Saturday, February 14, 2015

Video Journeys and more

A blank slate, and a medium to fill it up. The slate, your senses! The medium, a video-installation. The experience you ask? Well, the sound, the visuals, the message, and most of all, the amalgamation of these. In Peregrination, an on-going exhibition, I learnt even more than I set out to do, when I put a video installation also named “Peregrination” out there.
Nah nah, I’m not going to rave and rant on the thought process from where this installation has taken birth, the idea behind it or the execution. In fact I’m here to discuss very basics, the idea of a video installation. Once again I’m not going into the history of video installation...for that I am adding a link below. Feel free to read it if you want to know more. Wikipedia makes all us knowledgeable as does Google.
However a quick starter course in video installation is that a short movie, is placed, in an enclosed dark space. It may or may not have an audio along with it. The entire reason for presenting it is, “expression”. Like any other form of installation art, there is no sales motive to it. This on its own can perplex some. As does the transient nature of an” installation”.
My own urge to do a video installation dates back a few years ago. I have been waiting for the right exhibition and the right collection to do so. Having collected plenty of images to morph and play around and create a video and along with acquiring the right sounds to go along with it ....I was all set. As we were on a budget, my bedroom television and DVD player and speakers, became the main installation medium.
Two days prior to exhibition we started to install our work in the gallery and found a lovely space for the Video Installation. Peregrination the video installation was all ready for viewing on the 5th of February 2015. Now all that was left was to record reactions. For it is through reactions that we learn, and also get fodder for our next exhibition.
In short it was interesting. The first few who came for the exhibition on the opening night, they actually stopped by and had their own interesting interpretations and while I told them a lot about process and timing of the creation, I did not disclose my interpretation. The crowd grew through the evening and the video installation was often not noticed. When asked later, I was amused by the reactions. “What, that T.V. was a part of the exhibition?” said some, while some others remarked, “I thought it was an instructional video!” Some others were thoroughly confused and thought it best not to talk about it. A few did not “notice” the video. Quite amused by these responses, I thought I must put my own experience out here. So here I am earnestly trying to tell you what I learnt.
There is a certain educated audience one desires to have for an art show. However, desire vs. reality, dream vs. the waking state, the virtual, as opposed to the real. These paradoxes exist and one may not attain that audience. Yet we find first time exhibition visitors are like a sponge they may be able to soak most of the experiences without feeling inhibited. In fact it feels nice to bring over this first time viewer, of art in a public space. There is a keen sense of achievement there to have done something that no one else had prior to this. Has a Columbus like effect. Or like our recently oft used line, “to go where no man has gone before”.....just to digress makes u wonder, the woman tends to go everywhere without needing an invitation is it? This breaking of the hymen of the virginal art browser has a whole different rush to it.
Now coming back to the topic of discussion, namely, installation, a video one at that. So as an artist, it is also my role, to educate the viewer. Not just through experience but through exposure. I also learnt that the next time putting up in big bold letters, “VIDEO INSTALLATION” or something to that effect may have them notice it as something other than an instructional video. Or even create a separate dark room for viewing. That again requires a generous budget or a sponsor. Hence the other thing one can do is let the viewer come and take what he/she wants to. Some will leave learning more about art, some more about themselves, some about humanity and yet others richer having added contacts to their social list. Ultimately what I learnt mostly is to smile. The conception and birthing has happened. The Child now is going to lead its own life and you as the parent have given it the guidelines but it will have to create its own identity and space. It’s time for me to now find a sponsor for the next seed sowing, and then await the germination process. This one, I suspect, will be a long pregnant pause.