“To posit art as a sect, as a society within society, as the promised land where we can fleetingly fulfill ourselves for a brief instant — doesn’t this create the illusion that self-realization on the level of consciousness also implies self-realization on the level of existence?
The artist must not seek fulfillment as an artist but as a human being.”
– Julio Garcia Espinosa
Four Channels, Projection on cloth
Duration: 1 minute
‘The word’ in its primal sense is pure sound.
It is always sound first and its meaning later. Sound in its element is vibration, which exists as the axiom for the universe.
15th century Indian weaver poet-Kabir in his poetry, takes the ‘word and the sound of it’ and describes its impact on the listener as a wound. This wound as an experience, is honest and profound in its nature, and pierces the listener’s soul, post which, a transition happens.
In much similar ways, the following lines by the 15th century weaver poet Kabir, sewn around the life of a weaver or himself, pierced my mind.
अस जोलहा का मरम ना जाना // जिन्ह जग आनी पसरिन्ह ताना // धरती आकास दू गद्द खंदाया // चंद सूर्य दू नारी बनाया // सहस्त्र तार ले पुरनि पूरी // अजहुँ बीने कठिन है दूरी // कहै कबीर करम से जोड़ी सत कुसत बीने भल कोरी”
“no one could understand the secret of this weaver who, coming into existence, spread the warp as the world; He fixed the earth and the sky as the pillars, and he used the sun and the moon as two shuttles; He took thousands of stars and perfected the cloth; but even today he weaves, and the end is difficult to fathom. Kabir says that the weaver, getting good or bad yarn and connecting karma with it, weaves beautifully”
After dwelling on the text for a certain period, I saw myself traveling to the ancient weavers town of Chanderi in central India, and living with weavers for a month, trying to fathom the music of the warp and weft, sailing in the convolutions of the wreathe and immersing myself in what would later become, the most powerful spiritual experiences of my life.
The installation-born as a reaction to that journey, is a juxtaposition of the poem by Kabir overlayed on an excerpt from a conversation with master weaver Abbas Ansari and visuals from the historic town.
The whole has been divided into four projections on woven cloth, which is a metaphor for the four dimensions of absolute space- time, consisting of events that are not absolutely defined spatially and temporally, but rather are known relative to the motion of the observer.
The weaver here by me Is seen as the metaphor for the human being, and the complex process of weaving: Life itself.
The imagery is amalgamated with the visuals of the complex craft, the environment that the town has given birth to, and the skies of Chanderi on which, Kabir’s words appear as text, superimposed on video.