Walking through the venues, the art’s from around the globe, some inspires, some hold you bound for minutes and hours. Yet others, you dont understand – you read the artist’s description over and over trying to understand the mind of the creator. You pass a man trying to tell his kids and wife what an installation is, and a grandmother asking why’s there a sack of pepper kept in the room. You wonder why is that foreigner carrying two DSLRs, when the lady with him hands you an EOS-something-D asking whether you could click their photo. A little girl with a fancy mobile directs her parents to pose near Quraishi’s violins. Shoulders, prams and their sleeping tots. You climb up into the attic and hear a boy tell his brother that it looked like a cow’s udder, the other argues that it was more like an alien in a film. Seemingly confused, a girl and her mother are searching the maps and you tell them they need to go down to the Calvathy jetty. Immersed in thoughts about Arafat and Palestine, you hear a deep sigh from the old, white lady behind you? Not far, a little girl wants to know why is Jesus Christ wearing a purdah? Watching two boys running beneath the flags, you are wondering whether you’ve heard of all those organisations that they said were banned. Trying not to be distracted by the loud burps blaring out from a room, you read a description wondering if it was a foreigner who had made that work with the bag of spices? Similar images had flashed across your mind too the last time you had walked the streets of Jew town. Hey, that artist’s also saying the same – could an outsider think the same way too? Somewhere, something falls in, and slowly you realise the art connecting the rest of the world to you. There’s quite much that we share with the rest of the world – at some level, our thoughts match, our histories merge, and our lives blend in. Amidst the heat and sweat, you go around the venues again, trying not to be caught randomly smiling.
I managed to go to the Biennale venues a second time, thanks to the extended date of closure. I just roamed around the Fort Kochi streets, also looking at some of the venues other than the Aspinwall. I had not actually seen the other venues in my previous visit. These are the few of which I took photographs.
Life’s a river by Ernesto Neto
This was on the attic, and placed in the centre in the room below was a sack full of spices. It is that which you see first, then you scent of spices hit you and then you see the ladder leading up to the attic where you see this work. Actually one of the aspects that I loved the most was the choice of venues – the old godowns, warehouses etc which really gave you that slight feel of nostalgia (or loss or that faint thought about the olden days or whichever way you see it) reminding you about the spice trade and the life that once flourished in the port of Muziris
Residual traces by UBIK. Read more in a feature in the New Indian Express here
I had loved this work
Kerala being the state that it is, it would be surprising if there wasn’t a group of people to criticise and question an event such as the biennalle on social(atleast it’s one of the claims ) grounds. A few years back I would have said these words with a tinge of shame and complaint, but 2 years of work in an NGO and some experiences with the fields/government schools/villages (outside Kerala), I have come to appreciate these sort of questions and criticisms especially and the life and social fabric of Kerala in general. I think it is great that there is someone raising questions(even when I think they are purely critisising for the heck of it), that there are things that we often overlook (for matter of convenience or because the ‘modern cultural norms’ have schooled us to do that way) and that they provided us opportunities to reflect upon our actions, their purposes, and effects.
There’s something about the old windows, walls and doors that I always found fascinating. It could be the colour or the texture, or just the fact that they are from a specific period and age, maybe the expanse of the world beyond is beckoning, or a thought about all the events, stories, happenings and mysteries that they would have stood mute witnesses to – I am yet to find out what exactly; I just know that I’m drawn towards them.
Subtly subtle, you feel it
– a whisper in the wind – you wonder what .
Isn’t just the distant sound of breaking waves
or a faint spicy whiff that the breeze brought you.
Snap out from a long thought – a dream lost midway –
been staring at the broken pieces of tiles, you realise.
Was there more to the ceiling than the decayed wood?
The ship’s mast fades out into
the fallen chunks of lime and cracks between the bricks.
Is it only a search for your roots?
Your home, your city, your story?
Or did the story take you beyond the seas?
As though, continents apart and countries away
a long lost trail – a similar mind, a common soul.
Unclear memories and unfinished dreams,
the only remnants ashore
left by receding waves of time.
In a forgotten sometime, in a lost somewhere,
washed away by the floods of time,
sunk deep under the piles of cultures
and pages of history,
we shared one story, and lived a life –
The text and images in this blog by junykwilfred is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.