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.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Milk, Melancholy & Me - Live Performance [Audio & Video] at Venkatappa Art Gallery, Bangalore, 2011

The wise man is not surprised by death
he is always ready to leave.
La Fontaine
This melancholic state is so powerful
that, according to scientists and doctors,
it can attract demons to the body,
even to such an extent
that one can get into mental confusion or get visions.

Milk, Melancholy & Me, the performance was based on my experience in Mumbai during 2003. The performance was supported by video which was shot in Mumbai at Marine Drive, Chopati Beach. The video in the performance was about my conversation with the sea and myself over the period of 6 months. The  conversation with the sea starts with overwhelming feeling of its greatness and vastness, later on the feeling narrows down to a point of nothingness of self in front of it. The video narrates ones journey in metro city where he/she is isolated in there own world with no trust and faith on anybody and fear of losing self identity and dreams. It talks about struggle of individual who come with big dreams and tries to fit into this big city, searching for his/her own space and owning it. It also talks of emotive aspect like coping up with loneliness and depression which is the byproduct of mega cities. In this video I have shot very few elements like sea, waves, buildings and reflection of lights on waves. The dancing night lights and play of it on the sea bring the melancholic flavor to the video. The constant sound of waves that symbolizes the heartbeat and existence of life, the play of light in the video represents dreams that afloat. In this whole video I have continuously showed only few elements to bring in the essence of time that I have spent.

The visual treatment was the conglomeration of audio, video & my performance. In audio  I was talking about my experience in Mumbai and my journey in the city, act of drawing on canvas (like mapping my journey) and painting my face with black color. During the performance I distributed black balloons to the audience on which I had written "I Am Here", both painting my face and black balloon symbolically representing the darkness within me. I used herbal resin incense [that is used in death rituals in general] since the element of smell was also important in my performance.

The core idea of my performance was to bring in the psychological state of mind of a person, who is in deep state of depression and in melancholic mood, who is in state of isolation and has lost all its positive power to fight back (symbolic to first stage of Alchemical process – Nigredo, this is very well explained by Carl Jung and interpreted Nigredo as the moment of maximum despair, that is a prerequisite to personal development. Nigredo is "The dark night of the soul". He says "Right at the beginning you meet the dragon, the Chthonic spirit, the devil or, as the alchemists called it "The Blackness", the Nigredo and this encounter produces suffering" It brings the ego into contact with what it fears).

The performance had both existential feeling and melancholic tone. This performance act is a healing process for me and to my audience. In audio there are two people talking one is doctor who hypnotizes his patient and the other voice is mine, who is the patient and takes the journey to the past. (This conversational format was sourced from psychotherapy session and psychoanalysis and expressed here as metaphor. A doctor usually lets the patient speak and listens without judgment, later offering gentle insights and suggestions. Sporadically there occur precious & magical ‘Frozen Moments’, named so by the Jungian therapist Beverly Zabirskie, when boundaries between the patient and the doctor dissolve and in their shared warmth immobilized random traumas of childhood melt away to enable mutual healing). I concluded my performance by the act of pouring milk on my face and this ritualistic act symbolized healing. I am thankful to Smitha Cariappa to give me an opportunity to perform.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Connecting with the city - Live Art 2011, The International Festival Of Art Performance

Live Art 2011, the international festival of art performance organized by Smitha Cariappa, our adept in the field, was a special event with workshops, presentations and theory. One appreciated her idea to introduce the still new here medium to the broad audience as well as the city to the foreign participants through works by young local artists along a stretch of Mission and Double Roads spanning the artists’ initiative spaces of Bar1, Jaaga and 1Shanthi Road (November 15). Moving on, referring to, questioning and engaging with the place and people, its actual life situations, ethos and behaviour, the artists established a tenuous and fleeting, yet often vital link with the chaotically revelatory dynamism of the surroundings. 

As such, it seemed to bridge the otherwise prevalent and unfortunate gap between artists and the locale. That the performances were simple, easily readable on the surface and sometimes visually striking, indeed attracted passers by, their responses ranging from plain curiosity or literal naivety to basic recognition, policemen’s bewildered doubt included. The day started on a median with Vasudev C in protective gear cleaning it in suggestive-symbolic gestures, after which nearby school children were directed to seriously paint Mangala’s large kite, while Sapna H S as a little girl was whistling shrilly in control of the traffic, her actions later helping the occurrences’ progression. 

A high-point of sensitive presence in gravity became Deepak D L, his body painted the road divider’s camouflage black and white, evoking a fragile center of calm and stability amid the noisy haste. Another focus was Dimple B Shah who on the side of a petrol station spread her ware of cheap healing perfumes, and attired in red robes, her face a telluric green, fascinated onlookers like an ancient ritualistic performer. A very rough, raw and disturbing but also tender piece came from Sushil Kumar, a senior Delhi artist, who circled under the garbage-strewn flyover to cross the road with his head under an old, heavy commode, indeed letting the viewers sense the burden of dirt we imbibe from around. 

As the night fell by the fuming, blaring junction, Mangala wearing an oxygen mask lit by a green torchlight dared the traffic and with ordinary-dramatic gestures confronted drivers letting both them and pedestrians intuit the mutual danger and suffocation. Whilst those contributions provided culmination points, numerous other happenings kept up the interrupted continuity gracefully or with a subtle kind of obviousness addressing issues of drinking water and trash (Pallem Yamini, Monica Nanjunda), personal confusion (Navya A), the fate of urban birds (Asha Rani N) and farmers (Subramanya), spirituality (Samir Paul) and psychology (Deepak and Venkatesh K N), undermining gender roles (Sapna as a fashionable panipuri seller) or proving resistance to the melee with slow-walking on the edge Raghu Wodeyar listening to music.

Whereas Nilesh S Dubrekar displayed a painting on the ground, Vasudev and team performed a surgery on a fruit cart vendor, its strategic placement on a tyre repair shop’s isle both gathering chance spectators and stimulating artists towards spontaneous fun ventures with available objects. The evening ended with a general mock-gun-battle and constant stair washing at 1Shanthi Road by Siri Devi, after a perhaps misguided effort of contemporary dancers (Jyotsna B Rao and Abhilash Ninjappa). A messily charming frame mapping the process was created by Suresh Kumar G R who followed everything leaving behind a trail of yellow paint drips.

Marta Jakimowicz

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