Different Trains 1947

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WAA are proud to announce our partnership in this brand new, ambitious project of Arts Council England‘s Reimagine India fund.

Marking 2017 as the 70th anniversary of Indian independence, artistic laboratory Metal – in partnership with Warp Records, Barbican Centre, and Boiler Room, plus Indian partners Wild City and What About Art? – will present Different Trains 1947.

Different Trains 1947 will be a collaboration between music artists ActressJack Barnett (These New Puritans), Indian music producer Sandunes, and filmmakers/artists Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, who will perform a new audiovisual composition in response to the events of 1947.

Though the performances will comprise entirely new work, as a primary source of inspiration the composers have considered the conceptual and formal framework of  Different Trains (1988) by the genre-defining minimalist composer Steve Reich.

Archival film footage from the period will weave through the performances, along with audio interviews – collected in both India and the UK – from those who lived through this dynamic period of history, as a means of distilling the larger story of Indian independence.

This past February, WAA Residency had the pleasure of hosting and facilitating music artists Actress and Jack Barnett and the Boiler Room team on their initial field research trip to Mumbai. The artists met with various musicians, ranging from traditional schools of Indian classical music to more contemporary Indian music producers and experienced first hand the hustle and bustle of the city through the Mumbai Local (Mumbai’s railway system).

Different Trains 1947 will be premiered in Liverpool as an open air concert at Metal, Edge Hill railway station – the oldest active passenger railway station in the world – on 28th September 2017.

The piece will then be presented at Barbican Hall London (1st October 2017) and Magnetic Fields Festival, within the grounds of  a 17th Century palace on the edge of the desert in Rajasthan, India (December 2017), creating a truly epic international showcase for this new commission, with Boiler Room streaming one of the events as a live global broadcast.

Different Trains 1947 is a core project of Arts Council England‘s Reimagine India fund, with British Council as Digital Partner, plus additional support from Northern Rail and Film Hub North West Central  proud to be a member of the BFI Film Audience Network.

www.DifferentTrains1947.com

To feel a thread’s emotion

Moumita Das, recipient of this year’s Inlaks Fine Art Award was in residence at WAA for the month of April.

She writes, “I construct abstract forms, ‘fragments’, to highlight the beauty found in the inherent processes of ageing and decay. The core theme of my work is colour, texture and surface, strongly influenced by nature. I like to see it as nature, but always in a different way. Information and data collection are the first stage in my work process. And after that, through permutation & combination I try to put together all the information collected and convert it into a visual format through the use of Fibre art.”

Circles and ovals feature strongly in her work as it is a form that starts and finishes at the same point. From the cycle of the moon to the shape of the egg, these forms are in nature and all around us. IMG_8734

Using her drawings as a starting point, she then experiments with different fibres to construct large scale sculptural forms.

“For me fibre art symbolises what it feels like to feel the thread’s emotion, colour and texture. In my work sometimes, I used readymade materials like metal sheets and metal pipes, juxtaposing them with softer materials like, cotton fabric, wool and jute, in order to express soft and hard feelings of mine through my work.”

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Using Mumbai as a muse, Moumita incorporated materials like fishing nets, fish hooks and wire to evoke the city’s sea-faring and harbour history.

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Interacting with Hena Kapadia and members of Carpe Arte

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Moumita with Fibre and Tapestry artist Monika Correa

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Preksha and Moumita’s visit to CONA

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Surat based artist, Preksha Tater, was an artist in residence with us for the month of April. During her time at WAA, she explored the notion of of space as both a physical and virtual concept through various disciplines like drawing, installation and sculpture.

She follows a process of trial and error in her art making, using materials in innovative and experimental ways. As she lived in her studio space, the lines between living and art making began to blur and as a result, so did her work. Inviting others to engage with her work was also an invitation into her living quarters, creating an intimate and almost private way to access art.

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Preksha often uses cloth and methods of dyeing in her work. At the end of her residency, she created a site specific installation in her studio using fabric and natural dyes. The strips of fabric that lined the room and furniture was evocative of a womb-like cityscape that was evocative of her time in Mumbai.

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Studio visit with Hena Kapadia

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Visit by members of Carpe Arte

Outre-vie / Afterlife – How Many Seas

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In March, WAA had the pleasure of producing and exhibiting FOCUS Photography Festival’s only public art show.

The exhibition, How Many Seas, consisted of eleven monumental photographs facing the seashore on Bandra’s Carter Road. These images, collected by individual artists in Korea, Greece, Quebec, Romania, Bosnia, Ontario, and Iceland, formed an open constellation that speaks to the ambiguity of memory. Using both English and Hindi captions, the text and images employed different modes of writing: from poetic reflection to transcribed conversations. Together they evoked a fragmentary, allegorical form of storytelling.

Supported by the Quebec Government, the large scale exhibition has been curated and conceptualised by Canadian contemporary artist, photographer and academic, Raymonde April.

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This was April’s fifth visit to India and second public art exhibition in Mumbai.
April comments,The Afterlife project started right after my first residency in Mumbai, in 2012-2013, I wanted to give life to stories and images through a community, sharing a conversation about time, memory, space. I remember very clearly the first time I saw the Bandra seaside at sunset, how wide the ocean was, and how many living beings, people, animals, birds, populated its space, and how I could not decide to leave, being captivated by its multiple horizons. I could not dream of such an immense and beautiful site for showing our work.”

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Afterlife or Outre-vie in French, is a research group created by April, together with ten artists and graduate students. It seeks to develop photographic and videographic practices that elucidate the ghostly afterlife of the images that comprise our present as much as our historical and artistic memory: Images do not (always) die away; they prolong the lives of foregone places and beings in their absence. The group takes name from the late Quebecois poet Marie Uguay, who writes: “Afterlife is when one is not yet in life, when one looks at it, when one seeks to enter it. One is not dead but already almost alive, almost born, being born perhaps, in this passage beyond borders and beyond time, which defines desire. Desire of the other, desire of the world […] Afterlife is like overseas or beyond the grave.” (1976).

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On March 12th, along with April, we were joined by two other Afterlife members, Velibor Bozevic and Jinyoung Kim for the opening and walk-through of the exhibition. More than 70 people walked along with us, experiencing the magic and memory of the images juxtaposed with the iconic pink and saffron colours of Mumbai’s sunset on Carter Road. We later reconvened for drinks and a screening of Afterlife video works at the WAA project space.

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Interview – Sarah Pupo

Sarah Pupo, an artist from Montreal, joined us from November 2016 to February 2017 as a Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec Residency in India. Her work integrates painting and drawing, installation and self-taught, provisional animation techniques. Her approach to making things prioritizes intuition, associative thinking and the flux of chance and control. The repetitious action of drawing (sitting down in a particular place, using a set of special objects) and the rhythmic, slowed down practice of animation open up a luminal space where times moves differently and it is possible to look and sense in a different way. Dream, emotion, memory, ghost, fantasy, all that can’t be thought through in a linear manner are addressed more easily through these rituals of making.

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We asked her a few questions about her work and her time in Mumbai: 

What does animation mean to you?

For me, animation is all about process and time. When I am deep into working on an animation time seems to stand still, the pieces of the puzzle are coming together very very slowly and decisions are being made incrementally. This makes room for intuition as I often feel like I am taking a back seat to the decision making process and the content of the piece is just unfolding, one movement triggering the next and the next. I only need to listen and follow.

Animation also does funny things with time – when you are working it stretches time out and then when the piece is being viewed it condenses time. Both of these times exist in an animation, fast and slow movement simultaneously.

Finally, I love how transformative animation is. Something that is mundane or drab looking in life becomes smoothed out, sharpened, glows or changes when it is photographed and projected; a three dimensional object becomes a creature of shadow, two shapes overlap and combine in unexpected ways, the flicker of light in a room transforms a scene or casts a strange glow. There is a really basic pleasure in giving something life and watching it move.

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Most memorable/favorite artwork from your trip?

This was a tie between 2 works I saw at the Kochi Muzeris Biennale: Prime by Camille Normant and Aphelion by Pedro Gomez-Egaña.  Normant’s work was a cluster of benches set in a room that looked out onto the sea. Deep disembodied humming filled the room and as I sat down on one of the benches I jumped to feel one of the ghost voices vibrate through my own body. Each bench had a different voice. The room was both restful and (literally) vibrating with energy.

In Aphelion, Pedro Gomez-Egaña had set up a very thoughtful shadow theatre. The audience was ushered into a small room, doors were closed and we were plunged into darkness. A tiny ball of light emerged on a glowing horizon line and a voice filled the room suggesting many overlapping narratives/histories of a ship at sea. It was poetic and played with how many stories one could project on such a simple image. At the end the doors burst open, light poured in from outside and the mechanism was revealed. I liked both the celebration and unraveling of this simple magic.

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Do you have a dream project? 

I have lots of dream projects! Two of which I started on while I was in India- the first is to make an artist book of my watercolours and the second is to animate a poem, Kok, by my friend Kristin Eiriksdottir. I guess what these both have in common is the desire to combine text and image. Text is an element that I have wanted to introduce in my work for a long time but have not figured out how to negotiate it yet. To be continued…

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What have some of the major influences of this trip been for you? 

This trip has influenced me in many ways, a lot of which will emerge slowly in my work as I process it over the next months (and years, I’m sure).

Something that left a big impression was the crumbling and regeneration of things. How as one wall was falling another was being built. How things were decaying but plant life was taking over. How one layer after another was peeling from a painted wall to reveal the layers underneath and underneath. I love how many traces of the past come up to the surface in Bombay. How fragments of past lives and architectures and new industry/structures and ways are living side by side all the time.

The trash and discarded objects that were around also made an impression on me – from man made trash and wrappers to fallen palm leaves and organic detritus in the streets. I loved how much stuff was just lying around everywhere – little coloured bits and weird shapes in the dust. I started making objects for the first time because of this, small painted paper sculptures.

And obviously (I know its cliché to say but) colour was a big one. The browns and yellows of buildings and dust punctuated by the colour of clothing hanging in every nook and cranny, on people, in wedding and Christmas decorations, painted on temples. I love that the go-to for everything seems to be bright colour rather than neutrals and the combinations of colour and pattern clash are incredible.

A quick list of other influences: textiles and the textile markets, block printing, small alters and devotionals everywhere, the simultaneous new growth/freshness and decay, the fast/slow pace of everything in the city, people’s resourcefulness and ability to make do and improvise provisionally, the crush of sound, smell and activity that constantly overwhelmed my senses.

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Tamaris Borrelly

Artist Tamaris Borrelly weaves together two different worlds of existence, life that is fictional and non fictional, that which she experiences, sees, touches and studies in nature. Her work is a coming together of two different mediums, watercolor drawings and 2D animation in the form of a video. The combination of these two medium helps her play and experiment with her themes. Natural Forms and landscapes are common threads in her drawings and animation that depicts life. She experimented with terracotta as a way to mold forms from her drawing into 3 dimensional works.

During her time in India Tamaris travelled to islands in the Andaman. The discovery of the underworld life and the impact it had on her inspired her to work on independent drawings along with series of drawings. The series of drawings were on different paper, which enhanced the narrative further. One of the series was on different under sea creatures for which she used black thin Japanese paper.

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The second series of drawings was on the idea of the deformation of a community of different living forms on a tanned blue shading off paper. The blue is a representation of the cosmos or the sea.

In these six drawings the bodies, animals or plant life disappear slowly from the left to the right, to reach the stage of abstract forms.

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The last drawing series was an exploration map, which were created on various sized paper.

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Alongside these explorations with water colour drawings and animation, Tamaris spent a few days at Rashi Jain’s pottery studio situated in Mankhurd Mumbai, learning the properties of terracotta as a natural material

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Studio Karva – Mankhurd

 

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Studio Karva – Mankhurd

The 2-month residency culminated at a lovely gathering for an open studio hosted at Coral Studio Bandra. The evening at Coral Studio was to commemorate the 2-month long residency of artists in residence, Tamaris Borrelly, and Mahana Delacour, Mumbai based artist Shambhavi Bhat & guest performer Rati Tripathi presented their recent work as well.

An interesting evening of Performances, Video & Installation followed, with some of their visual artworks displayed on the walls at Coral studio. Here are a few pictures of the Open studio.

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Video screening of ‘Orphism’ at Coral Studio- Bandra