An Inquiry into My Art and Intentions
From documenting ‘technologies’ to technological documentation, from feminist concerns to scientific enquiries, Surekha’s field of interest in creative cutting edge art is quite wide. In this article, Surekha analyses her own works to explain her aesthetic positioning vis-à-vis cutting edge art.
My works in the recent years have been intended to personally appropriate myself, within the background of the immediate contemporary issues and personal concerns. I would like to discuss few projects that shaped my art in the last six years.
Towards this, I have created videos using the film-making technique of 1960s and 70s, (using Bolex and Rostraum camera techniques), due to a formal training in Super-Eight /16 mm and developing films at ‘NowHere’, London in 2005. The technical possibility of earlier film-making methodology itself is worthy a subject of enquiry. This was done with the belief that scientific and technological innovations and artistic abilities are becoming more and more inseparable. The engagement with an already historicized filming technology is a recurrent factor in most of my works. My attempt was to enquire into the contemporaneous possibility of such nostalgic gadgets and probe them within the premise of our more recent engagement with moving images.
The carnival videos, a recording of about three weeks of costume designing in Trinidad in the year 2005, containing interviews of masqueraders, were my attempt in furthering the ability of the documentary-spectacle, to enquire into the annual periodic occasions wherein the citizens appropriate costume design as a mode of contesting societal regulations of human behaviour.
My video-installation, Communing with Urban Heroines, (2006-07), consisting of a set of 14 videos, Bangalore was an attempt to testify the nature of Video-art in relation to the urbanized women’s sophisticated existence, which is specific to such and other urban-genders, particular to my generation.
Unclaimed (2009-10) was another installation which speaks about the urban loss and anxiety, it was an installation of nine videos within a construed room, built using 3000 keyboards and a few hundred computers-- using human voices and technology.
The Lake Tales project (2008-2011) reflects upon the relation between a lived experience with and around the lake, taking note of the internal-diaspora that the re-articulation of a lake and the subsequent displacement can bring about. The possibilities of novel artistic media helped me to realize and frame the relation between powers, authority, lived experience of people deeply related to their lake and the shift in the personality of a lake from being the source of agrarianism to an urban project, as a beautified agent of a park. The final presentation was a curated show with the interventions of few more artists and the reactions in the blog from the public.
As a continuation of this lake project, I am now at Artist-in-Labs at Eawag, Aquatic Ecology (Zurich) to examine the availability of a merger between languages of Art and Science in relation to water. Going to field trips with scientists to rivers, streams and glaciers has opened up a new world for me. The possibility of a set of scientific pedagogic tools to yield an aesthetic arena is my current concern herein. My project here is titled, Just Follow the Sound of the River, as a part of which I am collecting water from different parts of the world, creating microscopic visuals. Mapping the aesthetic, geographical, political and scientific issues in relation to water is my concern here.
As an artist working in different perspectives, tools and technological metamorphosis from past decade, I am becoming more and more aware of a larger question: Is there a similarity between the histories of belonging to Art and Science? Were they initially bifurcated due to the demand for mutually different, specialization of fields like art and science? With an initial background in Science and then in Art, this articulative possibilities regarding the interdisciplinary aspect is becoming more and more obvious to me, thanks to the art of cutting edge. For me, the pleasure of acquiring knowledge lies in the process, art-of-making rather than the final production. The final outlook of my art is not the end product as much as it is the sum total of the intricate interactions that the media possibilities have offered me.