Even machines have a story to tell

not junk

An old videocassette recorder (VCR), dictaphone or video projector or a DAT recorder might catch the attention of a scrap dealer in the present times but he dare not eye these exhibited as part of the exhibition – ‘25 years of Audiovisual Journey: Recalling through Equipment and Documentation’.

Encapsulating the entire journey of Indira Gandhi National Centre of Arts, the exhibition creates a mirage of being stuffed in the media centre of the organisation. Though it is difficult to realise where it begins and ends, its curator Gautam Chatterjee comprehends it for Metrolife.

“Nobody knows about the huge equipments kept in our room. It is these machines which have helped in documenting various traditions of our country. Years later people appreciate the work but forget the machines which produced them. This exhibition is like a thanksgiving to these machines,” says Gautam Chatterjee standing in a room full of audio-visual equipments.

Starting from VHS cassettes, VHS editing machines and VHS player to the Projection System, dictaphones, microphones and a small studio comprising cameras and telepointer, the exhibition has it almost everything which enabled technicians to document the exponents of classical music, dance and interview eminent personalities. An unusual among these is the Dictaphone which was created with a foot control unit to avoid disturbing the notes of a transcriber.

There is also a huge display of documented DVDs of documentaries shot on subjects ranging from Rock Art to the oral tradition of Vedas and Ramlila which have been recognised by UNESCO as Intangible Heritage of India.

Apart from the list of 97 published DVDs, the exhibition displays a rare collection of IGNCA’s documentation which has become a hit among visitors who enjoy listening to performances of exponents like Girija Devi and interviews of Bhishma Sahni. “This collection is available to scholars who want to research on various subjects,” informs Gautam as he looks forward to the film screening and workshop for students of various mass communication colleges.

“We are trying to help them get accustomed to documentary-making since their work will add to our collection,” he sums up as one looks back atthe treasure trove of our cultural documentation enclosed within the walls of IGNCA.

The exhibition is on display at Media Centre, IGNCA till December 20.

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