Art emerges from this and that

Staff Reporter

Ayisha Abraham’s video installation ‘Subterranea’ is on till January 29

BANGALORE: Ayisha Abraham, independent filmmaker and artist, says that her video installation “Subterranea” could be seen as both an archive of disparate material and an artistic project. On at the Samuha Artists’ Collective at ADA Rangamandira till January 29, Ms. Abraham’s project has been devised keeping both aspects in mind through a process of research and collection, fragments of film, beta and VHS video, and finding them a place to coexist.

One of the three video installations is the archive of dancer Ram Gopal, and is a fragment of 8 mm colour film. She says the footage was handed to her after an amateur filmmaker in her neighbourhood had died at 93. “It had been put away for at least 40 years in a box in an over-crowded storeroom. It was just handed to me. It could have been in the trash can seconds later,” she says.

“In this footage, the two — then amateurs (Ram Gopal and the filmmaker) — perform their desires, their passions for reinventing a sense of self. The reinvention is crucial to the way I compile the images of Ram Gopal here in the exhibition.

She then moves from literal light space to a deep and dark space of a mine in the film installation “Through a Dark Mine” taking footage from historian Jankai Nair’s film on Kolar Gold Fields before its closure.

“Through A Dark Mine is a work in progress,” she says. “It is an attempt to see how I can reuse this footage to evoke the depths of the earth that can no longer be seen in that specific site. What can it be like to be 7,000 ft. beneath the surface of the earth extracting ore that makes gold that makes wealth; how can this footage speak to us?”

And then there is Ms. Abraham’s grandmother’s story. “Strangely her name was Thangam, which means gold. I only thought of this later, as I laid out the video “In Her House” on a table. Her story is a personal one and told from the interiors of her home and out of a small box found in her cupboard, after she died,” she says.

“These fragments could be said to all come together temporarily to reflect upon forms of being, that could be said to be very 20th century,” she says.

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