Peacocks Dream, 2018, from the series, “Elastic City Spacey”
Video projection for exterior facade and indoor installation, 15 minutes 49 seconds.
This new video moves back into the Sujir family archive—where a dream of hope is lost amidst disorientation, in my grandfather Ramananth Sujir’s letters to his son Raghu Sujir, my father. “Dis-orient” –to lose east –became my father’s story, a pilot who lost his direction in life, who died young, in his mid thirties, in a plane crash in Canada. I am able to tell his story now, that I am fully an adult, no longer afraid that my father’s story will become mine when I take a risk: his journeys placed him in precarious positions, too far away from home.
Peacocks Dream is an exploration of the disorientation and loss of those left behind: the story is told through a garden of mazes, evoking the dizziness and disorientation that grief produces. I am able to imagine now, as an adult, my grandmother, Ratna Sujir’s loss, when her two sons died, my father far away in Canada, so far away from ‘home’, Mangalore, India. The movement of the peacocks through the landscape invites the viewers to move into the stereoscopic 3D of the video work, to experience the dizzying space of her story.
Since 2005, I have been working with stereoscopic 3D (S3D) video, an old technology from the mid 1800’s, that keeps getting renewed as the industry changes. Stereoscopic 3D video space, I have found, works well with themes of migration, as it gives a haptic sense of screen space, that you can walk into, that you can reach out to touch, that you can feel.
Immigration, which is often talked of in terms of its experience as a doubled sense of place, can be referenced through stereoscopic 3D space, to evoke for the viewer a sense of the physicality of homes and its absence, a lived dream space playing off the containment of memory in our bodies that makes us resonant spaces. I am working towards the construction of a felt space of displacement. For me, stereoscopic 3D (S3D) video spaces are elastic and dream-like places, ephemeral, yet capable of extending a sensation of volume, physicality, and presence to the viewer.
Since 2015, with the “Elastic City Spacey” series, I have made experiments with projection mapping: placing stereoscopic 3D video space into the built environment. The challenge of taking this 3D stereoscopic work into the streets, to inhabit public dwelling spaces as well as an exhibition space, extends the art practice I have been developing and allows me to further stretch the technology and the materials into an experience of the lived dream space of diaspora that the viewers walk into. Over the last thirty years, I have been building a body of video and video installation artworks exploring immigration, migration, nation and culture with digs into archival documents, using a mix of fiction, fantasy and documentary with visual and audio collage techniques. Within this new video work, I am using the iconic sounds and images of the peacocks to call forth a space both present and past, far away and close.