Impressions 'n Expressions

Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

The permanent temptation of life is to confuse dreams with reality. The permanent defeat of life is when dreams are surrendered to reality.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Time and Identity

Recently I had a chance to visit the Institute of Contemporary Arts at Boston. Two hours later, I felt overwhelmed by the knowledge that I am either way ahead of time or maybe way back, as I was absolutely wonderstruck by my ignorance of the contemporary art culture - at least in the Western world. That's supposed to be a joke, because I am quite clueless about art in general. At different points in my life I have come across beauty in a painting, a sculpture, or a mural and more, but I have never tried to learn more about what struck me about it and why? I guess, one can't actually define beauty...because, I believe, the state of mind plays a really important part in appreciating it, well at least, that's my argument. The concept of beauty is an idea that evolves and mutates.

The exhibits looked beautiful in a very abstract way and yet remained incomprehensible to my base sense of aesthetic sensibilities. I am sure everything on display had a reason for its existence, I am positive the two young women who were discussing From amongst the golden foil spread in a very deliberate fashion, the cuboid made of pins, cross-section of an ant farm, Emily Dickinson's lines as white section made some kind of impression on me, the lithographs titled 'Still Waters' and the solid glass sculptures by by Roni Horn.

Roni Horn uses photographs of the Thames in flow as a metaphor for the mutability of time. Using Heraclitus's postulation, 'you could not step twice into the same river, for other waters are ever flowing on to you,' Horn uses the dark swirling waters of the river to emphasize that time is transient. Each picture is annotated with references to incidents, movies, books, and more that frankly made no sense to me, but it did make me try to reach out and grasp the essence of these almost quotidian displays. Using the simply magnificent solid glass sculptures, Roni Horn evokes the changing nature of identities as a shift in light or how and where you are observing from causes the solid glass to appear liquid. The amorphous nature of identity is beautifully brought out using seemingly immutable inanimate objects, exemplifying that we are more complex than we can ever hope to understand and identity is a prisoner to perspective.

I don't know if it is what the artist intended, but for the next few hours all I could really think about was the influence of time in our lives. An abstract concept at best, time has become an integral part of how we run our daily lives. But do we really understand it, do we really even think of it as anything more or less, than as a point of reference to connect our existence with to the world around us.

The time is gone
The song is over
Thought I'd something more to say.

Sitting by the Charles River, watching the yachts trying to catch a good wind, watching life as she jogged and cycled and gathered along the path, capturing a moment here and letting go another there, I tried to see myself for who I really am. Who I am has been lost I guess, who I am is a judgement that you make, who I am is just another wisp of wind that you wish I could be, a reflection of your desire.

Another crazy take on time

Friday, April 09, 2010

I've always been fascinated by death. The feel of it, the smell of it, the quietness of it.


A tender and poignant love story of a necrophilic.

Sandra, a loner, works in a funeral parlor embalming corpses. What no one knows is that she connects with the cadavers she embalms in a deeply personal and spiritual way. Her obsession, 'glorious and overwhelming', involves treating the bodies that come to her with reverence and understanding, because she believes that though dead...they can feel. Sometimes the connect she feels with them also leads to engaging in sexual activities. Matt, who knows about her necrophilic tendency, loves her and tries to reach out to her without really understanding the reasons that drive her. Sandra's failure to communicate what her obsession really means to her results in a misunderstanding that leaves him frustrated and unable to convince her about his feelings until he realizes that there is only one way she will really understand what she means to him.

Movies dealing with extreme forms of fetish are not for everyone and this one more so, as necrophilia is as controversial as it is uncomfortable.

Without being exploitative or gratituous, the movie works as a conventional love story set against the backdrop of an unconventional fetish. For those who are not turned off by the nature of the subject, Lynne Stopkewich fashions a good watch.