FLESH AND FEELINGS

 

WEEK 01             

GROSS

ARTIST SHAMS

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

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DESCRIPTION: The image has the words ‘Let Bodies Be Gross’ that are stitched on with black and red thread and the threads are flowing out in different directions.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

The very possibility of bodily shame suggests that bodies do not exist outside of the discourses that create them.

From the artist’s note:

“Why do we feel shame with our own bodies when they’re all that we have?”

 

WEEK 01             

CHEE OR YUM

ARTIST LAVENDER  HIPPO

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

W01_Shraddha01.jpg

 

DESCRIPTION: The image has a black background with six small pink folded envelopes stuck on it. The words ‘Chee or Yum’ are handwritten in white ink below each of them.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Excerpt from the artist’s note:

‘Dear Z,


I went out near my neighbourhood about twice and once I felt a dirty smell come along with me throughout. Turns out that it was coming from me – well it was my bag. Previously my dad bought meat in this bag and the blood from it had leaked out into the bag and the smell never went away even after it was washed multiple times. Every time I had a strong reaction to a smell I felt in my chest. 


- Lavendar Hippo’

 

Memories of the flesh encoded in odours and the anxieties they constantly provoke about their sudden possible return to the surface...

 

WEEK 01           

BODY WASH

ARTIST STREET STORE DOLLS

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: Typed text in English in black font against a white background.  Transcript is provided to the right of the image.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

That which we use to cleanse the body, to suppress its odours and the attempts of other (lesser) beings to create life on and out of our bodies locate us in space and time. The names of these objects of purification become the anchors of our biographies – both lived and yet to emerge.

 

WEEK 03           

GAZE

ARTIST MISFIT MEDUSA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

W03_Sangeetha.jpg

 

DESCRIPTION: The image shows a background of black and white waves against which is a white screen with an eye in the centre. The following text is written on the screen ‘My head made a ringing sound against the screen. A square black, About a dozen men lined the walls.’ At the bottom of the screen is a line of what appears to be men looking up at the eye. Across the picture of the men is the line ‘and unleash blitzkrieg.’ At the bottom of the image is the word ‘Gaze’. 

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

The act of staring into one’s eyes has been endowed with a plethora of powerful emotional signifiers. How would our emotive responses change if we were to replace the expression with “staring into one’s oculus”? To see the eye as an organ is to unravel its status as a kind of flesh and the question that would then hopefully arise is why not the nose, the ears, the skin?

 

WEEK 03            

HELLO, GOODBYE

ARTIST SHAMS

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

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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 & eight 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

New encounters online can stir up age-old memories that are embedded deep within the flesh. But these flashbacks are momentary given the floods of images that evoke fleeting sensations. One can only wonder how digital encounters can affect our prejudices and relationalities. Can they ever be strong enough to penetrate the flesh the same way that embodied experiences do?

 

WEEK 03            

HANDLE WITH CARE

ARTIST Z

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

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DESCRIPTION: The image is of a ball made out of red and black strips of paper that are woven together. 

Excerpt from the artist’s note:

Sep 27 2021 

Week 3: See-Saw  

Dear Lavendar Hippo,  

For the Week 3 prompt, I decided to use Bumble. Using Bumble felt strange for me, as I  have not thought about dating or evaluating people as potential partners in years. It also felt weird to look through profiles like they were objects on some menu. And the swiping  action on the app feels even more dismissive. I would hate to be evaluated this way.

Going through the profiles on Bumble, I observed that the things that attracted me to  people were aspects that I valued about myself – basically, I was searching for myself.  I was also surprised by some of the things that turned me off – regular smoking, poor  spellings, mentioning bars as an interest. I hadn’t realized that I was so judgmental!  

The artistic response for Week 3 is a paper sphere of me.  

• This is a reminder to myself that people are complex and layered. They need to  be considered individually and as a whole, with patience and empathy – unlike  the experience on Bumble.  

• The sphere is made up of 6 strips of paper.  

• Each strip has two sides, with information about myself written on both sides. 
• What you can read on the outside are things that I want to share or project about  myself.  

• On the inside of the sphere are things that I do not want to share or share easily  with others. 

• The strips are woven into each other to make one whole - representing a person  and how our sense of self is made up of this interconnection of ideas. It takes effort  to read and understand what is on the sphere, especially on the inside.  

 

I look forward to receiving your response to W3.  

warm regards,  

Z  “

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Prejudice can mean valuing certain bodily attributes over others. This leads to a politics of revelation and concealment that transcends the bodily realms to digital ones.

 

WEEK 03             

WINDOW SHOPPING

ARTIST STREET STORE DOLLS

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

LISTEN TO THIS POEM

00:00 / 01:10

 

DESCRIPTION: Typed English poem - ‘WindoW ShoppinG’-  in black font against a white background.  Transcript and recording is provided to the right of the image.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

The wounds threatened by the uncertainties of love versus the wounds risked for having not even tried...

 

WEEK 03             

THE ABYSS

ARTIST  JEISI AMAWASA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

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DESCRIPTION: There are four squares, each consisting of black and white drawings and hand written text. The first square has a drawing of a hand pointing to the screen of a tab. The tab has eyes and at the bottom of the screen the word ‘Swipe’ is written with an arrow on each side of the word pointing in opposite directions. The second square reads ‘For when you gaze long into the abyss’ in capital letters. The third square shows a hand emerging out of the screen of the tab and pointing towards a pair of eyes. The word ‘Swipe’ is written below the pair of eyes with arrows pointing in opposite directions on either side of the word. The fourth square reads ‘The abyss gazes also into you.’ in capital letters. Below this text is a pair of eyes and the words ‘Well, shit’ written in a speech bubble.  

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

The mediums that allow us to expand the possibilities of forming erotic relationships require our compulsory disembodiment. 

 

WEEK 04          

BREATH CONTROL

ARTIST STREET STORE DOLLS

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

LISTEN TO THIS POEM

00:00 / 01:22

 

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

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Memories encoded in smell are some of the most long-lasting and yet we tend to not accord smell the same authority or legitimacy as sight. Smell also captures negotiations with the structural categories into which we were born and can remind us that we tried to be otherwise. 

 

WEEK 04          

I CHOSE A GREEN BACKGROUND

ARTIST MORTY SMITH

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The video shows a person walking backwards in rewind and then dancing around a garden. At times, we catch glimpses of the sky. At any point, we only see the person’s hands and legs and not any other part of the person’s body or their face. 

Excerpt from the artist's note:

“The prompt has taken me back to my childhood when our maid at home used to wash utensils/clothes with her hands. It reminded me of her hands and the way she used to sit in a squat position while washing. It also took me back to a couple of years when I was conscious of my materialistic consumption when sustainable living was my priority. The video has all these elements. I chose a green background because while doing the activity I felt connected to the part of me that respects the earth.”

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Nature itself can become an abstraction of our oneness with it, a metaphor for unity. It does not matter whose body we see for there is no face, no name and no place. But can this suspension from the structures that divide humans from the non-human ever be permanent? Is it fair to place onto nature the burden of undoing history? 

 

WEEK 06             

FEEDING FRIENDS

ARTIST SHAMS

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

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DESCRIPTION: The image is of a hand palm created from light blue woolen threads. The threaded palm rests against a black background that seems to be crumpled black cloth. A thick red ribbon is entangled in the thread and extends across the palm and up the index finger.

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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

 Blood can be the ribbon that binds together all that is living…

 

WEEK 07          

UP TO YOU

ARTIST JEISI AMAWASA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

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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

Is it the flesh that first emerges and which is most fundamental to existence or the values attributed to the flesh that precede its very existence?

 

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. 

 

LISTEN TO THIS TEXT

00:00 / 00:49

 

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.

 

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

Blood by itself has no meaning. Human agency gives it the connotations of necessary or vile, divine or evil. 

 

WEEK 08             

BLOOD ORANGE

ARTIST MISFIT MEDUSA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

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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 womb. 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

Yes, there is a science of food, of what can and cannot be eaten, of the effects that the eaten can have on the eater. But a science of food is the handmaiden of a politics of food. And what does it mean to hate an eater? To kill an eater? To smear the eaten/the edible with the blood of the eater?

 

WEEK 08           

CHICKEN AND EGGS

ARTIST MORTY SMITH

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

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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

The flesh in its profane and decomposing avatars makes us acutely aware of the fallibility of the presumption of our privileged position in the food chain. What do identities and prejudice mean in the domains of life and death? What does the cleavage care? What do the bones of the disappearing antelope remember? There is something distinctly human about the formulation of prejudice and the hollowness of all biases is revealed by the indisputable continuum between the human and the animal realms.

 

WEEK 08             

LIKE COWS

ARTIST GULLA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

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Artistic response .jpg

 

DESCRIPTION: Hand-drawn red outline of a cow against a cream background with the text ‘I really do like cows’ written in black ink above it

 

DESCRIPTION: A photograph of a busy street with vehicles, trees and streetlights and a cow in the centre of the road in front of an autorickshaw. The photograph is coloured in a flat bright red color, except for the cow which can be seen clearly and is circled with a neon heart.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

The cow really doesn’t care what we think about it, perhaps because it is unaware of the discourses that it has engendered.

 

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

The flesh is the food for the state, for regimes of surveillance, to satiate divine providence. And the streets just might become the sacrificial altars in which bodies are offered to beliefs. 

 

WEEK 09             

TEAR IT UP

ARTIST JEISI AMAWASA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image is of a page that is folded three times to form five strips. There is a different sentence written on each strip as follows: I am not a number. I am blood and bone. I am last week’s movie night. And the grass that once met my toes. I am my father’s eyes, my mom maybe not. I am the way I folded this page.
 

Excerpt from the artist's note:

“Hello from “Jeisi”

[What’s in a name?]

I’m not really sure, but

[What’s in a number?]

Today it seems like possibly everything. A birth date, short of a birth time that could have led to an astral chart and even a kundli. But I digress. In this “age of data”, what are we? Facts? Figures? Emotional datapoints that tell Netflix what romcom we’ll stream next? 

Or are we so much more?

Find out what I think I am with the accordion poem to be kept a secret. If you work at Netflix, TEAR IT UP.

Love,
“Jeisi” “

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Rendering the flesh invisible by abstracting it from the body of the person is ironically indispensable for the individual to be seen by the structures that govern society.

 

WEEK 04          

EATING

ARTIST GULLA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: Video of a person slowly eating Bhindi (Okhra) and Roti (Flat bread).

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

We eat with our entire selves, all our organs, all our senses and all our histories and identities come to bear on the process of food consumption.