I am a multidisciplinary artist from Bangalore, studied in MS University. Currently practicing in Bangalore, Karnaraka. My work has developed in number of ways over the years yet from the very beginning of my art practice, I have workded in Painting, Printmaking, Installation, Video Art and Live/ Performance art. My intention is to blend these mediums into an interdisciplinary language.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Death of Desire

Desire, Civilization, Birth

Rendition of Two Installation performance of Ratnabali Kant 
5th and 6th May 2023

Curated by Smitha Cariappa
Organized by Ratnabali Kant Foundation

This performance is a retake of Ratna Bali Kant's live performance titled- 'Death of Desire' I observed her performance video and let my thought flow on how I connect to desires and how to visualize desires of self. I had to give a gap and let the natural idea flow. After two days, I got some vision in a flash and wanted to follow it to see in complete clarity. The concept of performance evolved and developed organically. When I thought to work on my idea, I hit on the doors of Vison of Flash. The color of my desire was vigorous and heavy and gradually started giving a form and then fixed the shade of dark pink. The next step was to work on my sculptural installation.

 I sought the material right to make my sculpture heavy and bold. Acquiring the apt material took three days, then building it took two days. As I was working on the sculpture and developing my installation for performance, various thoughts flowed into my mind about desires. Desires don't have boundaries and can grow wide and tall are unlimited. The acquiring, consuming, un-bounding, overwhelming emotions turning to greed gradually elements started showing their face, and images from my childlike desires to play with kitchen toys appeared.

I played with my desires with deep breaths hinting at my existential self. Desire in humans can have several layers and metaphoric meanings and connotations mixed with negative shade hiding under the bright. There are several aspects of life desires- to have a good partner, love life, luxuries, hunger for power, the satisfying demands of the ego, and many socially set materialistic things there is no limit. All these wishes and unlimited desires are summed up metaphorically with pink cotton candy.

 The eating and consuming cotton candy did not want to finish it wanted to enjoy every bit of it. Metaphorically the desire was in the form of a balloon presented to audiences. The audience blew the balloon with their 'desires then I offered the cotton candy to the audience to devour it.

The Cotton Candy metaphorically represented greed and ballon to desires. I saw many avoid eating it. The journey ended by playing with a balloon loaded with black ink. The climax was to play with death in due course, and then there was an end to this desire. There are various aspects in my work- existential self, the heavy proud body carrying the heavily wrapped pieces of baggage of desires that are visually appealing bold, and attractive. Polyphonic sounds filled the extempo of action representing the presence of self all the time. At last, I released my childlike emotions and playfully braking the ego of desire.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Negotiating Memory- Encountering Catharsis

"The unconscious is inadmissible to consciousness." ―Sigmund Freud.

Performed on Behala Art Fest 2023

The concept for this performance work revolves around negotiating our memories of the past in our unconscious minds and encountering them with art therapy to gain catharsis. According to well-known psychologist Freud, the unconscious is a repository for socially unacceptable ideas, wishes or desires, traumatic memories, and painful emotions put out of the mind by the mechanism of psychological repression. However, the contents did not necessarily have to be solely negative. The concept for this work is to unbound or free oneself from these memories from the unconscious process. It is the conscious mind making it more acceptable and cathartic. The baggage of memories makes us heavily entangled in fears and traumas sometimes, fear of the unknown dark Like a shadow you bring it to the light, it would be nothing effort to bring it to light and help us lighten from the weight of it, and free us to go further.

This performance was in a one-to-one public interactive. Through artistic interactions, the artist facilitated the audiences to encounter their memories creatively and encounter healing. The bed is one essential part of the private zone and door to the inner space, where we travel through the unconscious mind and encounter stages of our unconscious mind in a state of sleep. In that state of deep sleep, our mind confronts deep memories from the past and present, and also we see our future. Often, our unconscious mind fights the devil and fears and directs ways to fight them.

In this work, the idea was to bring indoors to the outdoor space while maintaining and respecting the privacy of the audience. The bed, the Lenin net, and the object of memories will act as tools to bring inside out while maintaining the privacy of the audience's emotions and thoughts. It is like a fantasy door to escape to an inner world. The Installation work is like an alchemical container /vessel in a lab where the process happens. I want my audience and myself to go through the process of transformation in this alchemical vessel simultaneously. In this process, the audience will go through different stages of healing and transformation with the warmth of love/fire in the vessel. 

This state can be very well explained, with this reference to psychotherapy sessions in psychoanalysis - Something similar happens during psychotherapy. For much of the time it is the patient who is speaking while the therapist generally exercises what Freud called "non-judgmental listening". As the sessions continue, the therapist may give prompts, reflect the patient on what has been said, or at times throw out a little suggestion or even advice. In more intense cases, the processes of transference begin in which intense feelings are invoked within the patient. In those cases where projective identification occurs, the therapist may even become directly aware of contents from the patient's mind. But in all these cases the therapist still attempts to bracket his or her feelings, thoughts, and reactions in order not to contaminate the therapeutic process. Nevertheless, several skilled therapists have told me of those magical moments in which all boundaries disappear, moments in which it is not possible to say "where is the Healing"; or who is the patient and who is the therapist. On those occasions, the patient and therapist enter the alchemical vessel together and are warmed by unconditional love. It is in those moments that the miracle of healing takes place. The Jungian therapist Beverly Zabriskie has referred to this as the healing of "frozen accidents" that is, the melting away of those "accidents" from childhood that have remained frozen within one. Therapy and insight may go some way toward the process of thawing, but the last analysis requires the heat of love. This work is durational in a moving cycle cart installation with sound and light.

The performance was performed in two layers first part was where I unbound myself metaphorically using mattresses and pillows. It is one of the most intimate objects where we negotiate memories ( both conscious and unconscious mind). I was carrying three pillows tied to my head, dragging clay teapots on the road, and later unbounding the pillow from cotton that metaphorically represents the memory. I invited the audience to join in my cycle van installation work, I created a private indoor bedroom look-like space with Transparent Cotton Lenin cloth with sparkling lights and an old Bengali song played. The audience connected with the images shared, with popular nostalgic Bengali songs playing the scent of tuberose placed inside the installations where I had one-to-one interaction with audiences. I had some audience emotional bust during the session. I performed cleansing rituals with milk the henna felt much lighter. The performance was on a preview day. During the first two days of the festival, the audience saw the videos of the performance recording, performed again on the last day of the festival, with one-to-one interaction participated by many audiences.

Dimple B Shah 9th February 2023

Monday, January 23, 2023

'Site under Construction (Galli nali Gopuram )

OH! Where are you, my dear Bangalore?

I have been searching for you

In old buildings on city lanes,

Searching through the aroma of food and the scent of the city

Sparking memories and emotions

The houses and city lanes that marked your existence are no more

The path had a unique character that took us to memory lanes is lost forever

Now leading to nowhere

Where are you, my dear Bangalore?

Now you have a new identity with concrete flyovers under constructed sites

The operation for a makeover has torn your heart and soul

You are bleeding inside out

With the dust and revamped soil I

Through the dissection of the city (body and soul), we have lost you forever

You Cry out in a pain.

It is so painful to see you lose your identity I don't want your makeover

My heart and soul are looking for you my heart and soul are lost the scent of mallige jade

I want to see the same old Bangalore

With a heavy heart, I look toward the city

The soul lost under the spark of a thousand lights

Now replaced Sparkling Maggina jade with led lights

OH! Where are you Bangalore?

'Site' under construction is a performance-installation work developed during the project period. The idea is a response to the city of Bangalore which is always in the process of development of several 'sites' that are under renovation, and deconstruction, and where new structures are built to widen the roads or metros are constructed and old buildings are demolished. and splashing of led lights of the festival. I consider the 'site' as my body and as the city itself which is always in the process of deconstruction and construction. It is in between celebration, like a lighted street god, and the goddess-like lighted Gopuram in a mood of celebrating nostalgic, melancholic, humorous, and emotional attachment to memories of the city and childhood. It is an existential site to stay alive and awake, where life passes and the present ever keep moving.

Dimple B Shah 10 Jan 2023

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Negotiating History- Finding Path of Jina

Mapping cultural Topographies through Body and Space

Performed on 16th Dec 2022

Jiwaji University Jaipur Art Summit 2022

The performance was a project to introspect the history of Gwalior city to explore the present and past through interaction and collaboration. It was about decoding history through cultural and spiritual lenses. I performed with headgear and costume to match Gwalior's cities' monuments, buildings, and sites ( like the Gwalior fort and Gopachal archaeological sites.

I was carrying a trunk full of city stones that have embedded the history of the city, photos of monuments, soil, flower essence, and soil for 500 meters. The walk collaborated with the student of the sports department of Jiwaji University, and a few students carried the stones along. The idea was to gaze into the city with The Latitude and longitudinal perspective giving an inside view to the Ecological- social-cultural aspect of the city, a city which emerged in the 8th century Ad has seen so much transformation and lived rich art, culture, and historical happening. 

The present-day city has clouded with the environmental issue of poor air quality. Gwalior has been breathing in and breathing out the changes from the ages. The idea is to observe, Live, and experience cultural topographies through body and space. This performance was also an attempt to see oneself through cultural and philosophical roots. This city has celebrated Jain philosophy for thousands of years and wanted to gaze at self through a Spiritual lens and wanted the audiences to see themselves through the same lens. I gave them a ball made out of wheat dough and asked audiences to create a Sculptural form of what they see in terms of self and asked them to place it in a site that forms one more historical site.

The performance enables an opportunity for the artist and audiences to read the soul of the cities from past and present. The concept opens up to decode the gird zone transformation over 1200 years. The metamorphosis has been gradual: few things have remained the same (Historical monuments. Palaces, temples, and archaeological sites), and the city has seen changes over the years. Every generation has added tone to the gird zone, which needs to be decoded, with Latitude and longitudinal perspectives through the body and live action. 

The concept gave scope to express mainly through the body: spontaneous or processed response to the Grid zone. This performance allowed audiences to look into local and global perspectives on the oral or written stories of the present and past, observe and respond to present ecological social-cultural context grasp through monuments, customs, and traditions learning and respond through body and space.

Dimple B Shah 9th Jan 2023

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Seeds of Life

Resonating to the Whispers

Unurum Fest curated by Aakshat Sinha at Fakir Mohan University

(26th and 27th November performed in two parts)

I hear a song from far

The song comes from deep within

The song that can transcend to the world of spirits

The cry to seek answer cry to heal

Seeking blessing to protect them

Deep call to the eternal world

The world is not visible to the naked eye

I hear a whisper from far

I hear the songs from far

They call nature healers to the nature spirit

I hear the songs from afar.

Inspiration for the performance was shamanic prayers done by Saura tribes performed with the rice grains to make a connection to the spiritual world, the world that is difficult to understand by the rational world. For several weeks I heard these rituals and prayers it resonated in my subconscious for many days. The idea for my performance was in response to this resonance in my subconscious mind.

The concept for this performance considered the rituals and shamanistic practices of tribes in Orissa and the shamanistic ritual they performed. As a matter of interest, I did elaborate research on Saura Tribes and wished to work with the tribes of Orissa. The first-day performance was a solo as the tribe from the nearby region did not come, which allowed me to perform my ritual solo with paddy grains. A great atmosphere developed where all the energies synchronized for these rituals. The performance started with half a kilometer walk with paddy grain in a bamboo container dragged with a rope tied to my shoulder grains were falling on the road forming a trail of grain on the path I walked. The performance was to connect to nature spirits, seeds, and plants in the region.

The performance ritual was performed with an audio prayer by the Suara tribe and a live prayer to connect to 'nature's spirits. As part of the paddy grains were already placed in different circular forms on the ground after the rituals, I gave paddy grain to some of the audience and asked them to make some text forms. A large audience participated in this text ritual words were written, erased rewritten by many audiences, and then there was the closing of this ritual. This performance ritual was collaborated by audiences in large numbers with text rituals. The idea was mainly to connect to the land, Eco space, and the spiritual world to respond to audiences. The performance was an intense act to transform and transmit the message of conserving and respecting Mother Nature.

Part Two performance continued to 2nd day

The performance work continued on 2nd day to clear the grain on-site with a ritual. This time, I was lucky as the nearby mundri tribe came to perform with me and collaborated for the performance without making any changes to their act wanted them to be natural and perform their rituals as per their tradition to fit in their way as a custom, we both bowed to each other to show mutual respect. I requested them to perform to do their ritual dance performance as I cleared the paddy grains. It was a finishage performance act where I tried to clean the paddy grain spread earlier. The ritual was to protect the grains and respect them as our food. This two-day performance was experiential and transformational for both my audience and me. It was like experiencing catharsis and subconscious transformational experience to learn about their ritual and adopt it.

Dimple B Shah  12 Jan 2023
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