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Dialogues of Melting

Dialogues of Melting

In Dialogues of Melting, the ethereal qualities of ice, the solidity of cement, and the urgency of environmental narratives are woven together to probe the intricate ties that bind past, present, and impending futures exploring how each era flows into the next in a state of constant change. The essence of Dialogues revolves around the alchemical interplay between the transient nature of melting ice and the ensuing abstract forms of cement. The fleeting state of ice echoes the evanescence of our past. Its lessons and memories are in constant dialogue with the concrete with its enduring nature, standing as a testament to the present moment and shaping our future. Our planet, a haven of biodiversity and life, teeters on the brink of immense climatic shifts. By using ice as a primary material, the project highlights the accelerating melting rates of glaciers and the subsequent consequences on the ecosystem, accentuating the immediate need for environmental mindfulness and sustainable choices. It emphasizes the relationship between human actions and Earth's geology, calling for introspection among future generations. Methodology and Presentation: Dialogues of Melting is conceived through a blending of ice and cement. Each stage of the ice's dissolution and the cement's formation is captured, offering viewers a tangible insight into the transformative processes. The culmination of this work will be manifested in diverse formats: immersive installations, evocative photography, and film, allowing viewers to witness the dialogues of melting and drawing them into a reflective journey of change and continuity. By bringing together representations of ice, cement, and our environment across time, this project aims to nurture a shared dedication to preserving resources and caring for the fragile ecosystems we call home.

#Self Performance videos, 2023 Time: varied ‘As an artist, I am inspired by the intersection of motherhood, travel, and self-care. In my performance video, I explore the idea of being called selfish for prioritizing self-care, and how this label can be harmful and dismissive of the challenges faced by mothers. Travel has also been a significant aspect of my life, as it has allowed me to explore new cultures and gain a new perspective on the world. These experiences have led me to reflect on the importance of self-care and the value of taking time for oneself. Contrasting the joy and wonder of discovery with the societal pressures that push back against it, through movement and voiceover, I express the inner dialogue of a mother who is both proud of her accomplishments and guilty for leaving her family behind. My intention is to challenge the notion that motherhood and personal growth are mutually exclusive. By highlighting the obstacles that mothers face when they strive for independence, I hope to create a space for empathy and understanding, both for those who have been judged and those who have judged others.’ Artist Colette Copeland and I met during an artist workshop, collaborating on a performance art video entitled Self. The collaboration is an endeavor through an ongoing project, to amplify the voices of mothers and caregivers, creating performances that challenges cultural expectations around motherhood and gender. Through movement and visual storytelling, we aim to challenge the stigma attached to self-care and encourage mothers to prioritize their well-being without guilt or shame. Ultimately, we want our audience to feel empowered and validated by our work. We hope to challenge the cultural norms that prioritize selflessness in motherhood and encourage viewers to consider the importance of self-care for themselves and the mothers in their lives. Through our work, we hope to contribute to a broader cultural conversation about the complex realities of motherhood and the ways in which we can create a more supportive and inclusive world. ​

I KEEP SMELLING FIRE Video: 8min 43 secs The video represents public versus the private gaze, where I simultaneously become the performer and a spectator. With the camera turned upon myself, the project-space turns into my personal studio and I am the medium. A medium to experiment and examine my feelings vis-à-vis my past and the present. While a part of me looks on, reflecting, fearing, reminiscing, I do not feel the emotions or connect with the thoughts I initially started performing with. It is as though the act is mechanical, sans the associated sentiments. ‘The past keeps changing as it is in constant dialogue with the present’. (Smith & Watson, 2002) Finding myself in an ‘empty box’ a room void of any objects, I look on while I sip my coffee. Is the ’looking on’ the performance while the camera faces a blank white space or is it me in the blank white space performing while I ‘look on’ sipping my coffee? The warmth of the coffee mug, the restless fingers tapping and caressing the mug, does this reflect on the expressions on my face? I invite the viewers to ponder on what these actions may signify, much like my own state of mind, responding to those stimuli. I Keep Smelling Fire, the trigger was an actual fire that I dealt with. But while that got doused, it left a lasting impact with the way I perceive the idea of danger. Here I am, dealing with the intangible, a memory, a thought, something that began as a personal experience but expanded to a more potent realisation. I could now relate this micro and private feeling with the macro and outwardly vision, with various issues faced by humanity at large. The contrasting black and white frames and the mental and physical emotions, both are meant to connect directly with the viewer instead of expressing my personal story. Fire could be a metaphor for anything that is unpleasant. Communicating from my personal experience but expanding to the viewers based on their own journeys and experiences on viewing/ un viewing combating their inner “fires”, something that is uncomfortable but now trying to deal with it. I am expanding my personal experience to want to take it further. Destructive, creating, calming, violent.. handling the inner blaze. Becoming a viewer to my own self. Waking up and “smelling the coffee”. Holding, caressing the cup, could it mean more? Frames within a frame to form a single vision exaggerates my intent. Shooting with static cameras, I keep disappearing in two videos. The shadow acts as a silhouette that often merges into the black background. The intent is to ignite the viewer’s curiosity and make them wonder what could have been. I want the viewer here to be involved emotionally and in some way, physically. As I encounter my inner most feelings, I also provide myself a means to renegotiate my past and address my present. Investigating, embracing the discomfort, I see the “Shadows” arise between the beginning and the end of the video. The “Shadow” here is a metaphor for the long, unknown space and time. The “Shadow” between “the idea and the reality”, “the motion and the act” “the conception and the creation”, “the emotion and the response”, “the desire and the spasm”, “the potency and the existence”, “the essence and the descent”, all make me reflect on my videos. How do I spend my ‘in between” time? Despite my best efforts, is there a way to connect the beginning to the end or like in The Hollow Men, all I feel is the fear and disappointment? What comes after the conception of idea to lead to its creation? Does the repetition of the “black space” in my videos or “the Shadow” in this poem, mean fulfilment or then something failed? Is it the bridge of fear and uncertainty that connects a beginning to its end? ‘Between the idea And the reality Between the motion And the act Falls the Shadow For Thine is the Kingdom Between the conception And the creation Between the emotion And the response Falls the Shadow Life is very long Between the desire And the spasm Between the potency And the existence Between the essence And the descent Falls the Shadow For Thine is the Kingdom’ The Hollow Men, (Eliot, 1925)

BLOW HORN, 2011 Performance The video showcases an unconventional idea—an adventurous truck ride undertaken by Pooja, disguised as a male persona named "Munna." This subversive act aimed to challenge societal norms and expectations, particularly those imposed on women in India. By assuming the identity of a truck driver, Pooja sought to break free from her timid and shy roles as a daughter, wife, and mother, allowing her adventurous spirit to emerge. The initial shock and skepticism surrounding this concept were confronted and explained to her husband, Gautam, who eventually came to understand the deeper meaning behind the project. Through the journey as "Munna," Pooja aimed to merge the bustling world of the highway with the seclusion of the artist's studio, creating a powerful fusion of experiences and perspectives. The choice of dressing as a male and infiltrating the male-dominated realm of surface transportation was a deliberate act of camouflage and social commentary. In Indian society, it remains somewhat taboo for a woman to travel alone in a truck. Pooja's endeavor sought to highlight the challenges faced by truck drivers—the unsung heroes who are integral to India's infrastructure, yet often overlooked and undervalued. By becoming "one of them," she aimed to shed light on their lives and bridge the gap between the art world and the realities of everyday existence. The project draws inspiration from a documentary the artist recalls, featuring a mother in Afghanistan who dressed her daughter as a boy to allow her to attend school during the Taliban regime. Although the contexts differ, the underlying theme of breaking societal barriers resonated with her own experience. In her case, the transformation into "Munna" represented a symbolic gesture, defying social stigmas and exploring the complexities of gender roles and expectations. "BLOW HORN" blurs the boundaries between art and real life, offering a visceral and thought-provoking experience. Through this performance video, I aim to create art that reflects and engages with the world we inhabit, pushing the boundaries of perception and challenging preconceived notions. By immersing ourselves in the journey alongside Pooja, we are invited to question societal norms, confront gender stereotypes, and reflect on the power of individual expression in the face of societal pressures.

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