. I hope the poem makes sense to you 

Love, misfit medusa “

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Blood is the source of a lot of life and a symbol for life that has been taken away. And without being taken away, can there be any life at all? 

THEME10_10

WEEK 08             

I AM ASURA

ARTIST LOKI

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The video shows a person dancing and demonstrating various moves that seem to represent tearing open and consuming flesh. The dancer’s hands are painted red. 

 

DESCRIPTION: The first image has a QR code and a red background with the following text handwritten in black ink : I am Asura. I am the Demon. I am Evil. Blood is on my lips. I am Deva. I am God. I am kind. I am Hari. The Protector. Blood is on my hands.

 

LISTEN TO THIS TEXT

00:00 / 00:49
  • Transcription
    Week 1 Hi Jessi Amawasa, Have you thought about body wash? What a weird invention, right? Someone looked at the shampoo bottle and thought what if I put it on my entire body. But of course, they were scared of uncontrollable body hair and had to come up with something entirely different. If you have to find a product that clearly distinguishes between the upper and lower middle class, body wash would be that product. Cars used to be that product before, the ones that segregated the middle classes. Now even the lower strata have cars for either their business or help them earn money as transport providers. Being one of 3 siblings in a lower-middle-class home meant all the three had to share the same soap till it got over and we got a new one. Usually, the soap stays for 15 days depending on the brand. The long-lasting one as televised and promised was the lifebuoy soaps that lasted a month. The first time I encountered body wash was in a hotel room in Chennai. Tired from the journey I hit the bed and woke up to get to an event venue. I don't travel much so I tend to forget things, I had packed my toothbrush and everything but forgot the soap. I step into the bathroom to find these weird two bottles of liquid. I thought they were the same thing and maybe they kept two bottles for two days of the stay I had booked for. So the first day, I had used the shampoo to bathe myself, and only the next day I figured out that it was body wash. As I was following last week's warm-up exercise(of finding things in my house), my hand stumbled on a bottle of body wash that I had kept from a recent hospital visit. It is so funny that this small bottle of body wash is asked to wash the dirt of two people(patient+attender). I went out and brought a sop to use in the hospital. Since my wife didn't use the body wash either, she packed it home, because she paid for it. That's something my mom does in restaurants, carries the Peppermint Coated Fennel Saunf in tissues. And just like the Saunf in your mouth, you never know how much body wash is too much body wash. So I always end up using lesser, always thinking that anything which washes my body should come for more than 15 days. I don't know about you, but I have always imagined the lives of rich people and what would it look like. Would it be worlds away? Would it be more bright, since lower-middle-class homes can rarely see the horizon and so the sun rarely finds the need to visit them? My wife on the other hand comes from a family that wants to call itself middle class for the sake of humility but is not. Since my family has come a long way from sharing soaps and towels, I am beginning to understand body wash. Finally figured how much is good enough. Yet, there is this unexplainable guilt of spending too much money that could be fixed with a Lifeboy Soap. Does this make any sense?

 

DESCRIPTION: The second image has a red background with text handwritten in black ink. Transcript and recording is provided to the right of the image.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

The distinction that is made between acceptable and deplorable forms of consumption is a rationality that is unique to the realm of the human. “Don’t blame it on me,” said Mother Nature.

THEME10_11

WEEK 08             

CHICKEN AND EGGS

ARTIST MORTY SMITH

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image has a collage of multiple pictures. They are in clockwise order, a cross-section of a fig, a goat, a patterned arrangement of skeletons, a piece of grapefruit, chicken curry, the carcass of a deer, a blood stream, a doll’s body, a woman’s cleavage and the upside down head of a skeleton.

Excerpt from the artist’s note:

 

“Dear Gulla,


I was almost going to give up. I found it repelling. I can still feel the iky-ness in my stomach as I am writing about the experience. 

I am a vegetarian, I used to eat chicken and eggs before. I quit chicken almost 4 years ago and eggs 2 years ago. While quitting chicken was a conscious decision I had an experience with eggs. On one fine day while eating an egg sandwich I visualised a small chick in my mouth and that was it. I found it nauseating. That brings me to the recipe that was shared in the prompt. It was difficult for me to even read, the visuals were too strong.

The response you see is filled with provoking images that could bring a similar emotion to what I was going through while keeping an aesthetic. Which I thought was the reality of day to day life. The fact that the dairy/meat industry, the dumping yard, the Burial ground and any factory for that matter, are not in my periphery is making me numb to see the bigger picture.”

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Profanity, death, decay and disgust demonstrate an uncomfortable yet undeniable continuum between the human and the animal world. 

THEME10_12

WEEK O9             

काग़ज़ | KAAGHAZ | PAPER

ARTIST KHWABIDA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

  • Transcription
    Week 1 Hi Jessi Amawasa, Have you thought about body wash? What a weird invention, right? Someone looked at the shampoo bottle and thought what if I put it on my entire body. But of course, they were scared of uncontrollable body hair and had to come up with something entirely different. If you have to find a product that clearly distinguishes between the upper and lower middle class, body wash would be that product. Cars used to be that product before, the ones that segregated the middle classes. Now even the lower strata have cars for either their business or help them earn money as transport providers. Being one of 3 siblings in a lower-middle-class home meant all the three had to share the same soap till it got over and we got a new one. Usually, the soap stays for 15 days depending on the brand. The long-lasting one as televised and promised was the lifebuoy soaps that lasted a month. The first time I encountered body wash was in a hotel room in Chennai. Tired from the journey I hit the bed and woke up to get to an event venue. I don't travel much so I tend to forget things, I had packed my toothbrush and everything but forgot the soap. I step into the bathroom to find these weird two bottles of liquid. I thought they were the same thing and maybe they kept two bottles for two days of the stay I had booked for. So the first day, I had used the shampoo to bathe myself, and only the next day I figured out that it was body wash. As I was following last week's warm-up exercise(of finding things in my house), my hand stumbled on a bottle of body wash that I had kept from a recent hospital visit. It is so funny that this small bottle of body wash is asked to wash the dirt of two people(patient+attender). I went out and brought a sop to use in the hospital. Since my wife didn't use the body wash either, she packed it home, because she paid for it. That's something my mom does in restaurants, carries the Peppermint Coated Fennel Saunf in tissues. And just like the Saunf in your mouth, you never know how much body wash is too much body wash. So I always end up using lesser, always thinking that anything which washes my body should come for more than 15 days. I don't know about you, but I have always imagined the lives of rich people and what would it look like. Would it be worlds away? Would it be more bright, since lower-middle-class homes can rarely see the horizon and so the sun rarely finds the need to visit them? My wife on the other hand comes from a family that wants to call itself middle class for the sake of humility but is not. Since my family has come a long way from sharing soaps and towels, I am beginning to understand body wash. Finally figured how much is good enough. Yet, there is this unexplainable guilt of spending too much money that could be fixed with a Lifeboy Soap. Does this make any sense?

 

LISTEN TO THIS POEM

00:00 / 00:47

 

DESCRIPTION: Handwritten Hindustani poem in blue ink against a orange 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

The base natures of members of the animal world can be used as apt points of comparison for the normativities of the human realm. 

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