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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 solids...one 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

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