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Versus

Diploma Project Documentation

Devashish Guruji Visual Communication Design


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An artist’s job is not to make visual but to make visible.


Contents


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Foreword

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Project Proposal

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Opening up the Project

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Where is the Future now? The Society Of the Spectacle Compilation Free writing What is the Box?

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Jumping In

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About Boxes Image and Text Feedback

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Revealing Boxes

84 86 90

What am I missing? Understanding “Context” On Conformity

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Concept Sketches

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Making Scripting About the Installation Fiming Hardware Software Sync Making the Block Submission

Concept Note


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Foreword


In my final year at the Srishti School of Art Design and Technology I opted for a course in understanding and reading about Science Fiction. In this course we opened ourselves up to various works of fiction, movements, thinkers and artworks to help us understand why people began to think about the future and with time how this form of story telling transcended into pop culture. From the point of view of an illustrator I was taken in by the construction of landscapes within these narratives. In essence, science fiction became a means of building exaggerated scenarios based on trends from the present. The project I worked on for the course was based on constructing one such environment. I referred to ‘swarm theory’ and ‘bionics’ as a basic field of science to project and develop into a fictional space which i later termed as the Box. The project aimed at exploring the ideas and role of science fiction as a tool to construct scenarios that were a social critique on the way our lives unfold in relation to Technology and Nature. The scenario was constructed around two characters, namely Man and Box and their relation to one another. Box was presented as an (automotive, automated) force that is triggered by man who later results as the sole driver of Man.

It began as an illustration project where I created a generic narrative, for my reference around which I based my artworks. The artworks when viewed in series were to build the nature of that scenario to the viewer. However I was not satisfied with the nature of these illustrations and felt that there could be more play in the way the images were displayed.


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I moved over to experimenting with short animated loops wherein the images could be allowed to reveal their meaning to a viewer. What was the relationship between Man and the Box? In a world of fast developing technology, where one can’t decide whether a phone is a camera ore a compass or a gardening tool one begins to question the origin of objects, products that feed and manipulate everyday routines, lifestyles that of basic human living. Are we creating a near artificial army of products that is making life so easy that it stunts the basic natural evolutionary processes of man? What is the basic need for development? What is the basic need for consumption? What drives us, as individuals? These were the questions I wished to use to direct the viewer through the scenario. They were open questions. Questions i needed to streamline into a factional narrative that was relevant and that resonated with our everyday lives, our routines, our goals, our aspirations and talk about the loss of simplicity in the face of it. On the other hand juxtapose this idea to a fictionalised character, namely “Box� and its evolutionary process alongside us and how he / it may attain a certain spiritual side that we seemed to have nearly lost. I ended that project with a rough storyboard that i was willing to tap into later. A little later i completed two courses, one where we constructed sequential visual narratives and another course that dealt with creating products with newer


media and Do It Yourself technologies. In the first i attempted at constructing a non linear narrative, a story that unfolded through a series of arbitrary objects that lent themselves to the main character as he used them. It reminded me of an interface in writing at some level as it jumped from object to object giving more depth to the character as one read on. The second course was about creating socially relevant object to dispense and visualise data concerning air pollution. As visual communicators, we opened ourselves up to a whole new medium, that of electronics and programming and explored all that we could do to enrich all the content we generated. I realised later, when the time came to write my proposal, the introduction to technology for me had opened up possibilities of being able to further explore illustration and storytelling and I was keen once more to pick up the narrative that i had left it, as I called it then, a work in progress back in my course in Science Fiction.

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Project Proposal


Opening Statement

Background

This project aims at exploring the ideas and role of science fiction and myth as an analogical tool to construct scenarios that are a social critique on the way our lives unfold in relation toTechnology and Nature. In a situation that almost says, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?”

Today, in a world of fast developing technology, where one can’t decide whether a phone is a camera, a compass or a gardening tool one begins to question the origin of objects, products, tools that feed and manipulate everyday routines, lifestyles that of basic human living.

The scenario comprises of two characters, namely Man and “Box” and their relation to one another. Box is presented as an (automotive, automated) force that is triggered by man, who later results as the sole driver of Man. Using basic level interaction and new media, my idea is to illustrate and install a space for the viewer within a “planned” scenario where a dialogue is set up between the viewer and an artefact. A fore written scenario is presented through a non linear fashion using triggers and images that would allow the viewer to explore the space.

Are we creating a near artificial army of products that is making life so easy that it stunts the basic natural evolutionary processes of man? What is the basic need for development? What is the basic need for consumption? What drives competition? And how will all this play out? More importantly, what drives us, as individuals? These are questions I wish to use to direct the viewer through the scenario. As an illustrator, I would like to use image building to create a space and an image that is relevant and that resonates with our everyday lives, our routines, our goals, our aspirations and talk about the loss of simplicity in the face of it. On the other hand juxtapose this idea to a fictionalised character, namely “Box” and its evolutionary process alongside us and how he/it may attain a certain spiritual side that we have nearly lost.

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Questions

Inquiry

How does one create relevant fiction? What is the need to create fiction? Why did man create myths?

1. Mythology and Fiction A brief insight into image and symbolism within myths Surrealism

Understanding the basis of science fiction and values and beliefs attached to it.

2. Simplification of form, of language, and Abstraction

What is the importance of spirituality? Do I need to address the lack of it today in context to what you live for? What do you aspire to be? what are your aspirations today?

3. Trends in science. Bionics and Biomimicry Swarm theory / hive minds

How can I explore, under this overarching theme, simplicity as an idea, a way of life and as form? What is the current trend within visual and technological culture today? What is the role of these in our environment? What roles do abstraction and simplicity play in the process of their development? What are the theories within past movements that speak of future thought and myth making?

4. Conformity and Institutions Belief structures Norms and Institutions Family : nuclear families, fragmented settlements Social divides Religion 5. Personal identity Projected identity Social networking clusters 6.Editorial illustration Working with text and image. How illustration can enrich textual experience. Playing with metaphors


Approach and Process

Material and Resources

To create solid touch points (streamline) that articulate the base of the scenario.

For research: A Short History of Myth – Karen Armstrong Ars Electronica

Based on the above, ideate in the form of concept sketches to help me visualise and become familiar with the translation of form from text to visual and then experience. Explore narrative constructs. Play with the dissemination of the content. Sequence Experimentation with: Illustration Simplistic Video Animated loops Basic technology Sound

Research on : Futurism the Situationists, Fluxus Surrealism Equipment: Laptop, Micro computer, Sensors, Speakers, Projector, Screens, printer, scanner and Various art materials Learning Outcomes To be able to identify and filter evolving data. To explore mediums and technology and make appropriate choices. To create effective visual forms, enhance communication To experiment with a series of images and triggers that create a visual scenario under the realm of illustration. To experiment with non linear narrative construction.

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Versus

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Preliminary narrative


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Box fell from the sky. Back then box didn’t look like a box. It was rusted and crude. It didn’t know what it was meant to do. Box was new when it met man. Man looked curious. Box looked curious. Man knew what to do with box hence box knew what box had to do and they both began working. Box was bigger than man. Heavier, stronger so man told box what to do and box would comply. Man told box what to do and box would comply. Man told box what to do and box would comply. Care Box knew what to do. Man had told it a long time ago. Box had learned a lot from man. It had learned about creation / care / destruction. Big box made small box. Small box made big box. Big box made bigger box. Small box made smaller box. Bigger box made even bigger box and the small box made even smaller box. Box after box. Box had become good at what it did. Box had become efficient and sharp. It looked better as well. Man liked box too. He liked what he had taught it. Box was easy to make / store / stack / duplicate / disguise / draw / modify. Box could do all these things and man? Man had made Box. Man had taught Box. Man had found Box. Man needed box. Box needed Man. Destruction Need / Need. Man / Box Box / Man It / He He / He Box was everywhere and Man realized that he was inside Box. Box didn’t know whether that was good or bad but Man? Man had made box. Man had taught box. Man had found Box. Box was confused. Box was limited. Man was not. Time had taught box of the ways of man. Box knew of people, relationships and care and it knew of Man. It knew how families worked. Box had provided home. Sanctuary. Didn’t Man need that as well? Box had understood most things now. It was the facilitator of most things and Man? Not any more. Who was box and who was man? Box remembered the day Man first met it.


You can store things in boxes


You can stack up boxes


Boxes are easy to make and duplicate


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Opening up the Project Review 1 Avy, Ramesh, Yashas


I explain my idea to my panel and we get into our first conversation : 1. We do not know yet what will happen between the two actors in your narrative - human / artificial. It is yet to unfold. 2. Devashish said he has been going into mythology and thinking why he would consider using that as a tool. 3. You want to get into grammar and semiotics 4. Don’t get too ambitious. The post-modern is that everything is fictional science is also fictional - and you can take the tack if necessary. 5. The more ambiguous, the better your form might be. 6. What research have you done in sci-fi? The future is a critique of the present. Sci fi can be used as social critique. 8. Avy pointed out that mythemes cannot be easily discarded. Would a narrative be effective if the mythemes are discarded or subverted? 9. References: Scientology he has an artefact which is a box. What about it? 10.What if the human is inside the box - the box is mass media / consumerism? 11.References: Jean Baudrillard - the Simulacrum - the Schizo. 12. Look at various layers - look at social and political - the metaphysical may be too complex. 13. What about looking at box structures, systems, complexes 14. See box as constructs/habitats and see what happens. 15. Add a little madness, humor, hilarity to the narrative? 16. Tell us what is THE BOX. You are working in an interesting conceptual space. Document the future through this. The future is now. Don’t legitimise your process.

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Where is the Future now?


“Show us some boxes and we will see how they can become metaphorical, critical, speculative. Don’t legitimise your process - take a general approach to then narrow down.”

Trendspotting I’ve been walking around the city trying to identify these “boxes” or gather a visual pool of “trends” or artefacts that speak of any kind of future thought or point toward that developing lifestyle. Our environment is in constant conversation with us. These conversations feeding probably what most people want or are in agreement with. They are generated by us for us.  Most visual material out there speaks of the present moving toward the future. Images very rarely reflect the past and those that do are more concerned with preservation of some loss, maybe historical or cultural. The newer images constructed, however, are dynamic. Most visual material within advertising tends to look like something out of a science fiction story. That probably is what i began picking up on. The most obvious visual and strategic pool seemed to be coming from the most competitive markets. The more relevant to you, the more competitive, the more dynamic. What happens when these images are placed and organised into one coherent form.  How could it change the context that these are viewed in. Can these physical boxes illustrate individual “landscapes”?

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Referencing

The Society of the Spectacle Guy Dabord


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Automation, which is both the most advanced sector of modern industry and the epitome of its practice, obliges the commodity system to resolve the following contradiction: The technological developments that objectively tend to eliminate work must at the same time preserve labor as a commodity, because labor is the only creator of commodities.


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At this point the humanism of the commodity takes charge of the worker’s “leisure and humanity” simply because political economy now can and must dominate those spheres as political economy. The “perfected denial of man” has thus taken charge of all human existence..


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The spectacle is the stage at which the commodity has succeeded in totally colonizing social life. Commodification is not only visible, we no longer see anything else; the world we see is the world of the commodity.


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Behind the glitter of spectacular distractions, a tendency toward banalization dominates modern society the world over, even where the more advanced forms of commodity consumption have seemingly multiplied the variety of roles and objects to choose from. The vestiges of religion and of the family (the latter is still the primary mechanism for transferring class power from one generation to the next), along with the vestiges of moral repression imposed by those two institutions, can be blended with ostentatious pretensions of worldly gratification precisely because life in this particular world remains repressive and offers nothing but pseudogratifications.


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Exaples of Compilation The Inside

The Outside

Gated Communities to create another customized space for individuals. To create comfort and security from what is outside. To Escape. “the Dream Home”. “The Truman Show”

Non formal communities are fast growing and fast formalising within themselves.

Security at apartment blocks and colonies as a measure to ensure the smooth running of what goes on within. To eradicate bad elements. Stricter measures, from id proof to frisking.

People form systems and businesses for their livelihood which are efficient in their disorder.


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Speed

The New

Mobile applications, your personalised application to quit smoking.. Your personalised cab, it addresses you, knows you when you call it. GSM services track you, interact with your movement constantly updating schemes and prices.

Emphasising the new every second. Keeping up to date with technology, with people, schemes products and trashing the old. Information is outdated every second.


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Listing Observations A few observation that I picked out and exaggerated. -Religious symbols and temples as institutions and strongholds protecting culture, traditions, lifestyle and beliefs -Wall Murals as a means of urban identity. In a gray landscape, the need to remind people of authentic culture and identity. Bringing the lost back in. I don’t know whether this is a good way of doing it. -Authorised Public transport as a paid public service to make commuting more efficient. Competitions between rickshaw drivers and new private taxi’s against the backdrop of the metros and rising oil prices. Meru Cabs “rely on us”.


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-Mobile communication and various competing and developing schemes created to make communication easier, faster, cheaper or just more exciting, Uninor (what is their strategy?) -Social Networking Sites to keep in touch, making “the world a smaller place to live in” or a “global village”, being able to bring in people into your lives, or being able to reach out through expression. -Personal identity through various social media as a means of expression, to reach out or to create independent platforms or reinvent yourself. Virtually. -Block housing as a form. To optimize on space and provide shelter. Also identity less.  -Gated Communities to create another

customized space for individuals. To create comfort and security from what is outside. To Escape. “the Dream Home”. “The Truman Show” -The television as an accessible dynamic source of information and the way it does it. News channels to soap operas, lifestyle shows follow the same format and Presentation. -Advertising as broadcast and non inclusive. Very one sided sermonizing. Take it or leave it. Competitive. Unless there isnt a depreciation in their sales they see no reason to change the format. -Security at apartment blocks and colonies as a measure to ensure the smooth running of what goes on within. To eradicate bad elements. Stricter measures, from id proof to frisking.


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How can my form and the images I am collecting form scenatios in themselves?


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Could these forms lend toward the artworks i am finally going to create?


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Free Writing and Scenarios An excercise in writing freely. Working with a list of ideas and points in my mind and a stopwatch. The first step in interpeting the collected content into fictional narratives.


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The Box Everything had closed in on itself. Itself. Meaning IT knew what it was. And to identify what it was could mean it had a consciousness. Otherwise how would it it know what it could absorb and let live within it. These were bubbles, created createdddddddddddddddddddddddd, almost self constructed one minded organisims combined to function through a single mind. Everything that went on within the bubbles ran smoothly, people woke up, brushed their teeth, went to work, came back, cooked a meal and slept, but through every activity constantly communicated subconsiously to the other developing bubbles around them. The world was like a hive with every hexagon adjacent to the next in constant communication with the other and the bees? The bees were us but only unlike bees we werent in control.. then that wouldnt make us bees would it????? what would we be then within these combs?????????? Lets not talk bees but people... How did these people live within????? they would eat sleep wake and in between carry forward an zctivity that they had convinced themselves they had to do.... but then was it absolutely necessary to do that and if you had to then what was it that decided that you must do what you do...? What was it within these bubbles that subconciously manipulated people to think the way they did? These many bubbles all had their properties and determined the way their mionions functioned within them. It was a time of determined society where within a colony one could adhere to various or allocated functions or “religions”.. The way of the box. Where everyone had to adhere to a belief system that defined them. everyone functioned as per their religion and werent allowed more than a cluster of 3 boxes, more like a combination, mix and match ur own religions.. convenience, or jus a portrayal of liberalisation within the structure? It was society of comfort. 73.9 of the worlds population was obese. People had amazing Iq’s bu for the time it was considered average. Why? The systems were so efficient that first instinct defined every action. Inetrfaces would adapt according to peoples instinct or preliminary response. Brain function wasnt required for most activity. Cars, house systems, everything automated was flushed into the landscape as though it didnt exist. If people noticed a government employee, artefact or application/appliance meant that they werent getting their monies worth and could file lawsuit for harrassment. Billboards and advertisments were people, spoke as regular people and were your friends... They were part of various social networks. Time up


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The Box 2 The box is not a living object. Then why does it appear to live? Why does it eat, breathe and sleep along with the rest of us. Who are we? Man. And Box? what does it know of our ways? what has it learnt? What have we taught it? Man met box a long time ago. He nurtured it and helped it stand up. He taught it of his ways and how it could play along to fit into the environment. Box was good at what he did. He sat at length and observed man. He learned of family and friends, of sustainance and care. Of good and evil. But knowing didnt affect box for box could only do what man told it. Was box a direct reflection of man? Man told box what to do and box would comply. man told box what to do and box would comply. man told box what to do and box would comply. Box was good at what it did and there came a point where man no loner told box what to do and box carried on. Slipping away slipping away slipping away into a world where we control nothing and comfort is prized. Ease and efficinecy is the key to living. Minimised brain function to allow for comfort. No stress results in the rusting of our reflexes, which inadvertently affects all neuro activity. As everything gets efficient people become inefficient and. Bionics and mimicry have taken over most intelligence systems and people have doubled up as machines where they know not what they do and what they live for. Over the ages existing social norms have been revised and ingrained into stone and recorded into books to no further be questioned. There is way of doing things and that is how people would do them. One always went through Preparation, Production, Service and Retirement and that how they all lived it. Time up


The Box 3 Clustering was the new way of doing things. Independence was another. The more self sufficient you were, the more powerful you felt. Personalised technologies, services. Mobile applications, your personalised application to quit smoking.. Your personalised cab, it addresses you, knows you when you call it. GSM services track you, interact with your movement constantly updating schemes and prices. Advertising doesn’t sermonise any longer. It isn’t one way. It includes you. It speaks to you and your experience with your product. Household applications respond to you, as though they lived in your house. Switches, faucets, lights, the toilet seat. Housing has divided into formal and non formal. The increase in population has led to a rise in urban spaces. Existing metropolitans have become strongholds and the sister cities are the new suburbs. Townships. Satellite towns The formal spaces comprise of business centres and luxury living. Residences are self provisionary with shopping arcades, plexes etc. Nonformal living has become more organised. Micro organisms in themselves, they are autonomous, yet share basic common responsibility. The slums were never demolished and the squatters never discouraged, only made more efficient. “Pirate urbanism”, they don’t confrom to zoning or service regulations and are managed by populist governments. These hubs give rise to many non formal industries. Some pockets less developed than others. Environments were flushed. People grew less consious of technologies that facilitated everyday living. technologies and interfaces had become intuitive reacting and changing as per the users intuition. Low cost housing, bloc apartments and communities had allowed for “limited living”.The lack of space already put restrictions on child birth. 650 sq the average space the upper middle class was allowed. These social brackets were more defined due to the lack of space. Space was rationed depending on income or else was considered illegal. Time up

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A Reading

No Sense of Place ~ Joshua Meyrowitz On November 24,1963, Jack Ruby shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspected assassin of President John F Kennedy. The shooting was broadcast live to millions of Americans. Those who saw the event on television would probably claim they “witnessed” the murder - that is they saw it “first hand”. Whether or not one fully accepts that television viewing is equivalent to “first hand” experience it is clear that television and electronic media, in general, have greatly changed the significance of physical presence in the experience of social events. The evolution of media has decreased the significance of physical presence in the experience of people and events. One can now be audience to a social performance without being physically present; one can communicate “directly” with others without meeting in the same place. As a result the physical structures that once divided our society into distinct spatial settings for interaction have been greatly reduced in social significance. The walls of a family home are no longer barriers that wholly isolate the family from the larger community and society. Even within the home, media have reshaped the social significance of individual rooms. At one time parents had the ability to discipline a child by sending the child to his or her room. Such an action takes a whole new meaning today if the child’s room is linked to the outside world through the television, radio, telephone and computer. Now physically bound spaces are less significant as information is able to flow through walls and rush across great distances. As a result “where” one is has less to do with what one knows and experiences. Electronic media have altered the significance of time and space for social interaction. In many ways electronic media have homogenised places and experiences and have become common denominators that link all of us regardless of spaces and position.


The Loss of Wisdom Barry Schwartz This TED talk begins with a Job description for janitors. There are more than 50 tasks rangin from mopping floors to changing light bulbs but nothing that involves other human beings. The list is so generic it could apply to any place and any person. But still when the janitors were interviewed they spoke of how they had to sweep floors more than once and be courteous to other peoples needs It was not in their job descriptions to do so. Kindness care and empathy, But their job descriptions say nothing about other people. Classical wisdom Awise person knows when and where to make an exception to every rule. A wise person knows when and how to improvise. Inventing combinations appropriate to the situation A wise person is made and not born Brilliance is rampant - You don’t need to be brilliant to be wise But without wisdom, brilliance isn’t enough. I found this talk interesting as it portrayed a future where we were losing the ability to be social, the skills and mannerisms, street smartness and other such ‘organic’ qualities. We do not learn these skills in schools, they are part of ones experiences.

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What is the Box? The box is representative of a fake consiousness. It is a distraction from the true intent of things. It is representative of an ordered system that has lost touch with human reason. Its rigidity leaves little room for the inorganic in human nature, (wisdom) It represents a landscape of developing homogeneity and simplicity. (but the way of the box is complex) The box constructs other boxes to disguise delusions constructed by its predecessor. It also has the power to destroy its own delusions. What is the intent of my project in one line? (in process) To portray the evolution of our environment based on current lifestyle trends and choices, in relation to us and where we position ourselves within this scenario. focus further To illustrate our interpretation and relationships to various artefacts / commodities around us. To portray an exaggerated image of the dialogue between the box and man. focus further To illustrate a state of banalization and frivolity that seems to govern modern society and the spectacles that are created thereby manipulating (social interaction ??) Who is controlling whom?

Everybody talks about social constructs. So how is mine different? Don’t know yet

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Jumping In


I am closing in on a background to build my narrative upon. Avy and Ramesh both say ambiguity is good. There is no need to define the premise in one line. The form could emerge through other forms of defining the content. Theory as a form is good too. It works well as a support and would encourage me to write further however it is necessary to begin constructing these ideas and theories. Begin to visualise and take some time to create. Set up spaces to understand your content as well. Use this as trial rounds moving toward the final installation. Strcutural play within how you construct your narrative may also help understand your form. We spoke about how meaning can be enhanced by various kinds of triggers. It is not necessary to get stuck to the option of new media to achieve this. Experiment and realise your requirements. Start constructing these metaphors if that is the language of your project. Maybe one metaphor could speak across the board. It could be one simple idea that defines the experience or project. Understand spaces and what happens to objects and materials when contrasted one against the other. Whose perspective are we giving the viewer? Is it the box, or is it man? At some point i need to turn the questions around onto the viewer. Extract another perspective from the trends. “you think like the machines you develop�

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Keeping in mind the root of the idea, how do you begin to visualise and illustrate within spaces. How do materials, and how you treat them, affect the nature of one’s experience. How do displacement, irregularities, patterns, comparisons, scaling and other such devices help in building metaphors.

Referenceing | Antony Gormley

I attended a video installation one day to understand how an artist thinks their narrative through. Beginnings middles and ends? Supporting texts. Letting the narratives unfold through symbols and motifs, juxtaposed images, sound and the end of it, does it confuse the viewer or add to clarity within a form. Trying to be conscious of these decisions.


“We are still bloody animals. We are still fixated on a Darwinian kind of drive pattern. We don’t understand that the moment of enough was a long time ago already.” 53


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About Boxes

Collected responses

Boxes are things that make things come together They are compartmentalised Boxes restrict you (positively and negatively) Boxes have sides to them Circles are uniform but boxes... ? They have facets Boxes help you organise You can hide in boxes A box can hold surprises Boxes are hollow.. but they have deep thoughts Boxes could mean closure Boxes can open. Boxes can shut Think of your life in boxes.. when you pack up. Boxes can help differentiate Schrodingers cat New cement Buildings It is closed and dark from the inside Pandora’s box Artificial in form Inorganic


I have taken to putting down a vague cloud of content in my head into illustrations and visuals. Using only found materials and images, photocopying them and creating quick collages that reflect in really abstract ways, the ideas in my head. It is the first step to giving my information a face. Im hoping that these series of images will then help me transition into visually thinking about the space. I may display this series as a preliminary exhibit along with text to put my information in some perspective. A form of narrative exploration, and mapping in a way, I am trying to extract compositional cues from the illustrations. How do I treat my two characters from one to the next image? What is the mood I am building? What are the various narratives themes i can pull out from every composition? What is the common denominator between all the images and how can I categorise them under a series?

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Experiments with text and image


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I am attempting to make meaning of the various clusters of research and data that I have. Play with the fiction and the non fiction,the collected and the created and see how it can lend to my form or create a new one.


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“All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is the ape to man? A laughingstock or a painful embarrassment. And man shall be just that for the overman: a laughingstock or a painful embarrassment‌â€? I am attempting to make meaning of the various clusters of research and data that I have. Play with the fiction and the non fiction, the collected and the created and see how it can lend to my form or create a new one. Some of the themes im thinking about. Powerplay Birthing. Who nurtures who? Institution. Yearning Revival Rebellion Grids


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“man is something which ought to be overcome:� - Zarathustra


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Man makes boxes


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Boxes have sides to them


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You can stand on a box You can sit on abox You can rest on a box You can hide in box


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You think in boxes


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Boxes are closed and dark from the inside


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Think of your life in boxes.. when you pack up.


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We sleep on a box We eat from a box We work at a box We live in a box


Boxes are artificial


Boxes are inorganic


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Am I now aiming to work in illustrations within spaces? Is an interaction necessary? If so then why? Unfold. Augment viewing artwork. Grouping? Clusters to construct narrative. Construct narrative. Work on titling. What are the various possibilities of presentation? How do I integrate a one clear concept into the presentation. Extract Motif. How can I establish space? To view under a context? What is my second trigger? Audio. Video. Animation. Interactivity. Object to image relativity. How do I balance out the ambiguous? The abstraction. How much can you reveal to the viewer? Challenge viewing? Structure. How can structure define the above? Can the illustrations work as support to another interface?


Feedback The Medium is of an interesting choice. The quality of the photocopy and the treatment of the found images adds to the subject. Working with excess. The treatment of the frame is very constant. Everything is revealed to the viewer. What if the viewer were to look for a point of focus, they were made to feel intelligent in a way, that you didn’t have to tell them where to look and that they found it, which led them on to the next image. A third dimension can be enough to change a viewers perspective. What of the 3rd dimension can you bring in? Titling can bring in poetry of some kind. There is a museum in Japan for artefacts collected in the Nuclear explosion. There were many artefacts from the war that were mangled. eg A shoe that had melted into a ball, almost like a sticky mass of tar and it was titled as though it were in its original state. “A black shoe from so and so district.” and automatically the viewers imagination could fill up the events in between. Who the shoe belonged to, to how it got to that state, what was the state of the person who wore it? As singular images they are strong. Abstract in one way, but they tell stories. As a series you are forced to make connections because of the repetition in elements. This gives you scope to play around with sequence.

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Revealing Boxes


After having decided upon a loose structure that I wanted to follow for the form I realised I had a problem. I had ben facing this problem from the very beginning. Even after all the research i was still not able to put my finger on what exactly it was that i wanted to say. what I wanted to say. What did I want to say? It was all very well discovering the box and unveiling it for myself, validating it, but then what? Did I want to explain the box to other people? And if so then how? I wanted to use the illustrations I had created however they too didnt say anything in specific and I realised I was swimming in a lot of ambiguity. It was unfair of me as a communicator to expect an audience to see meaning in my work, keeping in mind the direction I was heading in. So at this point I stopped to evaluate my content once more.

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What am I missing? There is still a hollow feeling when I try to explain my subject to someone. I know what the box is. I know why i have chosen it as a metaphor. I have defined it as a form and a character and i have pitched it against another, man. I have defined that there is a relationship between these two characters and it is not always of equal What is my context though? It was really hard for me to understand that word. I thought i had defined it earlier. Context. Under what Context do i speak? I have a background, i have content but What is the platform upon which i firmly stand, the platform that would define how i would say it? I had used the word cynical earlier, but what do these words truly mean. We use them but do we fully understand them? So once again, what is the context that would define how I say the things I say? eg: I speak of love but how do i speak of it? with hatred? and how would that tone of voice define how i treat my images? Does personal experience define how I see my subject? What do I feel about the relationship between box and man? I say it disturbs me. What about it disturbs me? What is

the current nature of their relationship that I have a problem with. Where would I position myself when I speak of the box? Am I inside the box? Am I standing on top of the box? Am I standing to its left? Playing with placement? Inner space of the box and the outer space of the box. How are the two different? So what do I want the viewer to take away from the exhibit? What is their relationship to the box like? Or what would they like their relationship to the box to be? To be in a state of consciously being able to make that choice. That aside, a lot of people are comfortable being consumed by the ‘box’, what do I say to them? And what do i say to those who accept that they have been consumed. Then what? What is in it for them? Sometimes the box is victim and at times it is man. However this brings me back to questioning, is the box conscious at all? The box is not conscious. We make it conscious. We pretend that it is conscious and we as humans like doing that. We say facebook is bad for you. People blame computers and technology. People blame institutions. People label other people, bracket them. On the other hand, the box can be viewed as nothing more than a reference point / guidelines / the rules of the game. Norms and laws to make life easier and there is always the


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bunch who tries to break them. The adverse outcomes of progress? the academic and the ones who say “to hell with all that”. Inner space and outer space? So what is my context? My platform as an artist speaking about this subject.

Synopsis. Simply put. Man has made the box. The box works for man. Man has made the box with the intention to stack store duplicate multiply draw etc. Box is man’s symbol for a simpler more efficient life.

The box is crippling us. Rephrase. You are being crippled by the box.

Somewhere along the line, man ordering the box to do what he wanted has slowly become the box ordering man to do what it wants.

Rephrase. You are crippling yourself. You went from being a four legged animal to a two legged animal to fend for yourself. You were a hunter and thats how you evolved. With the introduction of the box, you have regressed, thereby minimizing your survival instinct. Put yourself first? Break out of those comfort zones. Break out of those boxes. However corny, I am standing on a platform where i see a more fulfilled life. A sense of adventure. You are fee. Also to consciously choose how you place yourself in relation to the box. You have the power to get creative and there in attain a certain spiritual side that one may have lost not knowingly... This becomes my context.

The box is now man’s burden and man, the beast of that burden.


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Understanding Context

I was talking to Bharath and Ramya about my project and a few areas of blank space were highlighted. Something that would help link the form and everything i’ve read and written about the box. We were speaking of structure and that being something i lacked currently. Even context. An added texture that i could supply to my idea. Context. Specifics. Is it a time that i am speaking about? Is it an event that i am illustrating by constructing these metaphors. My current narrative / images are very generic and applicable right from the french revolution to the bhopal gas tragedy. So how can i give it more focus and leave it amorphous to great extent. Coming back to something i had thought of some time ago. Familiar and the unfamiliar. Go with it. Also all this while i kept looking at it as me not seeing myself in it / not having a personal side to it. I felt the whole idea becoming to generic. But actually the whole thing right now was more personal over anything else. The box and all its attributes and characteristics is something only i have observed and appropriated. It was my personal interpretation to everything around me. What was missing was what makes this idea universal. Context.


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Bharath and I were talking and we began speaking of how people speak of these ‘boxes’ everyday. Q. Why do you want to get a haircut? umm.. because im going for a job interview - because I want a job - because i need to feed myself - because i want to get rich - because i want to live life because i want to be comfortable. So it got me thinking as to what the box actually is? Does one box conjure many others? Or do we use one box after another to validate the previous? What is the box here? Is it justfications you’ve given yourself for an act depending on the social climate around you / you’re in? How much is governed by external influences? Most of it. The box is now man’s burden and man, it’s beast of burden. Man is becoming part with what he created. How much baggage do we carry around with us today? Voicing opinions, what we wear, what we do? What are all the things we conform to? What would happen if that conformity were to break? I tried a little experiment after this conversation : I’m wearing a tie because it is a fashion statement - because I like to dress out of the ordinary - because people will look at me - because I never got any attention as a kid - because I was not smart - because you are required to be smart - because you need to be pretty, cute, talented and all those things to get attention.


People’s Responses i’m wearing a tie because - i want wear formal clothes - because i’m going for a formal occasion - it is a wedding - because they invited me. I’m wearing a tie because it is a fashion statement - because i like to dress out of the ordinary - because people will look at me - because i never got any attention as a kid - because i was not smart - because you are required to be smart - because you need to be pretty, cute, talented and all those things to get attention. I’m wearing a tie because im going to school - because its formal because its a christian missionary school - because we need to appear mature and focussed - because they are misguided - because appearances make a lot of difference - because they want to look good - because people are too obsessed with what others think of them - hey but wearing ties is uncomfortable and i can’t focus. I’m wearing a tie because i like ties - because they remind me of my favorite band - because the lead singer of my band loves wearing ties - because its the look - because punk rock has a certain image - because its the formal and the “i rip the system” together - because they dont like authority - because they think rules are shit - because certain rules are not for everyone - because one person can’t decide whats good - because its not an individual thing, its global because people like it better when lots of people impose rules - because people can’t see one person with power - because they are jealous - because they can’t have that power - because they are losers - because they can’t speak for themselves - because they are too stuck to rules I’m wearing a tie because - i want to dress well and formally - because impression matters - because i want a job - i want the job (im at a job interview) - impression matters - I want THE job - because i really like it - because it will give me money - because want to feed my stomach - because i need to survive - because im really young to die and i want to live life. Im wearing a tie because im going for work - because im late for work - because there was a traffic jam - because there was a cow sitting in the middle of the road - because she ate a jelly fish - because she was hungry. I live in a room which is box because - a triangle is wierd - because the box has a better surface area to fit things in and keep things on - because


its provides and optimum usage of space (provided whats going in there) - because a wasteage of space wouldn’t be wise - because nobody likes unnecessary negative space - because its not valuable - because its junk because something doesn’t fit in there. I live in a room which is a box because - its harder to build a circular house and its not cost efficient (less ppl - less money but also more money to build) - also its like an igloo and then i’ll just look out of place. I live in a room which is a box because - i wouldnt live in a dome because they don’t make domes in heritage - because the building wouldnt stand - because domes don’t fit like boxes do.

Deduction At some point i realise i can’t bank on how people will react within such a space. I can only set 30% of the launchpad or the bracket they can think under, beyond that it is unfair and impractical to expect them to adhere to my line of thought.

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On Conformity This is an article I found on Conformity within corporate groups.

The Power of Conformity: is not in itself a good or a bad thing. For example, creativity is built on some of the pillars of nonconformity: ignoring social norms and authority, eschewing social approval, rejecting structure and cultivating dissent. On the other hand many of societies most basic institutions—government, finance, transport, education—would collapse if people didn’t conform. This list gives you all sorts of ways to think about your own and other people’s conformity. You need to be creative to think about how these processes can help you achieve your aims, whether it’s in business, your personal life, online or elsewhere Whatever your goals are, remember that conformity affects everyone, whether we know it or not. Understanding how and when puts you one step ahead of the pack. Research shows group members equate creativity with conformity. Creativity is a much coveted asset for a very simple reason: an idea that transcends orthodoxy has the power to bring wealth, fame and status. Commercial, scientific, educational and artistic organisations, therefore, often talk about how they want to foster creativity. Unfortunately groups only rarely foment great ideas because people in them are powerfully shaped by


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group norms: the unwritten rules which describe how individuals in a group ‘are’ and how they ‘ought’ to behave. Norms influence what people believe is right and wrong just as surely as real laws, but with none of the permanence or transparency of written regulations. Thinking inside the box The purpose of norms is to provide a stable and predictable social world, to regulate our behaviour with each other. In many respects norms have a beneficial effect, bolstering society’s foundations and keeping it from falling into chaos. On the other hand stability and predictability are enemies of the creative process. So of course schools kill creativity, of course politicians are fighting over the middle ground, of course most TV programmes are the same and of course all our high streets are identical. People are social animals who work in groups and, especially with the advance of globalisation, the number of groups that govern or control our world has shrunk. These groups naturally kill creativity, or at least redefine it as conformity. Creativity within groups isn’t impossible, though, it’s just that it has to fight all the harder to get out. Coming up with something truly new often means having to steer a path away from the herd, towards new horizons. If you really covet creativity, then there’s one rule you’d be well advised to follow: go it alone.


Revealing Boxes I have realised what i want the nature of my boxes to be. Breaking one box only gives rise to another. The more you try to break out of one box, you enter another one. The battle between the Conformist and the Non conformist.


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Concept Sketches


Conceptual Art Conceptual art means work in which the idea is paramount and the material is secondary, lightweight, ephemeral, cheap, unpretentious and or dematerialised. Because the work does not take traditional for, it demands a more active participation on behalf of the viewer. It exists truly in the viewers mental participation. Conceptual art not only questions the art object as to what it is? Is it art? But also the person as to Who are you? What do you represent in relation to the artwork? I have been reading Tony Godfrey’s book on conceptual art and I find myself being drawn to exploring this realm. The form allows for narrative and absurdist interpretations on the part of the artist and is very illustrative in a sense. I find my concept sketches being explorations of these above ideas.

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Most of my images play with two exact opposites. Man vs Box Inorganic vs Organic Nature vs Artificial Human vs Machine Up vs Down Inside vs outside Inferior vs Superior The illustrations also spell this relationship out. You know how one interacts with the other. What if that was split up into two. when you approached the installation the two would begin to interact and a relationship would unfold.


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Experimenting with Form Viewing boxes. Spectacles within themselves and from the outside appears to be an assembly of people. Collect stories from people viewing the installationa and play it back as content. Trying to create a sense of absurdism. This seams to be the language my content seems to be taking.

Constructing a narrative to understand how i can orchestrate content generation and playback on he spot.


To involve the viewer in completing the sculpture. A sense of involvement and isolation at the same time. Different experience for the person viewing from the outside than the person participating.


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Thinking about an object to image relationship. “Boxes contain surprises� A row of Boxes is laid out. People can walk in and open any of these boxes to find a familiar object within them. Upon lifitng it out of the box they are able to see a projected illustration that relates to the object they are holding. There is room for the viewer to construct a story between the familiar and the unfamiliar. This works as a series and takes on an exploratory approach.


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Somewhere along the line, man ordering the box to do what he wanted has slowly become the box ordering man to do what it wants. The box is now man’s burden and man, the beast of that burden. What if the viewer had to pull a load and as he pulled it, a visual narrative on the other end painted a picture as to what he may be pulling. What is the box? What is my baggage? Why am i doing this? A sense of stupidity and futility.


Referenceing various artworks and exhibition that play out their content within a space. How can you enhance the viewin of a static image? How can you simplify an idea enough to not be able to take anything away from it.


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Final concept sketch. Revealing Boxes The box as conformity. What would the world be if that conformity was broken? Where would the conformists go? Could that be the dialogue between man and the box?


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Rethink At this point, having jumped into trying out a series of permitation combinations, I realised that i was still not being able to communicate the basic idea. What was the basic idea? “Our identity is defined in terms of these boxes we carry, some of them are superficial, and some so internalised we are barely aware of them. Even when we choose not to follow, we are still defined by our non conformist choices. Is a non conformist freer than a conformist? Non conformists who believe that they are breaking free of the box are merely stepping out of one box and into another. Perhaps one with a different form but a box nonetheless. It is in this ceaseless creation of boxes that the absurdity and futility of our existence lies. Can we ever be free of these boxes? What would that freedom look like?“ I felt my illustrations were restricting me in a way and i was playing with too much ambiguity. So i decided to leave them aside and adopt a different approach. Ramesh kept saying that i was behaving like I was scared of saying something. It was either that or that i had nothing to say. I knew deep down, i had something, but hadn’t yet found a click in my form that could communicate the idea well enough. So I sat down to script the installation again.

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Breaking the box unveils yet another box. The viewer must hit the Block to see a change of pattern. The initial script provided no complementary action or narrative to an act as strong as hitting something. What happens with every hit? What if i could change the way a man eats, sleeps, drinks his tea etc.


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Making Scripting Filming and editing Hardware Software Sync Testing Submission


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Scripting

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Story boarding the basic functioning.

Conformist and the Non Conformist


What is the structure of the installation?

There is a block with a hammer. The viewer must lift the hammer and break the block. Upon the first hit he sees a virtual block breaking away. As he continues to hit, the block breaks away to reveal another block within it. Upon the revealing of a new block one man from a group leaves the herd and crosses over to another screen. As more blocks peel away, more leave and join the first man. Soon on the breaking of all the blocks, the herd is no more and a new group has formed. The block the had broken completely resurfaces and one realises that what he has done was futile. He broke a patterm only to create another one. And if he continued to break it the second time round that would ie rise to a third group, and then a fourth and an endless loop of conformists and non conformists would be put into motion. The viewer must feel excited at first, then feel a sense of achievement, then exhasperration, fatigue and finally a sense of futility. “In Greek mythology Sisyphus, King of Corinth is given an exemplary punishment for his misdeeds. The Judges of the Dead show him a block of stone and order him to roll it up to the brow of a hill and topple it down the further slope. He has never yet succeeded in doing so. As soon as he has almost reached the summit he is forced back by the weight of the stone which bounces to the very bottom once more; where he wearily retrieves it and must begin all over again….”

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Filming

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To illustrate the basic idea I required a stereotype. If not then somebody who’s identity could be kept aside and be made to look generic.

to comb hair

But that was hard since even activities and how people do them define or lend something to their character. to drink tea I had a set of options I was working with : To mime ans action To stage an action To film as afly on the wall The first set I had done was voted on as inappropriate as my character was to specifically defined in status and class by the way he looked and the objects he used. For my shoot the second time around, I had to choose either an equal or an intentionally defined character.

To leave


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to un-comb hair

to un-drink tea

to return


Hardware

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Load Cell : caliberated to take up to 300 kgs, The concrete block will rest on top of this device. The load cell will send a fluctuation in weight as an electric signal to my processing unit


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Hammer and Concrete Block. The block cannot weigh more than 250 kgs

Load Cell sends analog data which is then converted to a digital signal

The signal is then split into 2 and sent to Com 1 and Com 2 respectively

C1 Com 1 : image Loop “Box within a box”

C2 Com 2 : Video Loop “Conformist / Non”


Software and Sync

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I am working with processing to display all my videos on the screen as per the design. A problem I am facing is that it is difficult for the software to handle 12 video loops. As one set builds the other set falls and vice versa. Simultaneous actions are getting lost in the commotion due to multiple playbacks. The co-ordination is key in this system. There had to b a complete sync between the hits, the image loop of the box within a box and also the videos that keep unveiling. In order to achieve this precision I had to create a set of flowcharts that spelt out every action that the user must go through.


SCREENS Block

1

2

3

4

12 hits

block 1

Video is constant

blank

blank

12 hits

Image changes 12 times block 2 is visible.

Video is constant

On 12’th hit video appears

blank

12 hits

Image changes 12 times Block 3 is visible

Video is constant

On 24’th hit video appears

blank

12 hits

Image changes 12 times Block 4 is visible

Video is constant

On 36’th hit video appears

blank

12 hits

Image changes 12 times Block 5 is visible

Video is constant

On 48’th hit video appears

blank

stop

blank

blank

video is constant

block 1

12 hits

blank

On 60’th hit video appears

Video is constant

Image changes 12 times block 2 is visible.

12 hits

blank

On 72’th hit video appears

Video is constant

Image changes 12 times Block 3 is visible

12 hits

blank

On 84’th hit video appears

Video is constant

Image changes 12 times Block 4 is visible

12 hits

blank

On 96’th hit video appears

Video is constant

Image changes 12 times Block 5 is visible

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Flowcharts Block

Loops

On Screen

virtual block

1

2

3

13 hits

Image changes 13 times block 2 is visible.

Video is constant

Upon 13th hit video ‘-A’ begins

blank

19 hits

Image changes 19 times block 2 is visible.

Video A disappears

On 19’th hit video ‘-B’ appears

blank

16 hits

Image changes 16 times Block 3 is visible

Video B disappears

On 24’th hit video - C appears

blank

10 hits

Image changes 10 times Block 4 is visible

Video C disappears

On 36’th hit video - D appears

blank

Video D dispappears

4 videos stay

blank

blank

video is constant

Blank

Loop Begins again

blank

13 hits

Image changes 13 times block 2 is visible.

blank

Video is constant

Upon 13th hit video ‘x’ begins

19 hits

Image changes 19 times block 2 is visible.

blank

Video -A disappears

On 19’th hit video ‘Y’ appears

16 hits

Image changes 16 times Block 3 is visible

blank

Video - B disappears

On 24’th hit video Z appears

10 hits

Image changes 10 times Block 4 is visible

blank

Video - C disappears

On 36’th hit video ZZ appears

blank

Video - D dispappears

4 videos stay


Making the Block

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I had to create the block from scratch. The block needed to be durable yet break. For the final exhibition I need a block than can last a whole of 2 days at the exhibition. I will replace the block once it is detroyed. However making a block durable enough requires stronger materials which inadvertently make my block heavier. The load cell cannot carry more than 300 kgs and for a fluctuation i weight to be sensed by the load cell I wanted to keep the weight to a maximum of 250 kgs. According to the limitations of my software and hardware, i had to ensure a buffer time of 1-2 seconds betwen each hit for the set up to rest and then transmit. I needed the experience to be smooth and subconsious so i tried playing with the structure of the hammer. The heavier the hammer the slower you will hit. The longer the handle, the harder the impact, the more inconvenient to use. I m still playing with these permitation combinations and for the time being I constructed a solid concrete block of 1 1/2 ft x 1 1/2 feet for the time being.


Filming

Once the block was ready I was able to construct a skeleton of the installation. We set up lights and attempted at simulating the space / environment. This was the first time I was able to do this. Also this was the first time I opened the structure out to other people besides my panel and myself. I realised that i needed to accentuate certain aspects of the experience as they were not communicating as effectively as i had hoped. Though the set up did show potential for something concrete, I am yet to experiment more with constructing and accentuating the space for the desired message to be delivered.

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Concept Note

In Greek mythology Sisyphus, King of Corinth is given an exemplary punishment for his misdeeds. The Judges of the Dead show him a block of stone and order him to roll it up to the brow of a hill and topple it down the further slope. He has never yet succeeded in doing so. As soon as he has almost reached the summit he is forced back by the weight of the stone which bounces to the very bottom once more; where he wearily retrieves it and must begin all over again‌.


Sisyphus’ story is an allegory for the human condition. In today’s world man is confronted by a plethora of choices. A variety of multi media are constantly urging people to consider this or that option. Every minute of the day we make choices ‌.. what to say, what to think, what to wear, what to eat, what to criticise, what to support. Inadvertently whether we like it or not these choices define who we are and how we respond to situations in our lives. Is it possible to break this relentless cycle? What about iconoclasts- people who turn their back on the conventional and the parochial? From the moment we are born, we are socialised to conform to the norms and mores of the community of which we are members. Conformity is the price we pay for approval and acceptance. We have created these artificial mechanisms to regulate behaviour, to introduce order, to enhance efficiency to ensure prosperity and to make us happy. They have existed since prehistoric times in some shape or form to make community life possible. When prevailing customs and traditions are perceived as oppressive and futile it often gives rise to revolt which is akin to breaking the box. An obsolete paradigm has now led to the creation of a new one. But can this really be conceived as a breaking of the box? What has in fact happened is a new box has been created and we conform

to its demands. Who is the creator then and who would you call the slave? Our identity is defined in terms of these boxes we carry, some of them are superficial, and some so internalised we are barely aware of them. Even when we choose not to follow, we are still defined by our non conformist choices. Is a non conformist freer than a conformist? Non conformists who believe that they are breaking free of the box are merely stepping out of one box and into another. Perhaps one with a different form but a box nonetheless. It is in this ceaseless creation of boxes that the absurdity and futility of our existence lies. Can we ever be free of these boxes? What would that freedom look like?

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References Conceptual Art - Tony Godfrey Joseph Cornell Boxes The Holocaust Memorial Anthony Gormley A Short History of Myths Karen Armstrong Melrose Place An opinion on gated Communities Christoph Schaefer projekte Society of the Spectacle Getsalt Theory Archigram Superstudio The DADA manifesto Racheal Whiteread Tony Oursler Peter Weltz Albert Camus The Myth of Sisyphus About Absurdism The Perfect Human Arthur Lipsitt

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Thanking You Ampat Verghese Verghese Ramesh Kalkur Yashas Shetty Tenet Techenetronics Ram ,Vinayak, Jaykumar On Campus Sara Anand Veecheet Dhakal Nanki Jassal Ashis Pande Medha Joshi Rohan Gupta Mihika Shaunik Deepak Mallya Priyanka Chaurasia Mrunmayee Gokhale Back Home Vinod and Netra Guruji Medha Joshi Shakuntala Kulkarni My Peer Support House no. 17 and The New Campus Nightowls

Srishti School of Art Design and Technology

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Versus : Documentation of an Installation  

A documentation of my Diploma Project.

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