Archive

London

Ever since I saw the documentary, The Artist is Present, I have been a fan of her work. Maybe not in the exact form but the essence of it, intrigues me. Since the film, a phrase that she’d said had remained with me “it is the public who complete the piece.” Being an interaction designer myself, the words rang in my head. Humans are key and yes, art could be inclusive instead of being the exclusive kind that only a few get. So when came the newsletter announcing her 512 Hours at the Serpentine, all else had to wait while I scrambled my way to be of the fortunate few (160 to be exact) who could go “empty” to her.

While I must say the experience wasn’t as exciting as I had imagined it to be, 512 Hours is undoubtedly less sensational than The Artist is Present. Divided into three chambers, it felt a bit like participatory meditation. Being an Indian myself, the concept of closing one’s eyes, blocking the external world out while working on one’s senses isn’t a new idea. Given that I was subjected to it public unsettled me. Is that what performance art is about? Being touched even in passing by Marina Abramovíc I am forced to acknowledge the power of someone who has spent her entire life in performance art.
It is a show I would highly recommend to anyone who’s up for not-the-conventional gallery visit.

 

Advertisements

It’s been a while since I last hosted an exhibition of my work. The last one being when I was still in my graduate school (7 years ago). The thrill of exhibiting, the anticipation of how it’s going to be received and the last stretch when everything that could ever go wrong WILL go wrong. But I am happy to report, this Work in Progress Show was quite the runaway hit! Ups to everyone who came 😀

 

Love. xx

Aptly titled, Alpha Ville Exchange was an interesting platform to experience how different designers tackle the idea of interaction. Of using technology without letting it overwhelm you.
Being a newbie in the interaction design sphere, this was quite an eye opening series of talks about the scope of sphere rather than its boundaries. Many a thoughts passed through my brain but here are a few quotes and projects that I fancied.

Alpha ville exchange

At the very beginning, Eno Henze spoke about how not to let technology dictate your design but use it as a tool of expression. I loved his idea of producing generative artwork in a physical form,
re-incorporate it in the realm of human reality. It exists not only in the computer as a file but as something you own.
“You possess the art again.”

Genius! I think every one looks for a bit of themselves in the projects that they take on.

Sougwen Chung’s

<me> ? </me>

“My drawings are like a map. A map of who I am … where I am going.” ~ Shantell Martin.
“Everything is a mistake. So learn to enjoy them.” As much as I loved her work for the organic quality of it, the lack of interactivity makes it more a piece of art, of self expression than design. The problem with self expression is that it is biased and subjective and when exposed for public viewing, more often than not, it is not collectively agreed upon. But I guess she stands correct on ” … you cannot make everyone happy!”

The real highlight of the evening were the numerous data visualization projects. Data visualization is essentially simplifying data generated by humans, compiled by technology. Some of the simplifications are a result of complex mathematical algorithms. I find this blurred line between simplicity and complexity very interesting. Data Visualization vs. Data Illustration. Another major question that came up was the honesty in data representation when aesthetics is the prime focus. How much of the final product is true to the initial quantum provided?

My favorite piece of text from the whole day came from the comic relief act, Helicar + Lewis. The showcase of their playful interactions. Users as participants of a piece.

“The real world is a killer app.
That’s where we like to do our interactions.”

This was also my first time in East London so goes without saying that I was rather taken by the street art and graffiti of the space. 

#Win Day!
x

 

The Wallace collection recently hosted an exclusive Student’s night, an after hours access to the galleries with guided tours and activities. Situated at Manchester Square, the beautiful bungalow [manor’s more the word] houses the most regal rooms I’ve ever seen!

Each room in the color of a royal shade gilded with gold. Later, it was revealed that each of the rooms had been covered in silk manufactured from Paris and not wallpaper, as many of us had expected.
The guided tour was actually quite engaging.
A painting is just a painting on the wall until you know the story behind it.
The lady who took us around narrated the beautiful stories behind each object. Too bad it lasted only 20 mins. I was hoping she’d go on forever.
Lady Pompadour was a vision herself, gliding around the manor in her French finery answering questions. Venetian mask making workshop was almost over by the time I reached it. Chocolate animation was rather interesting but a lot to take in, in two hours.

A glass of wine, fine company, breathtaking art in the backdrop of romantic London weather… an evening well spent!
[also included aimless wandering resulting in 2 extra pounds on my way home]

London has it’s fair population of Indians. So it didn’t come as a surprise when the Mayor of London decided to celebrate Diwali at London’s famous Trafalgar Square. In a sea of grey, more than 30,000 people braved the chilly and extremely windy day in London to witness a colorful extravaganza.

Headlined by Anoushka Shankar and a spellbinding performance by her, the programme also included a medley of traditional Indian dances and Bollywood numbers followed by a traditional aarti to wrap up the night.

Anoushka Shankar

traditional-indian-dance

Bollywood

Being away from home is hard enough, and to be away while everyone back home is celebrating the biggest festival in your faith … that’s something else!

Empowered by a London tube map and the findings from Google search, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, I braved the weather in search of — Durga Puja. As luck would have it, I found one just a few minutes walk from King’s Cross Station.  The London Durga Puja Committee at Camden Centre is full of hearty Bengalis who welcome you with open arms and a good laugh.

Durga Puja is the celebration of Good over Evil. Legend has it, when the Good (Gods) were attacked by the Evil (Asuras), all the Gods got together and created the mighty Goddess Durga and empowered her with unique powers (and weapons) from each one of them. The Goddess fought brave against all the Evil (Asuras) and killed the Evil king, Mahisasur who disguised himself in the form of a buffalo. Every year she descends to the Earth to visit her worshipers with her children, Goddess Laxmi (Goddess of wealth), Goddess Saraswati (Goddess of literature and music), Lord Ganesha (God of luck and prosperity) and Lord Kartikeyan (God of warfare). The five day celebrations are marked by daily pujas, offerings and much fanfare in the East India state of Bengal.

I cannot even begin  to tell you how happy I was to have found myself amidst the familiar … the language, the colors, the faces, the jewelry, the bindis, the costumes … I was HOME.

Durga thakur
What is a Durga Puja without the quintessential ‘bhog’?! Just a few steps away from the main puja center laid a buffet of Kosha Mangsho (lamb curry), Chicken Biriyani (spiced rice), Daal (lentil soup), Phoolkopir tarkari (cauliflower curry), Aloo Kabuli Chana (masala chick-pea), Mango Chutney, Pickles and Rasgullas!!!
Bengali food HEAVEN! 😀

bhog
As they say in Bengali “Ashche bochor abaar hobe” (… till next year)