Illuminating Meeting of March 30
SMRN held another illuminating meeting on March 30 with members that included: Lynn Marie Kirby, Çigdem Borucu, Siying Duan, Azadeh Emadi, Farshid Kazemi, Minoo Moallem, Mriganka Madhukaillya, Somayeh Khakshoor, Radek Przedpełski and Lura Marks.
Our members Mriganka Madhukaillya and Somayeh Khakshoor presented their works in progress. Mriganka’s talk presented his investigation that is part of his doctoral thesis and looks at cinematic forms from Northeast India in order to understand whether this specific geo-body has been the locus of the creation of an indigenous cybernetic modelling of the world. Mriganka’s position is that the cinematic medium as such was not fully used as a modelling tool and his overall argument attempts to understand this situation by addressing it from a variety of angles: coming from the history and philosophy of cinema; from indigenous conceptions of time in relation to Indian and western ones; from technology, both analogue and digital; from design and cybernetics. The core question of his research asks and pertains to the cybernetic potential of cinema. Mriganka’s research sets out to explore the localised control feedback loop or rhythm structure in cinema and liberate it from the singular closed loop system. As a product of Western Modernity, created in order to respond to the industrialized time of the production line, cinema has made its way into the Northeast imaginary in complex ways. In the course of his presentation, Mriganka analyzed both mainstream movies from Assam and avant-garde attempts from both Assam and Manipur, in order to understand how the medium was received and explored, and to what ends. Furthermore, he made a fascinating case for the non-western turn in contemporary cinema, by looking at innovative ways in which Asian filmmakers have exploded the conventions of montage-based cinema. By touching upon his own practice with the media collective Desire Machine Collective, Mriganka attempted to compare the translation of different concepts of time into technical conventions. The analysis lead into exploring the possibility of developing conventions to create an ontological cinema. In that sense, the implied negative assessment in the title is but an opportunity to reflect upon further possibilities of a changing medium in a radically changing world.
Our next presenter Somayeh presented her final MFA project called, “Ravine”, which is an art installation. The project would be presented in the form of a photo-installation with around 783 pieces of 7x5 cm photographs of the Ravine, printed on translucent paper, mounted on a window to the street or alternatively on lightboxes, and installed in an almost organic order—not symmetrical. The shooting and sequencing of the frames would be done through the eye of an animation artist, therefore having a meaningful relationship—be it contrast or affinity—with each other in all directions. The empty spaces will serve the piece as “empty-shots” and cuts, connecting the sequences to each other. The tiles/photographs would make both a unified collective and individual identity. Somayeh insists on seeing this piece as a “smooth” moving-image piece crystalized, exploded, or rather unfolded on the wall, where the temporal and spatial aspects become united, peeled, and settled. The gallery space would be dimly lit, resembling a cinema theatre. The photographs would be printed on translucent paper, backlit and covered with one black passepartout to block the light in the spaces between the frames.