About this event
Mon 22 October 2012 – Fri 4 January 2013
Owl and the Abacus
enter12 is Watermans’ annual exhibition of the year’s finest work by South Asian Digital Art and Design Graduates.
Hosted by Watermans New Media Gallery, enter provides a platform to showcase the emerging talent in the field of digital art, design and media production. This year’s exhibition includes work that involves innovative processes and diverse material ranging from design, interactive installation, film, graphic and communication design.
The exhibiting artists have been handpicked from some of the country’s leading Institutes that offer unique opportunities in exploring digital art, design and innovative technologies. The selected artists take different approaches to the use of technologies in their practice in order to articulate their responses to contemporary issues in an innovative manner.
Deshna Mehta – MA Visual Communication, Royal College of Art
MA Graphic Design, London College of Communication
A CONSCIOUS CONTRADICTION
Passive traces of an ‘act’ive performance
If you think of acting spontaneously, it is no longer spontaneous because you are conscious of it. The only awareness of spontaneity comes from thinking about it as having happened in the past. The minute you reflect on the act of being spontaneous, you go back into the past and lose out on the present. In a spontaneous act, is it the death of the observer? Without an observer is there any observation? The nuances of these complexities surface in my (conscious) practice seeking for an answer, more often than not, only culminating into several questions. This pursuit led to the exploration of quantum physics and eastern mysticism expressed metaphorically through a performative installation.
What quantum mechanics says is that nothing is real and that we cannot say anything about what things are doing when we are not looking at them. Nothing is real unless it is observed …. and we have to accept that the very act of observing a thing changes it.– John Gribbin
Those who speak do not know, those who know do not speak.– Lao Tzu
What you will witness here is only a document, a re-enactment and a few traces extracted from the interaction with a performative installation which expresses that something’s cannot be documentedor the act of documenting changes what ‘is’ being documented, therefore it ceases to be what it ‘is’. This installation is a ‘conscious’ attempt to ‘experientially’ bring forth the beauty and power of spontaneity(a moment that stems out of the sub-conscious/unconscious) embedded in the phenomenon of direct experience. For the very fact that it is a conscious attempt, it takes away from the act of ‘being’ or being spontaneous.
Therefore, a conscious contradiction.
Deshna is a graphic designer and a visual artist with a passion for photography. She holds a BFA from Sir J.J. Institute of Applied Art (Mumbai, India). Starting her career in India, Deshna moved to London in 2008 to pursue a masters in Graphic Design at London College of Communication. After having obtained her MA, short work stints and several freelance projects characterised her design journey in London and Mumbai. Her trajectory began with typography at the undergraduate level following on to exploring photography, printmaking, publishing design, design writing and research at the masters in LCC. She then felt compelled to find a strong voice to express what she stood for and believed in; which led her to pursue a second master’s in Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art in London. Since then, her approach to design has been very holistic and content-driven, where the solution to a project can perhaps be found in a book, a film, an installation or a piece of writing. This opened several doors allowing her to explore drawing, installation art and curation alongside her graphic design practice.
After a fulfilling four year learning (coupled with working) odyssey in London, Deshna has now moved back to Mumbai to pursue her research (that she began at the RCA and for which she was awarded a distinction) ; wanting to re-define graphic design in an Indian context in order to make it more relevant for the masses in India. She believes that writing a process-focussed history of graphic design practices in the country from the time it existed in its unnamed state would be the first step towards actualizing her ambitious vision.
She continues to earn a living by practicing graphic design and hopes to expand her artistic practice through her spontaneous drawings and conceptual installations rooted in Indian thought, philosophy and spirituality. She senses the magic of the ephemeral, the elusive, the intangible, the emotive, the experiential and the subtle; which is what she aspires to communicate to her audiences, very often leading to conscious contradictions in the attempts of bringing out these understated moments.
Khalid Rafique – MFA Computational Studio Arts, Goldsmiths University of London
ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY WAVs
The Waveform Audio File Format was developed in 1991 for the storage and retrieval of a digital audio stream, and has remained ubiquitous since.
This work attempts to explore the boundaries of the format itself. Yielded from an extensive study in systematic abuse of audio production software, the contents of each WAV file are released to air at regular timed intervals, every three minutes.
Samia Rajar – MA Graphic Design Communication, Chelsea College of Art and Design
THE PIGRIMAGE is an endeavor to find reconciliation between spiritual life and worldly existence. The inconsistence relationship between opposite sides of the sacred boundary is being investigated through a series of personal journeys. Walk as a ritual or as an act of contemplation unlocks the possibility of finding meaning in mundane existence. My pilgrimage therefore instead of ending at a specific sacred location continues in space and time until the route itself becomes the destination.
Samia Rajar is a Design practitioner associated with the field of Graphic Design for more than eight years now. In addition to practice, she also teaches part-time in the Communication Design department of Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture -Karachi. The experimental nature of her work, combining variety of mediums and techniques explores the notion of Graphic Authorship. The field of Design is constantly changing and with it changes the critical thinking of designer. A multidisciplinary approach is therefore quite apparent in her work, which takes it beyond the preconceived limitations attributed to the field of Graphic design.
Owl and the Abacus / Adam Charlton & Raju Rahman
MA Design and Critical Practice, Goldsmiths University of London
TRACES OF MAC
TRACES OF MAC is a transmedia installation which tells the story of a character who goes through a perceptual altering. Through installation, the project presents evidence of the character’s life, the people who knew him and the objects he made up until his mysterious disappearance.
The narrative is formed through independent mediums that stand alone, yet together form the boundaries to an interactive environment that is defined by its audience’s perception. We aim to translate and provoke consideration into the subjects of perception and being through film, installation, print and product.
The Owl and the Abacus (Adam Charlton & Raju Rahman) is a young and independent design practice based in London. They are exceptionally creative transmedia storytellers and experienced designers. They focus on producing the highest quality designed outcomes across disciplines. Utilising such a varied skill set permits them to be as creative as they can on each project. They aim to communicate, provoke and probe through their design. The Owl and the Abacus are designers, writers and filmmakers, fundamentally they are storytellers.
Akriti Devi – BA Graphic Design New Media, University for the Creative Arts
THE VIRTUAL HEREAFTER
THE VIRTUAL HEREAFTER is a short film explaining the issue of digital afterlife by comparing digital and biological processes. There are three types of immortality- spiritual, physical and biological. Biological immortality is an absence of ageing. Bacteria are immortal; the cells divide to replicate themselves, building colonies. This is called Binary Fission. Similarly, we are replicating our identity by uploading digital cells and creating digital DNA, which will continue to divide and perhaps change form after the existence of the material body.
Similar to bacteria which divides without being visible to the naked eye, our digital cells are uploaded by our online activity without being obvious to the eyes of the user. A technological process which mirrors the functionality of a biological process. It is not, however just about the uploading of our digital cells, there are three main issues concerned with the digital afterlife: Preservation – retaining useful information for the future. Escape – grieving, emotion attachment escaping the material body. Control – legal issues, restriction of certain information.
The Virtual Hereafter takes cues from laboratory reports and scientific methodology to explore issues, making an explicit connection between bacterial cell division (binary fission)and digital DNA (data) replication.
The idea of replicating code and, in specific, digital code has been explored by George Dyson who said, “There’s no reason life won’t use the self-replicating abilities of digital code, and that’s what’s happening.”
Akriti Devi has recently graduated from University for the Creative Arts at Epsom in Graphic Design: New Media. Prior to the bachelors degree she completed an Art and Design Foundation at London College of Communication.
Research-led projects and briefs that stimulate a discussion has always been her core interest. She sees design as a medium to change societies and reflect upon social and economic issues affecting people worldwide. Film-making, animation and coding skills allow her to explore issues such as Acousticophobia, Immigration and future implications of existing and emerging technologies. She was also a key speaker at the undergraduate conference ‘Designs on the Future’, where she spoke about the role of the body in altering our perception of reality.
Akriti inspired by critical design, is now working on self initiated projects and hopes to be involved in commercial and documentary design projects soon. She would like to continue her education venture by studying post graduation in the near future.
Anita Chowdry – MA Art & Science, Central Saint Martins
Laser-cut powder coated steel Shamsa, First edition 2009, 3/3
Dimensions 100cm diameter, 3mm steel, powder coated.
“Shamsa” comes from the Arabic word for the Sun, and was used to describe the sunburst motif painted in gold and precious mineral colours on the opening pages of royal manuscripts in the Islamic world. The stylized motif is built up from elements of an eclectic grammar of design that evolved over centuries, overlaid on an exponentially expanding geometric structure.
Anita Chowdry is a London based freelance educator and visual artist.
Her creative practice stems from her research into the arts of the book in South Asia and the Middle East, focusing on the aesthetics, evolution and philosophical significance of design and the working methods of 16thand 17th century atelier craftsmen. Anita’s work is about exploring interfaces between mathematical geometries, fractals and natural form, and the possibility that these influences are hard-wired into our consciousness as our notions of beauty, proportion and aesthetics. Anita’s educational practice includes organizing and running public workshops, exhibition based education programmes, seminars and research projects based on museum collections.
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