Hyderabad has for a couple of decades now gained the fame of being an IT hub of India, yet the ancient southern city is yet to gain name in the country’s new-media art scene. An ongoing event in the Telangana capital can change all that this year.
A fortnight-long exhibition in the Pearl City has brought out a largely hidden shine that exists with the region’s young generation when it comes to revealing their talent in the areas of technology-driven arts such as computer animation, video and digital aesthetics. No less than ten select youths have their latest work in this branch being exhibited at the exhibition being organised as part of the city’s high-variety Krishnakriti Art and Culture Festival.
Titled ‘Digital Dialects’, the 16-day show at Paryataka Bhavan has been curated by well-known Telangana artist Nirmala Biluka. “For all the new technological strides Hyderabad is making of late, new media art has yet to find the deserving push here. We thought we should alter the state,” says the artist-researcher, who has worked earlier as well for the annual extravaganza being organised by the 2003-instituted Krishnakriti Foundation.
“The artists here explore the affects of technology in art in our post-modern world,” notes Biluka, who specialises in studying about Telangana art. “Technology has permeated into every aspect of life, as new media takes over human body, mind and memory. We look at art in this point of intercession. Telangana has only very few such artists; it’s nice to showcase their works—a chunk of them from Hyderabad’s Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University.”
Meghna Shinde, for instance, portrays how commodification rules present-day human desires and how consumerism has jeopardised age-old values. Five mannequins of the female body she presents at the show throw light on the different emotions women undergo in a changed era. ‘Naari Ke Roop Anek’ has the first figure all covered in bindi—the India vermillion that young Shinde notes is considered the ‘third eye’. “The twinkle I have given to the some of the spots suggests the occasional moments of fleeting happiness that comes to her otherwise dull and threatened life.”
The artist has effectively shown other mannequins virtually draped in safety-pins and umbrellas (both “multi-purpose” objects) besides button (the loosening of which, many claim, invites danger) and glossy-design butterflies—symbolising aspired freedom.
Shinde has an installation that shows neatly-piled book-looking objects having a cellphone atop on what looks like a throne. “Let’s not forget how much the internet at fingertips has distanced us from printed knowledge,” she notes. A third work, called self-portrait and with cars teeming a flat surface, shows how traffic chaos define urban spaces with a sudden surge in the vehicles on the road.
Mohd Asgar Ali and his wife P Firdose focus on increasing Islamophobia vis-a-vis a rise in the India-Pakistan relation. A partly-lit installation of gun and barbed wire has, next to it, a semi-illuminated image of bomb and flower. “They symbolise war and peace,” adds young Ali.
Santiniketan-groomed Telugu Ravi Kumar Porika’s video work has a short gravel-laden path lit up midway with a projector-generated moving image of a person’s feet in walking action. “You notice the man also walking on bare legs, right,” he asks. “Overall, it’s the unending journey of us all—where we change our footwear constantly, but the trip seldom ends early.”
Porika’s wife Sai Sheela Kuresham takes the motif to its eventual step, showing a white-clothed human image in a coffin, with masks of various shapes and looks in sombre adornment. “In life, we boast of caste, race and nationality. Once the heart stops beating, we’re all the same,” she notes.
Heartbeat is the sound one hears on using the earphones that are part of an installation by Sai Shashank Dharna. A cardboard-box bioscope he demonstrates has, thus, “life”. “This is true of all machines; let’s not forget it,” says the tall, lanky boy.
T Raghunandan’s is a simple interactive installation that has an open bicycle chain, the turning of which will change the positions of the small metal-made human figures. “We work on somebody else’s behalf most of the time, forgetting to live our own lives,” he shrugs.
Harith Puram deals with urbanity destroying natural habitat. A mosquito bat he installed singes flying insects, which fall into the same drainage that could have been their breeding place.
Works by Subodh Sinha and D Sandeep Kumar also find good display at ‘Digital Dialects’ that is on till January 20.
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