Arts Illustrated

May 20, 2020

Threading Parallels

Experimenter, with the first part of its online film and moving image programme ‘Filament’, presents a unique exploration of the shape of human interactions

Team AI

Kolkata’s Experimenter Gallery’s Filament, an online film and moving image programme, is one more in the repertoire of looming questions in our current collective creative reflection, that goes beyond this attempt at alluring alliteration – how did we do it before? What has changed now? Why does that affect us so much? What will become of it in the coming days?

We might not find all the answers in art, but it definitely is the perfect diving board to initiate conversation. Filament is undoubtedly one more voice – a compelling one at that – showcasing the works of Moyra Davey, Ashish Avikunthak and Naeem Mohaiemen.

Moyra Davey, Les Goddesses (2011), Image Courtesy of the Artist and Experimenter, Kolkata.

The three-part exhibition presents three feature-length films, each one to be screened on Experimenter’s website for a week. The first film, Les Goddesses (2011), that was on view till May 17, 2020, is Canadian-born artist Moyra Davey part photo-story, part document that anachronistically links her own life and work as a photographer with the tragic experiences of the 20th century English writer and political philosopher, Mary Wollstonecraft. In the film, photographs and prints belonging to the artist as well as the philosopher’s family, flash in and out of the frame as they became pieces of an enormous jigsaw puzzle. The film itself is inconclusive with the many relations to the ‘Goddesses’ deliberately left open-ended, and yet, Les Goddesses leaves us with a variety of insights that speak directly to our world as it stands today – a world that much like Wollstonecraft’s is questioning all that it once held dear.

The second film on the docket, Ashish Avikunthak’s Rati Chakravyuh (2013), that is on view till May 24, 2020, is the first feature-length continuous single shot narrative film in India and one of the earliest in the world. Much like Davey’s ‘Goddesses’, Avikunthak too leaves his audiences with more questions than answers – opening the film with an unassuming, yet fairy-tale like introduction: ‘On the night of a complete lunar eclipse, twelve newlywed couples come together after their mass wedding with a priestess and talk…’

Ashish Avikunthak, Rati Chakravyuh (2013), Image Courtesy of the Artist and Chatterjee & Lal, Mumbai.

The third film, Naeem Mohaiemen’s Last Man in Dhaka Central, (2015), set to be available from May 25, 2020, traces, in reverse, the journey of a Dutch journalist jailed in Bangladesh in 1975, through interviews, news clippings, archival footage, books and magazines.

Naeem Mohaiemen, Last Man in Dhaka Central (2015), Image Courtesy of the Artist and Experimenter, Kolkata.

On the whole, Filament explores how history is told, interpreted and re-told; what truths are truths and how myths become truths over time. Perhaps something for us to remember as we witness these unprecedented times, that it is this exploration – of lessons from the past, of present dystopic realities and of a collective hope for the future – that anchors us.

Click here to view Ashish Avikunthak’s Rati Chakravyuh.


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