Jaaga (Rhenius Road, Shanthinagar) re-started after a break with a number of interesting events that, in tune with the spirit of the place, aimed at linking different categories of art and often actively interacting with the audience.
Especially successful was the performance by Sally Golding, an artist from Australia who in unconventional ways works with film (January 12) and who inaugurated The Experimenta Film Society festival.
Golding stood motionless, her eyes closed, as the steady camera image of a human skull was projected on her face. Its shape sometimes exactly overlapping her features and sometimes slightly shifting conjured the effect of blurred yet sharp duality permeating, the actual body almost turning into a sculpture and yet acquiring the character of a grave, graphic symbol of our doomed existence, the static pose and the throb of the film on it suggesting a simultaneity of living and its finality.
Slowly and then faster the projection imposed on the performer a variedly recurring sequence of facial expressions from serene ones to tragic-comical in their exaggeration which too appeared like live forms of the death mask. The impact enhanced with the images of the lungs, rib bones and ridiculously ample breasts that pulsated and flittered superimposing on the artist’s chest. With her lowered palms opening out, she seemed to absorb the disturbing shapes within.
While the continuous raw scratches of the rotating film spool was now and then layered by sounds of young voices in fear, unhealthy laughter and violence, the figure came to epitomise perhaps both victim-hood and perpetration. The severity of the sheer sensation and its immersion in the timeless human condition only heightened under the dose of the droll until one could recall the archaic dance macabre.
Some of that experience with its hypnotic qualities carried into the other two works that created an uncertain but acute, ever changing and merging palimpsest of old film footage with plain, worn out frames, barely recognisable animals, insects, people, organic or landscape motifs and eruptions. Evoking density of things, they uncomfortably oscillated between a beautiful, hazy optical dizziness and moods around calamities and wars.
The same day brought the “Finissage” of the sound installation by a young German artist, Andreas Otto which let one interact fairly on one’s own with the Bangalore traffic noises. As though precariously suspended high on top of the inventive but make-shift Jaaga structure and overseeing the street, a technological nest was made with a seat in front of a steering wheel with pedals and a number of buttons to be used by the visitor.
Activated, they amplified the real sounds picked up by microphones from speeding, stopping, honking vehicles, conversations and unspecific random clatter.
As one tried to mediate and alter the actual, which could be quite addictive, both increasing its unpredictable, tense harshness and attuning oneself to it or instinctively looking for rhythms, one gave into learning its nature. Being able to as though influence it at least for oneself and find excitement in it indeed helped to deal with the extremity and come into terms with it not without pleasure.