Saturday, November 17, 2012

New Website - Work Samplings

For a more detailed overview of recent and past projects, please visit: 
This blogspot site is more of a ghost site now. However, since I dread hauntologists who love slapping on embargoes, this website will continue to exist. Wayback, sadly gives me a ‘Hrm’.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Gaussian Blur of a Carnot Cycle

The Gaussian Blur of a Carnot Cycle

spoken word performance, Chalk-board, Calcium Carbonate, Temporary Drawings

This spoken word performance was an interactive exploration in the imaginative hinterland of science. Through a series of whimsical question and answer sessions that borrowed from the pedagogic tropes of the classroom even as it blurred the boundaries between ‘proven’ fact and ‘false’ extrapolations, the performance attempted to foreground a different framework for engaging with scientific practice – a framework that is more aware of the interconnections between diverse bodies of knowledge. This was performed at Version BĂȘta, 2008, the digital biennial organised by the Centre for Contemporary Images, Geneva.

Laughing in a Sine Curve

Laughing in a Sine Curve
Medium: Single Channel video projection with sound
Duration: 4 min 52 sec
Date: 2008

The work is an attempt to physically perform/emote the Sine Curve.This trigonometric graph shaped like a continuous wavy line is elementary and also fundamental to our scientific understanding of natural processes. In expressing the curve as a sequence of continuous transformations between paroxysms of laughter and
crying the work is attempt to think critically about the limits of analytic models in comprehending the complexity of real world processes while reflecting on the increasing prevalence to use those very models.

A sine curve is the graph of the trigonometric variable sin(x). Simply put, it is a wavy line,which is highly regular and is periodically ascending and descending. The sine wave or sinusoid is a function that occurs often in mathematics, physics, signal processing, audition, electrical engineering, and many other fields.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Mahalanobis Distance between 'Pure' and 'Applied' Science

Summation [pH]n1 to [pH]n2
Dimensions: Variable
Media: Single Channel Projection, 4 Monitors, Sound
Acknowledgment: Dr. Ramakrishna Ramaswamy (JNU, New Delhi) and Dr. M. K. Panigrahi (I.I.T Kharagpur)
Year: 2007

This work is part of my ongoing project on the social history of science research in colonial India. This particular work was initiated during the KHOJ Arts and Science Residency in 2007.
Through short narrative video pieces and an animation that ‘explains’ an ironic scientific experiment around Raman Spectroscopy, this work attempted to trace the longer history of the apparent dichotomy between pure and applied science. The specific historical context it addresses centres broadly around these two markers: the foundation of one of the first independently managed science research institutes in colonial India - Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science in Calcutta in 1876 - and C.V Raman’s research on light scattering in the same institute in the early decades of the 20th century function. However, the work is not conceptualised as an authentic narration of factual, documentary material but rather a continuous play between ‘real’ history and fictional constructs.

When Dr. Mahendralal Sircar wanted to set up a pure science research institute in the 1860s in Calcutta, it met with stiff opposition from a prominent section of the Indian bourgeoisie and landed gentry. They felt that given India’s ‘backwardness’ a pure science research institute would be a waste of money. Many of them supported the Institute of Technical Training that was proposed by the India League. Dr. Sircar was eventually successful in setting up his institute and in the 1920s C.V Raman did his Nobel (1930) winning work there. The Raman Effect was seen as incontrovertible proof of the still relatively new Quantum Theory. However even then the practical implications of the work in molecular spectroscopy was immediately recognized.

And now, in our present times, there are questionable - and therefore always couched in the language of efficiency and practicality - suggestions of installing portable Raman spectrometers at airports for a quick detection of dissolved explosives in fluid substances. The ‘pure’/’applied’ or the theoretical/experimental dichotomy gets another interesting facet from Raman’s own aversion to theoretical physics that made extended use of abstract mathematical formulations. In one of his public lectures we therefore hear him speak about the physiological basis of the light quanta and how in appropriate conditions the human eye can be trained to perceive the light quanta. This embodied and ‘empirical’ introduction of the quanta is interesting, given that the early popular expositions of quantum theory generally highlighted its abstract and counter-intuitive nature.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Codework: Animated Short in two parts

Random frames from Codework, an animated short in two parts

Animated short in two parts, single channel projection
6 min, 24 seconds

This work was exhibited first in a group show, "Ghosts in the Machine and other Tales" curated by Pooja Sood at the Apeejay Media Gallery in New Delhi. In Codework I have looked at a very simple piece of PHP (a scripting language widely deployed on the internet) code that enables a user to subscribe or unsubscribe to a mailing list. Through two small narratives, I formulate speculative scenarios to attempt an expanded annotation of this code. Though the code at hand is the primary focus, I also try to tentatively reflect on some of the larger implications for our cognitive understanding of the world around us.
At a fundamental level Codework then is an invitation to engage with the technologies of software that undergrid the practices of our everyday life: sending and receiving e-mail, using search engines to ferret out information, sharing mp3 playlists, etc.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Some fables on the Unstable Oscillation of Uniformity

The clay is specially treated so that it remains pliant and responsive for over a month.

With the matrix in the car, Chitralekha drives down to all the galleries in the itinerary and displays the matrix as her only exhibit.

Diving deep down into the river, Kujjhatika ferrets out the sturdiest pillar of the bridge.

This work was shown in a solo show at Gallery SKE, Bangalore. The show comprised of a set of 6 large prints (4feet by 3feet, 4 feet by 3 feet, Ultraviolet Ink on Composite Aluminium Panels) a looped projection and a small sound piece.The following is an extract from the concept note for the show.

I am interested in exploring a particular conceptual trajectory through the narrative device of the fable. Fables interest me, as they set in motion an interesting tension between the grainy-ness of the particular and the fuzzy smear of the general. Also because of their short narrative duration, they allow for a certain compaction of ideas while simultaneously retaining a porosity of interpretation.

In this show, I have explored the conceptual trajectories of "Oscillation", "Instability", "Uniformity", and “Travel” through four short, eponymously-titled micro-narratives/fables. I am aware that each trajectory is packed with multiple, and often contradictory, layers of meaning. Within the fable/micro-narrative, I have therefore tried to delineate a particular context that throws into relief a certain set of meanings and resonances.