Magic Eye Manual

Priya's intermittent blog

Working Titles

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Three months at the Gasworks residency resulted in three videos, archival material, a reworking of a diary,
and an open studio in which they were viewed in combination with each other. There was also a screening of the videos separately.
Work 1: UNRULY DOCUMENTS *  [*to be activated in the present]
The material used here, explored the relationship between personal history and place, as multiple narrations of absence. The attempt was to over-narrate absence, as a device through which it might be possible to sense the movements and repetitions of history in the present. Similar in perception to déjà vu, a layer – over and beneath – like a hologram, a symbol,an after-image.
I see the work as an activation of documents from the archive that would rather resonate with the indeterminacy of the present rather than remain as evidence of the past.
This work is situated in London and Kolkata, and excavates documents and footage related to the tea-trade between England and India. It tries to find accounts, resonances and connections through transactions of tea over time, that conjure up a larger sense of lost time, absence in presence, and a desire to engage with the silences that are produced when things irreversibly change. This was the first phase of a larger film or series of videos.
This diary that my grandfather wrote when he was alive, is an obsessive recounting of the everyday. In becoming its own inventory it relinquishes control of the very world it has created. It overcomes the banal ways of relentless recall and its hold over dailiness. It ceases to be a record unto exhaustion.
I worked with a series of stills of passing shots – across a bridge, an airplane landing, a train through a snowy landscape and an entrance to a metro station. I made a looped video that produced the opposite effect that the diary did. It worked against detail, record and pause, and commented on its own disjointed sense of time. The ‘Inventory’ is a book in progress, that will draw upon the relationship between the moment of the writing of this diary, and the moment of its interpretation and transformation. I see it drawing in a range of material that will annotate the time that is present in it.
There is a line in Michel De Certeau’s ‘Walking in the City” from “The Practice of Everyday Life” that I start this video with.
The image of the city as seen from above – the theoretical city, that city of the voyeur Gods, and the one that has been imposed, almost super-imprinted onto itself – is in contact with the city that is inhabited by the city’s ‘actual practitioners’.
This video is also about the city that will never stop being made – where the making gets hidden and new structures emerge with the light of each new day.At night, the city is being made. The movements are slow, almost immobile. The only light is a glow that illuminates its depths, revealing them to be its momentary surface.
There is a sense that the people who are on this road will disappear. They remain unseen to those who order the city to be built, or to those who pass by. There is brief respite – a dream caught briefly in a passing headlight. [Or the dream is respite.] The passing becomes its surface again.
This video is located in New Delhi, as it is going through massive structural changes in the wake of the Commonwealth Games later this year.

Written by Priya Sen

June 13, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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