Art & Entertainment

In Between States Of Being

Artist and curator Sudarshan Shetty introduces his curation 'Who is Asleep Who is Awake' that was on display at the Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa last year.

The Fourth State: Sudarshan Shetty standing in front of Sleepers, a photograph by Dhruv Malhotra at the Serendipity Arts Festival 2022, Goa

Who is Asleep Who is Awake Is an exploration into the liminal spaces between wakefulness and dreaming—between perceptions of fact and fiction and individual representations of both.

What is the relationship between fiction and imagination?

What are we left with in an experience of fiction? Does it allow for us, an interpretative space for imagination? Can it evoke a space for each individual to make meanings based upon their own experiences of life?

This may take us to the idea of the location of ‘Truth’ as a signifier for a definition of the self.

Are there multiple paths to truth?

Is ‘Truth’ a singular phenomenon?

According to some eastern philosophical perceptions, the idea of ‘self’ is variously described as multiple and is eminently transformative in nature. That it has the power to transform not only one’s own but also one’s perception of the world, as it were, outside the perceived realm of one’s self. These distinctions between an individual’s outward knowledge of the world and inner and the subtler world of experience, also perhaps partially based on subjective memory, seem to merge, to invariably arrive at the question: what is real and what is not?

What is the role and function of narrative representation that may refer to dream states as recalled in waking life?

The four states of consciousness according to the Mandukya Upanishad:

Wakefulness, Sleep, Dream State and Turiya.

Turiya simply means fourth. Variously interpreted as a state of watchfulness that pervades all the first three states of consciousness and thus is pure and non-dual in nature.

Who is the one within each of us that is watching from this decisive distance?

Who is asleep? Who is awake?

In the next few pages, we feature films and artworks by Jafar Panahi, Abir Karmakar, Dania Bdier, Kavich Neang and Tanushree Das who were part of Sudarshan Shetty’s curation, Who is Asleep Who is Awake

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