INDIVIDUAL VERSUS
COLLECTIVE

 

WEEK 01           

GARBAGE OF THE MIND

ARTIST HARIBO

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image has a person’s hand holding a miniature version of a garbage bag and small artefacts of different kinds of garbage are falling out. It appears that the person is throwing the garbage out the window and onto the ground below where cars are parked. 

From the artist’s note:

“Yuck”, “chee”, “ywack”, “thoo”...The classic situation I came across that stood for all these feelings stood for me was my friendly neighbourhood roadside dump. The smell, the colours, the textures, but ultimately...its existence. On my walk, I noticed a young couple driving by, casually flinging a black bag into the merry party. And I realised...what disgusted me more than the waste was the mentality of people to contribute to the same. Sharing with you “dimagi kachra” or “Garbage of the mind”. “

 

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

We are a part of everything that we loathe. Each time we resent someone for their inconsideration towards the collective, we cannot forget that we, too, are garbage creators. 

 

WEEK 02          

WHERE IS MY MEDAL?

ARTIST JEISI AMAWASA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image has a text in the centre that reads ‘I acknowledge my very gross privilege. Ok where is my medal?’.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

There is a certain pride that could be experienced in having located one’s individual position within a broader collective. But this pride is hollow given its validation by the structures of power prevalent in society. 

 

WEEK 02            

BREAKING IN

ARTIST LAVENDER  HIPPO

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: Shows a picture of a person drawn on a black square. The square is framed with brown rope and the rope crisscrosses across the image of the person to make it look as if they are locked in. Red paper pins hold the criss-crossed ropes in place.

 

DESCRIPTION: Comprises a black square with a white border painted across the top and the bottom and the following words written in the centre: ‘Opportunity, Equality, Standard Education, Job, Respect, Accessibility, Privilege, “Culture”, Acceptability, Representation’.

 

Excerpt from the artist’s note:

"Dear Z,

Even though we were economically uplifted, there were times when I felt like I was breaking out of boxes and breaking into spaces. I have watched performances where I have not understood things within it because it was brahmanical in nature. 

I studied in a Christian institution and so caste was never a topic of conversation, so it came as a shock to my friends when they learnt that I was Dalit when I had to submit my caste (S.C.) certificate for my 10th std board exam application. 

And they spoke about how lucky I was because I had reservations in colleges. What was funny was that I got into colleges where I had not submitted my S.C. certificate and when I started college a girl changed seats when she learnt about my caste. Not to mention the damned debate about reservation where it was 76 v/s 2 and I was a part of the part that was for reservation...

Warmly, Lavender Hippo"

 

LISTEN TO THIS LETTER

00:00 / 01:15

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Every individual is a web of intersections of a number of beliefs, customs, traditions and histories. Trapped within these intersections, there is no option but for the stifling self to keep struggling for a route out for the self to shine through.

 

WEEK 04             

TREASURE CHEST

ARTIST LAVENDER  HIPPO

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image has a passport size photograph of a woman with the eyes scratched out with a pen. There is a yellow and green ribbon and two origami ducks, one big and brown and another small and yellow. 

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Surveillance mechanisms betray themselves and their own doings by erasing the very beings whom they claim to represent.

 

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 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

For every identity that we shun or from which we wish to exit is another identity waiting to appropriate us with the promise of restoring our agency over our lives. To be constantly aware of the ways in which identities situate us in relation to various phenomena can potentially make us aware of our prejudices and their causes. 

 

WEEK O7             

PURE CHANCE

ARTIST MISFIT MEDUSA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The video shows a small cup of water into which a person is diluting paints of different colours using a paintbrush. Finally, the entire coloured water is thrown into a toilet bowl  and we hear the sound of the toilet flush

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Prejudice as judgments that we form of each other without really knowing who “the rest” really are is a product of social discourses that prescribe the kinds of life that are worth living. 

 

WEEK 07             

नाम | NAAM | NAME

ARTIST KHWABIDA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

LISTEN TO THIS POEM

00:00 / 00:53

 

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

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Collective markers of identity can never contend with the thick nuances of lived experience.

 

WEEK O9             

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 very notion of a personal opinion is not independent of the biometrics of perception that are fostered by the state and social structures. This means that our prejudices are not uniquely ours but are loci of perception that are made available to us to occupy. 

 

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

In being assigned an identity that is truly unique to us, we are robbed of our individuality and are appropriated as one among the mass of citizenry. And yet, it is impossible for us to passively accept the “paperization” of our selfhood and resistance is inevitable.

 

WEEK O9             

I TO i

ARTIST MISFIT MEDUSA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image shows a cream paper burnt at the edges with dots and dashes in various colours ( blue, purple, pink, green and yellow) representing morse code. The following words are pasted at different places on the image: I made, I had, I would. I felt, I didn’t.

Excerpt from the artist's note:

“Dear L, 

This week’s prompt was very humbling. We speak of being more than just labels or assumptions but to a bigger system, our identity will always be withheld down to numbers – bits and bytes, if you will.

My idea for this artistic response stems from how i felt as i lay down with all my identification papers pasted on me. It felt like a journey to travel from the I to the i. 

I hope to capture how irrelevant we are in the bigger scope of things, the colours we carry, in the end, are still just data waiting to be purged from memory – from life – a little depressing, I know. But I think it also stands as a testament to how much more we can be. Our problems are miniscule compared to this scale of deep time.”


                                                                                                        Love,
                                                                                                        Misfit Medusa”

 

LISTEN TO THIS LETTER

00:00 / 00:58

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

The collective might be an indistinguishable set of blobs and lines but each one has its own colour and each colour its own history. 

 

WEEK O9             

PROVE YOUR ...

ARTIST LAVENDER  HIPPO

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image comprises a sheet of paper, the top is painted blue and the bottom is pink. On the top of the paper is written ‘Prove your existence’. Below that, on the left, is written ‘Prove your Dalitness’ and on the right is written ‘Prove your Indianness’. Below that is written ‘Birth certificate?’, ‘Age’ and ‘Dalit certificate’. At the bottom of the page are three images in black of girls, one wearing a shirt and a pinafore, a second wearing a kurta and salwar with an identity card round her neck and a third of a woman with a shirt, pants and a handbag. Above the first image is written ‘Get all your certificates for your application for the Board exams’. Above the second is written ‘What makes you Indian? The literature? The architecture? The language?’ and above the third is written ‘What?’

 

LISTEN TO THIS LETTER

00:00 / 02:16

 

DESCRIPTION: Handwritten text in white ink against a black background. Transcript and recording is provided to the right of the image.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

The complexities of our identities and our relationships with them are abstracted by the imperative for us to prove our belonging on multiple levels. But to be aware of the distinction between our individual sense of self and the relationalities that make us who we are and our enforced abstraction into various collectives is itself a kind of resistance. 

 

WEEK O9             

"I" OF COLOURS AND LINES

ARTIST MORTY SMITH

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image comprises multiple colours (blue, pink, green, purple) blending into each other and what look like black jellyfish with black tentacles reaching into the collage of colours. 

Excerpt from the artist's note:

“Dear Gulla, I want to say that I feel very uncomfortable with my identity. I always had difficulty in liking myself. When I say identity I mean all aspects that make me into who I am. There is always a longing for a “better me”. I feel angry/helpless/overwhelmed when I look at myself in the mirror for a long time. I have been consciously unlearning all the toxic conditioning of constant negative talk but there is a long way to go. Lot of times I feel that the things I hold on to as my identity doesn’t matter at all. I find it obscure. 

In the artistic response I expressed my thoughts and feelings around my “I”dentity through colours and lines.”

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

This is perhaps one of the most striking illustrations of the ways in which identities are not freely chosen but are inscribed onto our being and over which we have little control. All we can do sometimes is articulate our protest and let identities know that we are aware of their doings.

 

WEEK 10             

TOLD AND RETOLD

ARTIST JEISI AMAWASA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image has drawings of a man shining a torch light onto a woman who is stitching a piece of cloth. There is also a woman who is mopping the floor. ‘Lights’, ‘Stitching’ and ‘Cleaning’ are written on the sides of the images and on the top of the image is the text ‘told’ and ‘retold’. 

From the artist's note:

“Hello

I recently attended a Rangapravesha ceremony...and in addition to the Chief Guest proclaiming to be an anti-vaxxer, everything felt ridiculous. 

The girl thanked everyone in her journey for a good 15 minutes.

FIFTEEN MINUTES.

And nowhere was the househelp at her guru’s house, the driver who got her in and out of practice for 20 years, the lights staff or auditorium staff ever mentioned. 

And the performance?

Same one I’d seen twenty years ago at another event. Could grasp the same amount which makes me wonder,

WHO WAS THAT GRAND PERFORMANCE EVEN FOR?

<3 “Jeisi” “

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

The ritual of an individual being inaugurated into a tradition – having fulfilled her right of passage– is not a personal feat but a validation of certain kinds of collective creations and a necessary denial of many, many others.

 

WEEK 02           

SCRIPTS OF MERIT

ARTIST LOKI

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: A long roll of billing paper with pencil doodles on both sides. 

On one side: Doodles of how the Instagram account of a person looks like with posts about admission to new foreign university, healthy organic food, daily work routines of an artist, relief work related post, postpartum workout, travels of couples, new shoes purchased, road trip with best friends, Mother’s Day post, post about new work brewing and sunsets. All posts include likes and hashtags like the ones on social media platforms.
 

On another side: Doodles about episodes and conversations that happen in households teaching a girl child what to do and what not to do. These include how to be on when a girl has her period, the significance of rangoli design, the use religious symbols and superstition, the importance of marks and assumptions of intelligence, training given to children in classical arts, the flaunting of medal and trophies in the marriage bargain, discrimination in rules between a brother and a sister, the shopping of clothes and jewellery for performances and weddings, the assumptions about good looks, the pre-selection of the right groom for the girl child and the clock ticking and dictating a time to do each thing. 

From the artist's note:

“Merit is lonely.

Intelligence is body.

Access often an identity

And Privilege is blind. 

A natural juxtaposition of the past and present occurs, intertwining memories of lived experiences and continuous performed reality. One that is deep, sunk beneath layers of skin and one which touches but with numbness as it bounces off in a hurry. 

How does one live or unlive? How does one find oneself enmeshed in between the consumed and the consumer? “

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

The ideal identity is a prejudicial myth – one that can never be achieved and that is never meant to be achieved.