REMEMBERING

 

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 & 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

The duration of embodied encounters endows them with a kind of power and meaning to shape our imagination and our relationalities, and these encounters become ingrained in flesh and memory. When the internet becomes a meeting place, the distinction between remembering and forgetting becomes a lot more obscure because of the (usual) rapidity and fleetingness of interactions. What matters then the difference between remembering and forgetting in making judgments about people in digital spaces? 

 

WEEK 04             

बुलबुले | BULBULE | BUBBLES

ARTIST KHWABIDA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

LISTEN TO THIS POEM

00:00 / 00:50

 

DESCRIPTION: Handwritten Hindustani poem in black ink against a green background. Bubbles of different sizes are drawn in a blue colour pencil on the right side. Transcript and recording is provided to the right of the image.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Memories of cleanliness unravel the simultaneously nostalgic and oppressive relations therein. 

 

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

Our senses encode not only our personal memories but the memories of our times, our struggles to define and to redefine the structural categories into which we were born and which were conferred upon us. 

 

WEEK O4             

A LETTER TO AMU

ARTIST Z

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

LISTEN TO THIS POEM

00:00 / 02:44

 

DESCRIPTION: Contains an image and a poem. The image is of a painting titled - The Maid in the Kitchen, by Anna Ancher, 1883-1886. In the image we see a woman wearing an orange skirt and a black top standing with her back to us. The woman is facing a countertop with utensils on top of it and a window above. She is in a room which looks like a kitchen with the door ajar to the right. Sunlight is seen entering through the window that she faces. The kitchen colours that surround her are brown, light green and beige. The poem is written in black font against a white background and the transcription is provided to the right.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

From the artist’s note:

“Dear  Lavender  Hippo,  

This week’s prompts were interesting for me, especially the Vim bar. While I enjoyed playing with Surf because it was familiar, I did not enjoy using the Vim bar. It was so granular, so medicinal green, with little lather, sticky on my fingers, and the fragrance did not evoke anything. It was the opposite experience of the Vim liquid detergent that I regularly use. Also being a Rs.5 bar, I kept judging it as an inferior product.  

It also made me think of our previous house help, Amu, even though she had never been responsible for doing the dishes at our home. It made me wonder if she had used a bar like this. It triggered a memory of her sharing with me that she had to do all the housework at her home as well. I had asked her if her three sons ever helped.  But she justified their lack of help by saying that their tap was outside the home and hence it was embarrassing for them to wash dishes outside. I remember this anger rising within me then, but I kept silent. I know the anger was triggered from my own  experiences of being a woman within the boundaries of marriage and patriarchy.  

I decided to write about this memory and feeling through an epistle/epistolary poem  – which is a poem in the form of a letter. I have never tried this form before, but it seemed ideal to me. It helped me focus on someone else’s story, while indirectly expressing mine. The epistle also feels very intimate and personal because it is addressed directly to someone (as compared to an anonymous reader), which I thought would work for this content.

warm regards, 
Z”

 

LISTEN TO THIS LETTER

00:00 / 02:08

It is indeed strange that the very activities that make up our everyday lives and that facilitate our existence as well as those who carry them out are most vulnerable to being forgotten. Sometimes our “micro wars” (a term used by the poet) are seeing the entire universal of relationalities in an everyday act.

 

WEEK 05            

WILD GARLIC FLOWERS

ARTIST Z

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image has three black and white pictures of black bowls with a flower in each of them.

From the artist’s note:

“Oct 11
Dear  Lavender  Hippo,
 

I thought it would be interesting as garlic evokes such a  range of emotions … and it did, it led to two artistic responses this week.  

The first artistic response is a collection of vignettes, ‘Wild Garlic Flowers’.
• I went online to look at different types of garlic, just out of curiosity, and  happened to come across a photograph of flowers that sprout from  garlic. I had never thought about flowers from garlic before, or onions or  any other vegetable.  

• I thought it would be interesting to look at garlic as something stinky,  taboo, delicious – but also alive and blooming through us. This  influenced the title and presentation of the response. I wanted to make  it feel like a book on wild flowers.  

The second artistic response is a set of black and white photographs, titled  ‘Offering’.  

• I kept thinking about garlic as flowers and how I could use that for a  visual response. I wanted to play with the idea of garlic being taboo as  an offering to a deity, and provoke the idea of what is a worthy offering.  

• The photograph is meant to contrast the fragility of garlic as a flower  offering, with a dark, taboo, mysterious context.

 

warm regards,

 Z”

 

 

LISTEN TO THIS LETTER

00:00 / 01:46

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

The eyes have been accorded the privileged position of being gateways to the world and to determine the positions of various categories of people in our lives. And yet, what of the perspective of the eyes? 

 

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.

 

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.”

 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image is a list of the following names written one below the other in sketch pen: 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. Next to the names, the following text is written spelling is new, Father’s name too long, can't afford to have sur/family name, Nuclear (arrow) just dad. And below the names, the following text is written : North Indian, Chopra or Gandhi, common, long not cool, not-big sounding, young name

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Memory-keepers are sometimes at risk of being forgotten. This risk is not specifically posed to an individual but to a structural category of people: in this case, women.

 

WEEK 07             

CHOICES OR DARK MAROON

ARTIST  MORTY SMITH

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image shows a spider web made of thread. There is a thick maroon circle of wool, and green and red thread to form a web in between and a pearl in the centre. 

 

Excerpt from the artist’s note:

“Dear Gulla,

My parents were divorced probably when I was 6 years old. My father chose to leave. Me and my sister lived with my mom and our grandparents. 

Throughout the process I realized how annoyed I am with bureaucracy. I carry my father’s last name even though I do not have any relationship with him. It is a pain in the ass to get it changed. His last name is his ancestral village he comes from. As far as I am concerned I do not relate to him or his family in any way. 

For some reason, I have always felt shy to use his last name as mine. I always hesitate to reveal it. I always wished for a different name. 

My response to the prompt shows the characteristics of my last name and constellation refers to how it goes back in time. The dark maroon colour represents my resistance and shyness.

PS forgive me for the bad writing”

 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image is a list of names written in caps: Aishwariya Chadaluri, Niom Samson, Karthik Palepu, Monish Lakkoju, Karishma Manwan, Simran Chug, Nikita Solanki, Diya Naidu, Sarigama Yerra, Sanjay Baradwaj, Mayank Rangupta, Harsh Gupta

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

That which we are forced to remember, that which is arbitrarily conferred upon us even when its relevance has been extinguished is a violent erasure of what really matters to us and of the form in which we would like to be remembered. 

 

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

The personalization of ritual as a kind of honouring memory...to use the ritual as a framework to stay true to the lived memories of loved ones is to ensure their immortality and to dereify the ritual…

 

WEEK 08          

A SET OF STORIES SHARED

ARTIST JEISI AMAWASA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image shows a uterus with flowers growing out of it. The image is at the bottom of the letter, which has been transcribed to the right.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

There is perhaps a subtle hint of the female, the maternal in every evocation of memory. Perhaps it is that which is at the greatest risk of being lost.

 

WEEK 10             

BACK TO BASICS

ARTIST LOKI

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The video shows a group of five women performing classical Indian dance moves in fast forward mode. There is only music with no lyrics playing in the background. 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image shows a square banana leaf. The image shows the square banana leaf open out like a page to reveal a QR code in the centre. 

 

Excerpt from the artist’s note: 

“There is something immediately attractive about tradition, routine, rigour, repetition and the simple early old days.

Experiencing another’s art left me motivated, disappointed, inspired, jealous, feeling inadequate and excited by cynical all the same. Here is how I know to respond.”

 

DESCRIPTION: The image shows a square banana leaf. The image shows the square banana leaf open out like a page to reveal a QR code in the centre. 

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Tradition places us securely within the cornea of surveillance society. For those who have grown accustomed to that privilege of being seen and never having to doubt the otherwise, the tremors to the very concept of seeing and of the social hierarchies of positioning can be alienating, threatening...the risk of being unseen or being forced to reflect on one’s location at the centre of one’s cornea. 

 

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’. 

Excerpt 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

Every tribute to a memory is an erasure of so many others. The discretion of what is worth remembering and honouring and what is not is inherently political. 

 

WEEK 10          

JEALOUS GAZE

ARTIST LAVENDAR  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.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

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

…”

The distress caused by painful memories uncovers the power differentials prevalent in society on which these memories are premised.