Prakirnha as per definition means combination of various types of things. This is a space of films, documentaries, websites, artist works, etc. that I am exploring / watching and which are affecting my ways of thinking and practising.
The World according to Monsanto
The World According to Monsanto is a 2008 film directed by Marie-Monique Robin based on Robin’s three-year-long investigation into the corporate practices around the world of the United States multinational corporation, Monsanto. It shows the controversies behind the genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) and frames “Monsanto” as a demon of the food production. It made me question the authenticity of the food that I eat and explained how food, which was once a basic need, has been converted into a commodity to gain maximum profits. The questions of “How ethical is our food production?” & “How GMO’s and its use have affected farmers?” paints a picture of it being a bad decision for ecological as well as societal health in my own knowledge system.
Out of Eden Walk
This website is a perfect example showing the layers of slow journaling. Paul Salopek decides to walk on the pathways of the first human who migrated out of Africa. On the way he documents the stories of the places through photographs, videos, audios, and words. For me, it is a journey of rediscovering and documenting the world that we live in. But one more thing that I got fascinated about in this website is its way of organizing all this information together. For me, it is a very minimalist approach that is used by the designer which makes it aesthetically informative website.
This artwork was shown to me as a part of not being judgemental of the art I am creating. Though the conversation went on from there till discussing the principles of art and design. In this painting, the artist is creating a surreal space by using very basic shapes and principles of art like balance and harmony. This is the point where I realized the importance of visual narrative and having a visual language.
Pat Steir- Summer Moon
Pat Steir is an American painter and printmaker. This artwork is part of her famous abstract dripped, splashed and poured “Waterfall” paintings. Here, if observed carefully, one can see lines as the only element. It is repeated in multiple ways, multiple tonal intensities, multiple values, multiple colours. This multiplicity composition creates a meaning, and at some point its abstractness allows viewers to interpret this artwork in their own ways.
Merlin Sheldrake- Eats Mushroom sprouting from his book “Entangled Life”
Merlin Sheldrake is an author of Entangled Life and a biologist. He has his background in plant sciences, microbiology and ecology as well as in history & philosophy of science. In this video he eats the mushrooms that has eaten his book and provides a metaphor of eating his own words. He is fascinated by the world of Fungi and believes that it can change the way we think about the world and have the capacity to shape our future.
Ursala K. Le Guin- What can Novels do?
Ursala K. Le Guin was an American Author known for her works of speculative fiction including science fiction. In this video, Ursala K. Le Guin is in conversation with Prof. Michael Lucey on “What can Novels do?” Here she gives us insights of her artistic processes, her ways of thinking and writing. Talking through her novel “Always coming Home” she talks about her work as a combination of real life experiences and imaginations. Throughout the conversation she situates herself as an artist who is connected and driven by the place she belongs to, criticizing the typical science fiction scenario that takes away the sense of belonging from the reader. She refers literature as a way of communication and stories as a way of change, to explain the relationship between artist & reader that drives her way of writing the books.
“Home” is a 2009 documentary directed by French photographer, reporter and environmentalist Yann Arthus-Bertrand and produced by Luc Besson. It painted a vivid picture of all the life forms on earth as interconnected to each other and a self-balanced ecosystem. The rise of humans on the planet led to the exploitation of the resources, which has brought an immense amount of ecological imbalance. Humans should consider themselves as part of nature and not superior from it and this documentary gives a vivid scenario of the same. It led me to question my own relationship with nature. How connected or rather disconnected I am with nature and other forms of beings?
The Lonely Dodo
The Lonely Dodo is a short film produced for Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. It showcases the situation of last dodo and lead us to imagine ourselves in the place of Dodo at the verge of extinction. It gives a message of saving endangered species and its importance. For me one of the things to take away from this is the way of using Digital Media and Animation for story telling and impact making. Short – sweet – impactful is what can be said about it.
Karl Martens- Pheasant (Female)
Karl Martens draws his inspiration from watching birds and nature. He uses archery as a way of training his mind and Chinese brush painting technique. Before painting, he meditates to calm and reach a right state of mind. This process can be stated as a mindful way of creating art.
Ansel Adams- Moonrise
This image was looked at to understand how to achieve balance and unity in an art. Here if observed, the moon is slightly off-centre which gives the image a dynamic quality. The perfect amount of black and light creates a balance in and the different kind of tones creates unity in it.
The danger of a single story
The danger of a single story is a TED talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She is a Nigerion writer of various novels and short stories. In the talk she explains how impressionable a story can be and why knowing only a single story is dangerous. A Single story creates an incomplete stereotype which makes one story the only story and shows people or place as one thing and only one thing, over and over again. “Power” is what she states is responsible for this scenario. Single stories emphasize on how humans are different rather than how humans are same. Thus, it is necessary to look beyond that story to understand the person or place. Through her personal life story she explains how she found her authentic cultural voice and concludes with a note of rejecting a single story to regain a kind of paradise.
Emil Nolde- Fischdampfer
Emil Nolde (German-Danish) was one of the first Expressionist painter and printmaker. This artwork is a part of woodcut print series. Here, one can see the balance achieved by various typologies of lines. There are thick lines, thin lines, flowy lines, linear lines which makes the composition. A landscape is created with the lines.
An Ecology of Mind
‘An Ecology of Mind,’ directed by Nora Bateson, is a filmic portrait of anthropologist, biologist, and psychotherapist Gregory Bateson as seen through the eyes of his daughter. The film introduces viewers to Gregory Bateson’s universe of thought, including his concepts of systems thinking and interrelationships between humans and the natural world. He not only discusses existing relationships, but also how they are continuously changing, and how we must embrace this change in order to gain new knowledge and form new relationships.
Food Evolution is a 2016 documentary directed by Scott Hamilton Kennedy. As world according to Monsanto this documentary also talks about controversies around GMO’s. But rather than painting a negative picture of the GMO’s it tries to place itself at the centre of the scenario. Topics in the film range from: food safety, environmental protection, population demand, pesticide use, and general health surrounding GMOs. Using the real life – on field scenarios of the farmers, scientists, consumers and crops, it discusses the hux and crux of the issue of feeding the expanding population safely and sustainably. It made me rethink the scenario and judgments that I made and are there around the GMO’s.
WHAT IS MISSING?
It is a website designed by Maya Lin. It talks about the species extinction and tries to bring awareness about the same. I particularly liked the interface of the website as it is designed to be interactive and at the same time informational. Playing around on the world map and looking at the range of stories evoked the idea of reimagining my relationship with the natural world. This is what according to me is the concept behind this virtual space.
Robert Bateman- Master of the herd
Robert Bateman works in a very naturalistic wildlife art style. Interesting is the process that shapes this style. He has lived in an era of art movements and have looked and tried all the styles that existed. He takes his inspiration from nature and each of these moments, which in combine provides him the techniques for his own art.
I looked at this painting to look at developing a vocabulary for visual reading. It started with a question of “Why is it a masterpiece in a world of modern art?” If we look at history the artistic styled followed was highly realistic during the renaissance period. Henri Matisee contested rules that existed traditionally and broke the space from being realistic. If we look at the painting though being flat, the five figures seems to be moving in a powerful dimension. It is a dimension created through emotions and feelings. The way it treats dimensionality is the reason for it being considered as a masterpiece.
Ben Shahn- Handball
In a 1957 interview, Shahn described this painting as being about “social relationships,” including those as seemingly simple as the relationships among ball players. On seeing the painting carefully there seems a tension created in how players are placed and what is happening in their nature of body movements. The colour of their pants seems similar and it is made in a way that viewers eye converge towards the central player. There is a balance and movement of forces between players, number and buildings.
George Lakoff– Idea Framing, Metaphors, and Your Brain
This video was given to me as a part of thinking tool upskill by Padmini. Professor George Lakoff is well-known cognitive scientists and linguists. In short, he “understands how we understand.” In this short video he talks about two things the frames and the metaphors. He says that we think in terms of a structure called frames and metaphors. He explains how these metaphors are generated at a very early stage of our childhood and becomes part of our physical brain.
FOLI is a short film which shows how our life is a rhythm. Manlinke tribes use “FOLI” as a word for rhythm. This film made me think and rethink about my everyday life and the rhythm that exists around me. It is produced in a way that one can see and feel the rhythm at the same time showcasing its essentiality in our lives. The video starts with the sound and images of the making of musical instruments by the tribe and culminates with a traditional song and dance of the tribe. It vividly puts out the word “Rhythm” in the dichotomy of making as well as playing of an instrument and paints the idea of “Everything is a rhythm”.