CONNECTING WITH THE NON-HUMAN

 

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. 

 

WEEK 06          

NO LONGER DRIFTING

ARTIST  STREET STORE DOLLS

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

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. 

 

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. 

 

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.

 

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.

 

WEEK 06             

NEAR HUMAN INTELLIGENCE

ARTIST KHWABIDA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

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? 

 

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.

 

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?

 

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? 

 

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

 

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.

 

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. 

 

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 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.