July 27 – August 28 Open Studio: Tuesday July 26- 5:00 – 9:00 pm
Amitabh Kumar Eelco Wagenaar Kiran Subbaiah
Umesh Kumar PN Prayas Abhinav Tahireh Lal
The Guild is pleased to present “ON THE SIDEREAL”, an exhibition curated by Bangalore based artist and curator, Prayas Abhinav, featuring a multidisciplinary range of works by the six artists – Amitabh Kumar, Eelco Wagenaar, Kiran Subbaiah, Umesh Kumar PN, Prayas Abhinav and Tahireh Lal. The exhibition draws on the Jungian concept of time to propose the notion of Sidereal Time, which in a way sidesteps our knowing of multiple realities and universalities, but still is a part of our experience.
“What do we do after we de-shackle time from its commodity exchange value? Few can bear the weight of naked time. We seek ways to dullen, fragment and diffuse our awareness of it. Media creates a dream world for our waking selves. A dream world in which we are told that we have agency to reconfigure the worlds around us. A dream world that placates us when we cannot do so, offers us periodic piecemeal victory and hope to keep us engaged, keep us locked-in, prevent our “sidereality” to come alive.
This “sidereal” time and its voice can transform into anything it seeks. Desire, confusion and recklessness are tools which can be used towards this. With time made open to an alchemical manipulation and transformation, space invariably will be persuaded to take on other contours as well. And spaces will dream with all the things they contain. This brings us to the Wheel of Time – the packet within which all else floats. The Ouroboros. The reason why time can be cast in no permanent mould – except nostalgia maybe, for some time” – Prayas Abhinav
The exhibition is the culmination of a nine day residency program at The Guild. The residency saw art practitioners from diverse fields associated with the arts, architecture, culture studies and science talk and debate about the many concepts and notions of time, the arguments centering of course on the sidereal concept of time. Performance artistes also explored the semblance of what we call as normal or real time through the audio-visual medium. There were also individual presentations of previous works by the participating artists. For the first time in the history of art galleries in Mumbai, some of the talks and seminars were web-cast live. An interactive web discussion was also one of the highlights of this project which was initiated prior to the residency.. Artists, art-lovers, intellectuals and students participated in the talks and discussions on all the days.
Amitabh Kumar’s work is part of his ongoing Prophesaur series;the new secret cult that had joined the cycle of cults that would one day control the world. It is about that operator who watches time. Doesnt pass it, use it, fetishize it, run from it, run to it, shut it, kill it. He watches it. And by virtue of that reveals his location to the prophesaurs. It's always outside time.
But this piece is not about his location either. Neither is It about him and the tragedy that became his sole preoccupation.
It is about the prophesaurs and the operator and the friendly arm twisting between them.
Eelco Wagenaar’s work is called ‘Duality’s of Time; A Triptych’. His multimedia work consists of a fan placed above a wall, where the wall serves the purpose of dividing the space into time zones. A clock made out of digital alarm clocks forms the second part of the triptych. The alarm clocks are representing the numbers of the clock. There are no arms that move, but the hours are moving from one clock to the other, in a counter clockwise motion. The minutes appear to be synchronized, but they aren’t. To complete the triptych there is a poster with a recent published thesis Artist as System Engineer. The text deals with issues regarding dual practices and interactivity in times of rapid development of (digital) technology and how art could be functioning in the construct of science and society.
Prayas Abhinav’s work is all about the textual narrative. As he puts it lucidly “Another pattern is apparent (and all narrative is fiction)”. Experience of time is fractures and like a piece of broken glass reflecting in an infinite loop, hypertexts are created in each living moment. This is complimentary to a Hydra of Incandescence, which is a corollary to the experience, that if trajectories are followed and pursued for what they are, we have to witness the Hydra of Incandescence.
Kiran Subbaiah’s work is the Black Box. A black box recovered from the debris of a time-machine that crashed in the vicinity of the artist's space-time. It contains a vital SOS message from the future addressed specifically to the world of contemporary art.
Tahireh Lal explores ideas and works that have their own physicality, time and space. Tending to abstract and pure form and using elemental aspects of the visual experience, the work explores the immersive, self-reflective environments that are connotative rather than denotative. The explorations deal with the convergence of seemingly disparate ideas where each narrative lead is stripped to its bare minimum both in content and aesthetic.
Umesh Kumar PN constructs assemblages/sculptures using everyday objects and materials by subverting their basic design and function. The process is as important as the final visual and where the aesthetics of the ordinary is part of the artist’s visual vocabulary. He works with the economy of material and fabrications with importance to the nature of the material. The intention is to locate and subvert cultural, economic productions and situations as part of the construct of the specific philosophical landscape with its inherent contradictions and irony.
Time is the material with which we construct our waking experience.
If the fountain of youth; eternity itself, lands up at our doorstep, what would we make of it? Surrounding ourselves with our things, we try to make meaning through them. We exchange the time on our hands with things we desire. Jung's Alchemist sought a spiritual process to occur within the world of things. Things rising above their thingness to be all things and nothing at the same time, were the hope and desire of many. If that chase should be cut short, what would it be replaced with? Time. Empty time. Void. A thing falling into an infinite abyss. For now, to stay with the process of knowing this abyss better, we will refer to it as “sidereal”. The sidereal in a way sidesteps our knowing of multiple realities and universalities, but still is a part of our experience.
“How do you plug a void plugging a void?”, R. D. Laing
What do we do after we de-shackle time from its commodity exchange value? Few can bear the weight of naked time. We seek ways to dullen, fragment and diffuse our awareness of it. Media creates a dream world for our waking selves. A dream world in which we are told that we have agency to reconfigure the worlds around us. A dream world that placates us when we cannot do so, offers us periodic piecemeal victory and hope to keep us engaged, keep us locked-in, prevent our “sidereality” to come alive.
Catharsis is only achieved from a liberal pollination of desires and use-values for our “sidereal time”. Camouflaging a personal theatre on the inside with boredom and disengagement is a tactic of defense from the onslaught of reality TV and the tabloid newspaper. The everyday and the mundane hide a performance space of passion, adventure and poetry in private envelopes of time.
This “sidereal time” and its voice can transform into anything it seeks. Desire, confusion and recklessness are tools which can be used towards this. With time made open to an alchemical manipulation and transformation, space invariably will be persuaded to take on other contours as well. And spaces will dream with all the things that they contain. This brings us to the Wheel of Time - the packet within which all else floats. The Ouroboros. The reason why time can be cast in no permanent mould - except nostalgia maybe, for some time.
“Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans,” Double Fantasy, John Lennon
As we live, we witness our experience fracturing; into the time that we sell to earn our keep and the time we don’t. Time spent working and leisure-time. For many cognitive laborers, a separation such as this doesn’t exist. All time is work time, what is the “sidereal”?
“If all time is eternally present, All time is unredeemable,” Buirnt Norton, T.S. Eliot
Conversations @ On the Sidereal will explore and present varied notions and perceptions of “time” - from vantage points of diverse practices, science and philosophy.
Do join us for tea at 6:00 pm, events start at 6:30 pm
18th July, 6:30 p.m.:
Introduction to the project (Prayas Abhinav + recordings of an interview with Dr Kusum Dhar Prabhu)
Participating artist presentations: Kiran Subbaiah
Knowing The Moment:
Poetry with Hemant Divate (postponed to later in the week)
Presentation / talk by T V Santhosh
19th July, 6:30 p.m.:
Participating artist presentations: Eelco Wagenaar
Hemant S K
20th July, 6:30 p.m.:
Participating artist presentations: Tahireh Lal, Umesh P N
Architecture and Temporal Spaces: presentations of projects by a few architects + designers [, coordinated with the help of Nisha Nair]
21st July, 6:30 p.m.:
Participating Artist Presentations - Amitabh Kumar, Prayas Abhinav
22nd July, 6:30 p.m.:
’Scientist’s notions of time' by Prof Sunil Mukhi from TIFR
23rd July, Architecture and Temporal Spaces, 4:00 p.m.:
Talk by Kaiwan Mehta
26th July: Open Studio, 6:30 p.m.:
Come see and discuss the work that the participating artists made in their time @ Guild. The Exhibition will be open from the 27th July to 28th August, 2011.
‘On The Sidereal’ is a project at The Guild Art Gallery in Mumbai from 18th to 26th July. The public exhibition is from the 27th July to the 28th August, 2011. The participating artists are Amitabh Kumar, Eelco Wagenaar, Kiran Subbaiah, Umesh Kumar PN, Prayas Abhinav and Tahireh Lal.
The project is curated by Prayas Abhinav from the Center for Experimental Media Arts (CEMA) at the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore.