“It seems ironic that we celebrate the exaggerated and the unreal – gaudy expressions of love and lust in Bollywood films – but restrict and ban the ordinary – a simple kiss and holding of hands. It seems especially ironic considering that we are nearing to becoming the most populous country in the world – I do know this is an oft-used argument. But someone is having sex, and it seems that kissing at least is one of the nicer parts of the act. Is the lack of expression of these feelings in public another way to exert some sort of a hegemony – over people, over women, over our bodies – so the idea of choice is taken away from us?”
These are some of the questions Aishwarya Arumbakkam, our current artist in residence began asking. And this led her to her current project. Arumbakkam is a filmmaker and photographer based in Mumbai, India. She studied Film & Video Communication at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad with an exchange programme at École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.
Her artistic practice uses the medium of film, photography and performance to create personalized mythologies that puncture established social narratives in an attempt to sustain the voice of individuality and plurality in a highly homogenized society.
Her methodology and process streams from her filmic documentary practice, which engages with ideas of performance and presentation involving real people. Bringing forth an additional dialogue, discussion and collaboration in her art practice. As a photographer she still chooses to shoot with an analog camera and believes this is what has trained her eye to pick and choose her subjects. The sense of tactility in this form of shooting, comes from a presence of a physical negative, which is absent in the digital form. “I could only shoot 36 images in every roll and I used to be very careful about what I shot and I still am. Then there is the fact that I just shoot- without reviewing instantly. I just go with my gut and more often than not it really works for me.” There is an element of chance brings about a great sense of excitement to the process of analog shooting. She is beginning to shoot with a digital camera and sees it to bring about new possibilities in the process of shooting.
As part of her residency with WhatAboutArt, Aishwarya is working on a public intervention project which is in progress, the details of which will be published soon.